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Razorback Invitational vs South Dakota State (2/21/2020)   



Wolves wrestle two championships at Miles City   

The Wolves wrestling team traveled to Miles City, MT this past weekend to wrestle in the 62nd Annual Cowboy Invitational tournament. There, the team placed fifth out of 27 teams from across Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. They came back with two champions, an outstanding wrestler award and many placers. Individual results were: Champions: 145 Parker Seeley went 5-0, pinning his...

Gettysburg City Council held regular meeting Jan. 6   

Unapproved Minutes Gettysburg, South Dakota January 6, 2020 Pursuant to the due call and notice thereof, the City Council met in regular session on January 6, 2020, at 7:00PM. Those present were Mayor Bill Wuttke, Philip Nagel, Fran VanBockel, Dawn Nagel, and Kelly Archer.  Also present were Dave Mogard, Chief of Police, Shiann Haupert, Police Officer, Russell Anderson, Maintenance Supervisor, […]

Growing South Dakota   


This issue contains the SDSU Extension 2019 Annual Report

[Page] 2-3 South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
[Page] 4 SDSU Extension
[Page] 4 From the Director of Extension Karla Trautman
[Page] 5 2019 USDA Risk Management Agency Crop Indemnities
[Page] 6-8 SDSU Extension Responds to Mother Nature in 2019
[Page] 9 Successful Energize! Conference Buoys Community Efforts in Lemmon & Beyond
[Page] 10-11 Helping Loved Ones Transition Smoothly
[Page] 12 AmeriCorps VISTA Members Expand Extension Programming
[Page] 13 South Dakota Wellness Coalitions Make Big Impacts in Small Communities
[Page] 14-16 Extension Programs in Our Own Words
[Page] 17 SDSU Extension Hosts Summer Range Workshops
[Page] 18 Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness Meeting
[Page] 19 SDSU Extension Beef-Related Efforts
[Page] 20-21 SDSU Extension Years of Service Awards
[Page] 22 South Dakota 4-H
SDSU Extension Welcomes Dr. Timothy Tanner as 4-H Youth Development Program Director
[Page] 22 Soles4Souls
[Page] 23 South Dakota 4-H Selects 2019- 2020 State 4-H Ambassadors
[Page] 24 4-H Ambassadors and Alumni Serve on Next Generation of Agriculture Panel at Governor's Ag Summit
[Page] 25 South Dakota 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees
[Page] 26 South Dakota 4-H Year in Review
[Page] 27 College News
[Page] 27 New Faculty and Staff
[Page] 27 Showcasing Our Points of Pride
[Page] 28 National FFA Organization Recognizes Andrew Streff as 2019 American Star
[Page] 29 Cody Wright Receives USDA Teaching Award
[Page] 30-31 Jeanette Klein Leads Biggest One-Day Event in the Dakotas
[Page] 32 Akimoto and Tomoko Ichinomiya Receive 20th Annual Butler Human Rights Award
[Page] 33 South Dakota State University 2019 Friend of the Beef Industry
{Page] 33 South Dakota State University Co-Hosts 51st Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention
[Page] 34-35 South Dakota Native Named Global Farmfluencer
[Page] 36-37 Underwater Drone Offers Exciting Ways to Study Water Quality
[Page] 38 POET Commits $2 Million to Support South Dakota State University Precision Agriculture Program
[Page] 39 Corteva Agriscience Commits $600,000 to Support South Dakota State University Raven Precision Agriculture Center


Healthcare: Travel Nurse - LTC RN - Lennox, SD - Miami, Florida   

Travel LTC RN/ Long Term Care Travel Registered Nurse A Long Term Care facility is looking for a Travel RN in Lennox, SD. Job Details $1,250 Est. Weekly Take Home 36 Hours/Week 12 Hour Nights Overtime Paid After 36 Hours! ASAP Starts Job Requirements South Dakota RN license or Compact RN license Must have at least 2 years of RN experience in LTC BLS through AHA About Us At GHR Travel Nursing , we want to make your travel experience a great one! As a GHR Travel Nurse, we are committed to giving you the chance to experience life, while saving lives. We offer great pay and one of the best benefits packages in the industry, including: Flexible scheduling options Personalized service Health insurance 401(k) investment plan Referral bonuses Free liability insurance coverage Weekly pay Direct Deposit or Pay Card option Stay updated on all of our Registered Nurse (RN) opportunities by signing up for Job Alerts ! If you have questions on this job, or if you want to learn more about any other jobs throughout the country, please reach out to us at or you can call or text . We'd love to help you find your new favorite place to travel! We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. ()

USDA ReConnect Grant Helps Valley Telecommunications Connect Rural South Dakota   


Over the last few months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a steady stream of awardee announcements for the first round of its ReConnect broadband program. Among the recently announced recipients is Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association in Flandreau, South Dakota. The telephone co-op will receive a grant of about $9.5 million to connect nearly two thousand underserved households, businesses, and farms to it’s existing fiber network.

The first round of ReConnect funding made $600 million available in grants and loans to Internet service providers to expand broadband access across the country. Many of the round one awards have gone to locally-run, community-owned providers, like Valley Telecommunications, to build fiber networks. This includes grants to Forked Deer Electric Cooperative; Orangeburg County, South Carolina; and Star Telephone Membership Corporation, as well as awards to two economic development agencies in Tyler and Wetzel Counties, West Virginia.

Valley Reaches a Peak

Members of Valley Telecommunications Co-op can already subscribe to gigabit speed fiber connectivity. From 2008 to 2016, the co-op replaced all of its old copper lines with a modern fiber optic network. “One hundred percent of our members in north central South Dakota can receive gigabit broadband services via that fiber network,” shared CEO and General Manager Jeff Symens at a press conference announcing the ReConnect grant.

Soon after completing the fiber buildout, the co-op decided to expand into nearby communities such as Volga and De Smet, operating under the name Valley FiberCom. However, this still left some homes and businesses outside of the towns unconnected. Symens explained:

It never solved the most underserved areas in these territories and that was the rural areas just outside of those towns, where some people struggled to get any Internet. And if they did, it was minimal bandwidth and it wasn’t too reliable.

To reach those rural locations, Valley Telecommunications applied for the ReConnect program and received a grant for $9,591,131. The funds will allow the co-op to connect at least 1,750 homes, 40 farms and businesses, and one community anchor institution in underserved parts of Brookings, Kingsbury and Moody counties to its growing gigabit fiber network.

logo-valley-telecom.png This kind of high-speed connectivity is not an anomaly in rural South Dakota. As we’ve reported before, in articles and on our podcast, South Dakota already has more fiber networks than people outside the state might expect, thanks to the investments made by locally rooted companies and cooperatives over the past decades.

In fact, it’s often the parts of South Dakota served by national companies that suffer with the slowest speeds. “There are [areas without broadband] in our state, and that’s usually CenturyLink,” said Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen at the press conference. “And so that’s what all of you are trying to figure out: how we get high-speed Internet to our rural communities.”

Connecting Fields and Offices

Farms and agricultural businesses in particular stand to benefit from the reliable, high-speed Internet access promised by Valley Telecommunications’ ReConnect project.

For example, the press conference announcing the award was held at local business River Thru Agriculture Services, which sells seed and chemicals. The company could use the faster broadband speeds to conduct operations more efficiently, USDA said in a blog post.

USDA also shared the story of a local insurance company, explaining how better Internet access enabled by the ReConnect grant could help the business:

Local business woman Jeralynn Andersen shared that access to broadband will give her insurance office in Arlington the opportunity to provide growth and efficiency by connecting with customers and providing information for them in situations when her office is closed. . . With the broadband expansion, Jeralynn will have the ability to pull a farmers file from home and provide the information her customers need without waiting until a week day.

USDA continues to announce awards for other round one ReConnect applicants. In the meantime, ReConnect round two will give providers a second shot at an additional $550 million in grant and loan funding. USDA will accept applications for this round from January 31 to March 16, 2020.

Photo credit USDA NRCS South Dakota [Public domain]


South Dakota okays permits for Keystone XL pipeline   

  The South Dakota Water Management Board on Tuesday approved five water permit applications for Keystone XL pipeline construction. The hearing was so contentious that it stretched into a dozen days over the course of four months as American Indian tribes and environmental groups argued against their approval. After holding a brief period for public …

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Mary Goede   


Mary Ellen Wolf Goede, 99, died on January 17, 2020, at Lake Minnetonka Shores Care Center in Spring Park, Minnesota. Mary was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Darrell Melvin Goede, who died on December 23, 1962; and also her parents, six brothers, four sisters, and one stillborn infant girl. Mary was born at home on the family homestead near Park, Kansas, to Volga German immigrant parents, Bernhard Wolf and Catherine Zimmerman, both of whom had been born in Russia. During World War II, she worked in a defense plant in San Diego, where she and Darrell married as the war ended. Mary had a great love for family and German foods and traditions. Over her long lifetime, Mary performed volunteer work for various charities and, up until her physical condition restricted her from doing so, she relished engaging in conversation about the world, local and national politics, and her family. Her final resting place will be next to her husband in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Park, Kansas. She is survived by her four children: Larry Goede and his wife Kathleen Weibel of Eagan, Minnesota; Nancy Glover of Burke, Virginia; Daniel Goede and his wife Donna Goede of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Mary Catherine LeFevere and her husband, Clayton LeFevere of Chanhassen, Minnesota. She is also survived by ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 2385 Commerce Blvd. Mound, MN, on Friday, January 31 at 11:00, with viewing at 10:00. Burial services will be held later at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Park, Kansas. Memorials can be sent to one of Mary’s favorite charities, the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association or to Lake Minnetonka Shores Care Center, 4515 Shoreline Dr., Second floor staff, Spring Park, MN 55384. Huber Funeral & Cremation Services Eden Prairie Chapel 952-949-4970


On The Earie by Tom Powell, OABA News Ambassador   


Dick Knoebel, who reported another banner season at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa., was nice enough to send a more personal note after he attended the amusement park show in Orlando.

Tom, I made it to IAAPA and the OABA reception, but it just wasn't the same without you and Christine. I SURELY hope you can make it to Gibtown. We are now the LAST OF AN ERA with the passing of Johnny Hobbs.

While here, Jeannie and I, along with Gary Slade and John Robinson attended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers/New Orleans Saints football game. We were seated in the Mary Chris Smith (of Allied Specialty Insurance) family box. The Bucs played somewhat well though the quarterback, Jamis Winston, had too many hits.

Slade met one of Dick Yuengling's daughters in the tailgate area. While at the game, one of Mary Chris's sisters, was continuing to celebrate her Double Nickel (55th) birthday for a week. You have probably received lots of other reports from IAAPA. Carry On!”

I first attended the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions convention in 1972, and I believe it was in Atlanta. I never missed another until few years ago. The best were in New Orleans, which is a town made for that show, although Orlando has been very good. I recall when it was in Dallas and we visited the Southfork Ranch, from the television show, Dallas.

There was a J. R. Ewing imitator there who looked more like the actor, Larry Hagman, who played him, than the real deal. He remained in character and when I invited him to our Amusement Business suite when his shift was over; I even told him to bring his wife.” Wife, hell, I'll bring my girlfriend,” he replied. My son, Tommy, who lives in beautiful, but frigid Minneapolis, noted the other day that Hagman died 10 years ago.

The International Association of Fairs & Expositions, Showmen's League of America and Outdoor Amusement Business Association are now convening in San Antonio for the second or third straight year after about 45 years in a row in Las Vegas. I have been to conventions in Las Vegas. I have also been to conventions in Rapid City, South Dakota, Mobile, Alabama, Little Rock, Arkansas, Boston, Washington, D. C., and numerous big and little towns, but I can say, unequivocally, none compares to Las Vegas.

Maybe that's just me, but I think about the World War I song about “How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree.” Vegas, with all the great shows and restaurants and reasonable prices has so much more to offer.

After growing up in Scranton, Pa., and living in Nashville, which was dry at the time, Vegas was and continued to be an eye opener for me. Christine and I have been guests at lavish parties and suites hosted by Ray Cammack Shows, Strates Shows, Powers Great American Midways, Reithoffer Shows, Rod Link, Conklin Shows, Cumberland Valley Shows, Royal American Shows, James H. Drew Exposition, Gooding's Million Dolllar Midway, Amusements of America, Jerry Murphy's Murphy Brothers Exposition, Jim Murphy, when he owned Mighty Bluegrass Shows, and others.

I talked to Charles Panacek of Belle City Amusements earlier today and asked how he liked San Antonio. Being somewhat politically correct, he laughed and said, “We're meeting with our committees and getting all of our business done.” Beyond that, Panacek was non-committal about the Tale of the Two Cities.

He did say the Nov. 7-17 Greater Jacksonville, Fla. Fair was plagued by rain on three days and cold weather. “It resulted in attendance and revenues being down.” Panacek said Martha Leverock retired after serving 40 years as president and CEO. She was replaced by Bill Olson, who had been with the fair for many years.

Gayle Hart, vice president of marketing, continues to book the talent. She and Olson are also representing the fair in sunny San Antonio. Belle City is in the middle of a 12-year contract to provide the midway in Jacksonville. “This year we created a totally separate Kiddieland that proved to be a big hit,” said Panacek, who promised to name the addition of a new date on its route soon.

Belle City works with Alachua County in presenting a fair in Gainesville, Fla., a week before Jacksonville. He said it was very good this year. The carnival has everything under its auspices, including booking talent, providing security, selling tickets, booking independent contractors, parking, providing the midway, etc.

Booked at Jacksonville were Butch Van Hull, with a Roller Coaster, Bryce Burton, with a Zipper, and food; Gary Hughes, with rides and food, and Josh Macaroni's Primetime Amusements, with rides and food. Dave Potopas and his wife, Monica, spent most of the summer with games on Tony Diaz's Unit of North American Midway Entertainment, which plays major Canadian dates. He returns as concession manager for Belle City on its winter route.

Amber Swedjan and Dave Kitt handle marketing for Belle City, along with employee training, guest relations, and social media. The show has the honor of playing the first date of 2020, the Jan. 16-26 Manatee County Fair, Palmetto, Fla., which opens one day before the South Florida Fair, West Palm Beach, where Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows again provides the carnival midway.

Booking with Belle City in Palmetto will be Gary Hughes, Bryce Burton, and T. J. Schmidt Amusements, owned by Sandi Schmidt, who is the sister of Jon and Tom Arnold of Arnold Amusements.

Talent at Jacksonville included Chris Janson, Uncle Kracker, Blanco Brown, the Eli Young Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Kazual, Lane Pittman, and from Nov. 13-17, the Dennis Lee Band and Kari and Billy. Also, a three ring super circus, with The Wheel of Adventure, Jump Rope of Fire, Globe of Steele with amazing motorcycle stunt men, and The Amazing Franco Clown Juggler Extraordinaire.

Also, Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show, Robinson's Racing Pigs (I remember when Paul and Carlotta Robinson first introduced them as a new act), Agri-Puppets, Stingray Encounter, Amazing Bubble Factory, and Marvin Gardner, Rust and Flame Blacksmith.

The first time I visited that fair A. J. (Sonny) Dickerson was concession manager for Jim Murphy and Christine and I flew there on the private plane of our late, dear friend, Danny Davis of The Nashville Brass. We had first flown with him to Shreveport for the C. Ed Nelson-managed State Fair of Louisiana. Davis, whose real name was George Nowlin, performed at both dates.

Hart said Janson, Blue Oyster Cult and Blanco Brown drew the biggest crowds. “Brown was amazing. He had performed the night before on the Country Music Association Awards Show.” I asked how she heard about him, and it was from a local DJ. Hart recalls a year when she booked Luke Bryan for $700, another, when she booked him for $2,800, and wonders how much it would take now.

As many of you know, my beautiful wife, Christine, suffered a seizure on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. My daughter, Alice Stanley, called 911, and she was rushed to a hospital. Thank God, Christine came home on Thanksgiving morning. She's upset that she won't be able to drive for a while, but we're counting our blessings. She's supposed to avoid stress, but where can I go?

Please send news to, or call 615 280-7257.


On The Earie by Tom Powell, OABA News Ambassador   


When I was a kid I first heard the expression that “you can't fight City Hall,” and the older I get, I find that to be the truth. Examples are found everywhere in life; two that are hitting home particularly to the mobile amusement industry involve the H-2B foreign Visa work problem and the battle over the content of an AT&T telephone advertisement.

The OABA and other organizations have fought relentlessly but to no avail, so far, to obtain their objectives. The H-2B deal is strictly political, and the eventual outcome is nebulous. In the meantime, let's hope carnival employers are able to find the necessary workers to help them do their jobs.   

I received a note from Charma Wilderson, General Manager – Amusements, Safe-Strap Company, LLC, Ft. Myers, Florida, regarding the second subject. Here's what she had to say: “I'm fairly sure you are aware (but just in case you are not) - - AT&T has been running a stream of commercials regarding 'Just OK' services are not OK for several months now. But they have been running one frequently most recently regarding a carnival ride and operator that really puts the mobile industry in a bad light. It feeds into the misguided belief of the general population about carnivals being “shifty.”

“I'm not sure if anything can be done about it – but I wanted to let you know that I found it disturbing at best and wanted to share my thoughts with someone that may have connections or information as to how those of us who do find it offensive can voice our thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to read my correspondence. Wishing all of our traveling shows a brilliant, safe and successful season!!”

I reached back to Charma, thanked her for her comments and asked for a little more information about her firm. She said “Safe Strap Company has been manufacturing web-based safety restraints for the amusement industry since 1983. We specialize in customizing ride belts and all class restraints, and supplying belts to end users as well as manufacturers.” Phil Tomber, head of Rio Syrup Company, St. Louis, and a major stockholder in AT&T, vowed to take up the fight when this battle first arose. While watching television last night, June 29th, that goofy looking kid masquerading as a ride boy, was still telling two shocked customers that when accidents occur, the carnival just moves on to the next town.  AT&T has used a similar tactic with the medical profession, showing a doctor who maintains he has just been reinstated and is not worried about an upcoming operation he is expected to perform. My point goes back to my childhood that what I heard then was correct. You can't fight City Hall. 

We are getting into the height of the fair season with the San Diego County Fair, Del Mar, about to end and draw approximately 2 million people. Other events are ready to get going. Ronnie, Kim, Butch and Ann Netterfield had a fun time at the Florida Fair Convention in St. Augustine before getting ready to start work for another season at the 12th Annual RockStock Music Festival in Muskegon, Michigan, July 3-7. Darrell Desgranges, the Mizuno Golf Pro and Brad Coombs of Meridian Entertainment, Traverse City, Michigan, booked the talent for this event, which is adding a carnival midway for the first time. Desgranges said it will be a combination of Arnold Amusements and TJ Schmidt Amusements with Tommy Arnold and David Starkey more or less in charge. I had spoken to Starkey, who played a spot in Lake Odessa, Michigan, with Bob Hallifax Amusements on his way to Muskegon. Starkey mentioned that his pal, Harold Case, was a bit under the weather, but would be there as well. When I called to check on Case and his wife Debbie, he said gathering his strength to move seven trucks the 1,400 mile distance to Michigan was the toughest he ever made. When I asked Desgranges about the talent headliners lined up, he mentioned Puddle of Mudd, and I'm sure he could almost hear me stammer when I asked who else. He answered Tantric, Saliva and Trapt. Almost apologetically he then pointed out that his son Glenn, working for Live Nation, had booked Willie Nelson and Allison Krauss for a June 25th sellout at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, Michigan. He also added that Glenn booked a Hoedown in Detroit on June 15th with Brantley Gilbert, where Garth Brooks made a surprise performance and performed for an hour. When I cracked jokingly that they had spared no expense for Muskegan, Desgranges said Puddle of Mudd has sold more than 7 million albums and had 5 number one hits on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Song Chart, including “Psycho” in 2008. When I mentioned the acts to my 57 year old daughter, Alice Stanley, who is helping me with this dictation while I'm trying to get over a bout with gout, she confirmed these acts were bigger than I thought they were. What do I know? Butch and Ann Netterfield, by the way, celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on June 25, and his 74th birthday at Eddie V's in Tampa – they were wed in Olivet, Michigan. Other venues where Desgranges and Brad Coombs book the talent include the Central Carolina Fair in Greensboro, NC, at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex beginning Friday, September 7th and running through the 16th; the Buffalo Chips Festival in Sturgis, South Dakota, running from August 2–11, and the Arkansas State Fair, Little Rock, running October 11–20. 

There was plenty of reaction to the column I wrote about the death of my special friend of 61 years, Johnny Hobbs. Desgranges said it had been on his bucket list for years to come and visit Johnny at his Nashville Palace, which he owned for 35 years. Dan Kroeger, CEO/Chairman of Gold Medal Products, Cincinnati, and former longtime Treasurer of OABA wrote, “You could feel the love you had for your friend John from that article. What a tremendous tribute! We are fortunate to be part of such a great industry.  Bob Anderson, formerly with National Ticket Company of Shamokin, Pennsylvania, wrote, “Thanks again for your always awesome columns. I'm sorry to read about Johnny Hobbs. I know how close you were to him and one by one, it seems as though our friends and relatives are leaving us. I suppose it's the price we pay for aging.” Charlie Cox of Cox Food Concessions, Perry, Georgia, Columbus, Ohio, and Tampa, Florida, wrote, “I knew him through you. I can't imagine any two people who were better friends than you and John. I spent hours listening to Ed Gregory (true or not) tell stories about you, Hobbs, Jim Ed Brown, the Opry and all the stars. I enjoyed many times going to Backstage at the Opry and then to the Nashville Palace. Those were great times and I thank all the old-timers for blazing the trails for us to enjoy.” 

Many years ago on one of my first trips with Monsignor Robert J. McCarthy, the Carny priest from Watertown, New York, I met one of the most fascinating showmen I have ever known, Roland Koch, a well-known entrepreneur at Octoberfest in Munich, Germany, the Cannsfest in Stuttgart and other Christmas festivals, amusement parks, fairs, and anything having to do with entertainment in Germany. Through Bill Alter of National Ticket.  I even got to know him and his wife, Renate, better, along with his son, Thomas, and best friend, Rudolph Barth, at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Conventions. Barth owned the only five looping rollercoaster in the world. He spoke little English and every time I interviewed him, Koch interpreted. Roland was known for his famous parties at Kafer's in Munich, which drew industry heavy-weights from all over the globe. I heard from him in an email last month in which he said, “It is good to know you are in good shape and still involved with the carnival and park people. When I look back, I remember when I came as a member to the Showmen's League of America Convention. Patty Conklin brought me to Chicago in 1969, and at this time I was very busy in the fairs in Germany, when you remember, I was the host in Stuttgart for your 50th birthday party. Maybe I will see you and Christine in Orlando. All the best and here are my addresses and phone numbers, regards, Roland.” It truly is a big and small world. 

I apologize for no column last week, but as I mentioned earlier, the gout made it unable for me to type. 

Please send news to, or call 615-280-7257.

Have a great Fourth of July celebration, and God Bless!


On The Earie by Tom Powell, OABA News Ambassador   


I usually make a phone call to Tony Diaz of North American Midway Entertainment this time of year to check on the show's opening date in Canada, the June 5-9 Brandon, Manitoba, Summer Fair, but on this occasion the tone was more somber, as I had just learned about the death of Diaz's mother, Mary Jane. 

            They say things like this happen in threes, and if that's true, Kenny Detty passed away from a heart attack shortly after I interviewed him after Memorial Day. Then I learned about the passing of Reverend Ruth Turton, 87, whose late husband, Reverend Ron Turton, was The Heavenly Patch.

Diaz was already at the show's next spot, the Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg, scheduled for June 14-23, where Garth Rogerson has been CEO for 11 years. Tony said his sister, Trudie Andrews had flown to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where Mary Jane, 83, had been living, to have her body moved to Tampa. The funeral is tentatively set for Saturday, June 15 at Showmen's Rest in Tampa. Mary Jane was a longtime member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Greater Tampa Showmen's Association.

            Mary Jane and her late husband, Tony, were married in 1955. They spent the time between 1955 and 1960 on Carl and Egle Sedlmayr's Royal American Shows, where Tony Sr. was a games operator. Tony Jr., 57, was born at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, which was one of the carnival's biggest spots.

            The Diazes then spent several years with Sonny Myers Amusements. Myers had been the sheriff of St. Joseph, Mo., and was the brother-in-law of Bill Dillard. After that they were on Bill Dillard Shows, before joining Gehrie and Norma Aten with their games on Bill Hames Shows. At the time of his death, Tony Sr. had joined his son with Mike Williams on Farrow Shows. It was always a pleasure for me to see both Tonys at spots such as the Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, as Tony Jr. had the savvy to know who I'd want to take a picture of for Amusement Business, in other words, regulars who traveled with the show, not locals who just came in to work one spot. He kept me from wasting a lot of time.

            After he became a vice president with NAME, Diaz remained one of the most cooperative, and easiest guys to interview for a story. He doesn't embellish what he says, and always points out the key people who help move the show. That includes Wayne Kunz, John Anderson, Scooter Korek, and Michael Hupalo, the safety inspector, who invited me to his wedding in Gibtown before I even knew him.

            “Life is a lot easier and happier when you find yourself working on a daily basis with people like that.” What a great group of guys. Anybody who knows Wayne Kunz will tell you he looks as though he could still play football like Bo Jackson or The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas. I first met Wayne at a date in Louisiana, I believe it was Metairie, and he was working for his dad, Al, the guy who kicked 60 Minutes off his lot. Wayne spent many years with Jim Murphy on Mighty Blue Grass Shows, before joining NAME. In his 80s, and looking fit as a fiddle, he has earned the reputation of being one of the hardest working guys in the carnival business, one of the nicest, as well. I can vouch for both traits.

            While with his dad's Century 21 Shows, I visited Wayne at the Millington Naval Base near Memphis. He kept asking me what looked different about him. I guessed he had lost weight, gained weight, and everything but what the real answer was. He was wearing a wig. After my reaction, I don't believe he ever did again, although his was better than that of the Grand Ole Opry's Hank Snow, hideous.

            Mary Jane maintained a close friendship with many carnival people, most notably, Marilyn Portemont, after both got off the road. Of Brandon, Diaz said it was okay except for Saturday, which is normally the biggest day, when it was cold and wet. After a strong Miami-Dade County Fair, he's optimistic.

            I couldn't believe it when I received phone calls from Joel Golder who owns Palace Playland Amusement Park in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and Tom Gaylin of Rosedale Attractions and Shows of Baltimore. Both were bearing the news of Detty's demise. Joel made me feel a little better when he said Kenny, 74, had read the column, loved it, and was grateful that I wrote it. Golder wanted to let me know that it had meant a lot to both of them and was a well-deserved tribute to a REAL carnival man. “His only regret was that he left out the name of the James H. Drew Exposition as being one being one of the carnivals he and his wife, Barbara, traveled with,” said Golder. Gaylin said Detty was always very helpful to him when he was chairman of OABA in 2016, especially in matters involving the Carnival Museum in Gibsonton, where Detty was a member of the Board. I believe Gaylin made more sincere efforts than anybody to form a better working relationship with members of the International Independent Showmen's Association than I can recall. He realizes the potential of growth there for the OABA, because I'll guarantee you, most are not OABA members, but should be.

            I remember when The Heavenly Patch hung around Andy and Ethel Osak's Showtown USA Bar in Gibtown, even though he wasn't a drinker. There was a Panama City, Florida, connection among the Turtons, Osaks, Bill and Helen McCoy, Terry and Jo Ellen Erickson, and Bobby Cooper. I remember others who were hanging around what we called Andy's in those days, including Gene (Tee Shirt Kelly)  Spezia, Sonny (World's Greatest Guesser) Lewis, Jolly Jim Conroy, Buster Anderson, Uncle Ben, a guy with a big beard who owned a restaurant in Cherokee, North Carolina, Foster Maples, who (he said) accidentally ran his car through the side of the Showtown bar once, and the incomparable Joe Lane.

Linda Laughridge, whose dad was Walter Meredith, who owned Walt's Lounge, recalls the McCoys and Osaks booking at Petticoat Junction, an 1880s themed western park. Jo Ellen and Walter were brother and sister, with Helen McCoy their mother, and Bill McCoy, their stepfather. Got that? Linda Laughridge and Jody Gay are cousins. They both remember the Panama City times.

            A man named J. E. Churchwell owned the park. He is credited with giving the area the title of Redneck Riviera. The McCoys booked a Dark Ride, Shooting Gallery, Glass House, Scrambler, Swinging Gym, and kiddies. Bill also operated the Bumper Cars for the Churchwells. Terry (The Viking), who wound up with dozers on Lon McWhorter's Mac's Amusements, and Jo Ellen had the popper and grab joint.

            Jody Gay and her husband, Harley, are now retired. She was with The James Gang Amusements of Andalusia, Alabama. Jody, one of the only non-family members on the show, traveled mostly on the unit with Wayne and Virginia, but sometimes with Rodney and Jesse James, from the early 1990s until she left the road in 2004. She kept her quarters dozers games on the show until 2006. Harley was a singer and teacher of autistic children. After being involved in a motorcycle accident, he now limits his singing to a couple gigs a month, and the church choir. He has often worked the Gibtown trade show.

            When Laughridge and her late husband, Ralph moved to Destin, Florida, they bought the house next to the Turtons, who were active in Protestant ministry, and their daughters, Susan and Sandra. The Osaks and Turtons were so close that when Ethel died, Andy gave one of her treasured rings to Ruth.           

When Arthur Lamkin bought Johnny's United Shows, Bill and Helen McCoy came out of retirement, and ran the popper. At one time, Grandpa, as Linda refers to Bill McCoy as, was partnered in an amusement park in The Ozarks with Bobby Cooper. Cooper went on to run the entire Bingo operation for the state of Tennessee, and I got to know him well. One of his sons, Steve, drives trucks for carnivals, including for Butch and Ronnie Netterfield, Deggeller Attractions, and Mike Thomas, his cousin on Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows. Cooper even drove his Harley Davidson Motorcycle from Tampa to Sturgis, South Dakota, a distance of 1,998.9 miles, to scatter the ashes of one of his brothers. 

I learned late last night of the death of John A. Hobbs, my friend of 61 years, who was a real showman. He was known to just about everybody in the amusement business, and folks were always coming to his bar and restaurant to see him, or calling to inquire about his health. He joined me and Christine at least 20 times at the trade show in Gibsonton, Fla. Hobbs was 91, and thank God, did not suffer. In fact, one of his sons, Ronnie, called me the night before he died to let them know what station a baseball game was on. He gave numerous stars their first breaks, including Randy Travis, Ricky Van Shelton, Lorrie Morgan, and a host of others. Umpire Joe West stopped to see him two days ago on his way to Kansas City. We went shopping every Christmas Eve for the last 50 years or so. I’m going to miss him.

Please send news to, or call 615 280-7257.

Have all great days, and God Bless!


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