Snapshots and Stories from Montezuma and surrounding communities
By J.O. Parker
Five young ladies representing Grinnell, Malcom/Brooklyn, Montezuma and Deep River are seeking the title of the 2021 Poweshiek County Fair Queen.
The pageant is slated for Thursday, July 15 at 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds. Due to COVID, all candidates, including the current queen, are eligible to run in 2021.
The candidates are: 2020 Queen Hailey Heishman, Malcom; Emily Roberts, Deep River; Haylie Moore, Montezuma; Kassidy Mathes, Montezuma; and Megan Mauss, Grinnell.
Following is a brief overview of each candidate:
Megan Mauss – Megan, a 2021 graduate of Grinnell High School, is the daughter of Dan and Nicole Mauss.
Megan is planning to complete her general education requirements at DMACC in Ankeny with plans to transfer to Iowa State University to earn a degree in animal science.
She currently works at All Pets Veterinary Hospital and WinMor Farms, both Grinnell.
In high school, Megan played basketball and participated in FFA. She is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Her hobbies including hanging with friends/family, and showing and hanging out with pigs!
When asked why she decided to run for queen, Megan said she wants to be a role model for other young ladies and promote agriculture.
“I want to meet new friends and have fun,” she said. “I think it would be really awesome to represent Poweshiek County at the Iowa State Fair.”
Hailey Heishman – Hailey, who will be entering her senior year at BGM High School this fall, is the daughter Eric and Amber Heishman. Hailey is the 2020 Poweshiek County Fair Queen and is seeking re-election to the role due to the Covid rule set into place by the fair board.
When time permits, Hailey works part-time as a farmhand for the E and A Heishman Farms.
Her current school activities include serving as captain of the BGM cross country team, and Bears Dance Team. She also runs long distance track.
“I am president of my class and a member of the National Honor Society,” she said.
Outside of school, Hailey is a member of the Studio 6 Dance Company Competition Team. She also serves as the Poweshiek Pioneers 4-H Club President and is the secretary of the Poweshiek County 4-H County Council.
Her hobbies and interests including strengthening her dance skills, working with her goats, playing with her dog, Ellie May, and taking photos.
Her future plans include attending Iowa State University to study animal science, with plans to further her education into veterinary medicine.
When asked why she would like to continue her reign as Poweshiek County Fair Queen, Hailey said she wants to represent the hard work and dedication put into the fair by the 4-H and FFA members, and everyone who supports them.
Emily Roberts – Emily is a 2021 graduate of Tri-County High School and will be student at DMACC in Ankeny in the fall where she will be studying nursing. She is the daughter of Jason and Angela Roberts.
Emily works as a CNA at the English Valleys Nursing Care Center and also works at Kwikstar.
Emily enjoys participating in youth group (Hope YTH) at Community Hope Church in Montezuma. As a high school student, Emily played volleyball, basketball, cheer, football cheer, student council, FFA, speech and drama, National Honor Society, band and yearbook.
“I am also a member of the Deep River Helping Hands 4-H Club, and served on the Poweshiek County Council,” she said.
Her hobbies and interests include spending time with family, hanging out with friends, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy or FRIENDS, and her favorite, going shopping.
When asked why she would like to be the 2021 Poweshiek County Fair Queen, Emily said when she was a little girls at the fair, she loved watching the queens.
“They were such role models,” she said. “I would love to be that role model for young girls and inspire them to take part in the queen contest when they are older.”
Haylie Moore – Haylie, who will be entering her senior year at Montezuma High School this fall, is the daughter David and Deanna Moore.
Haylie works on the Moore Family farm and works part-time with her dad at DDM Auto Transport.
In school, Haylie is a member of the National Honor Society, FFA, band, Spanish club, and is the administrator of the Chinese adoption group.
Her hobbies and interest include studying the Chinese language, showing animals, judging livestock, riding horses, gardening, cooking and traveling.
Her future plans include attending Iowa State University to double major in biochemistry and global resource systems with a minor in Ag business.
When asked why she would like to be the fair queen, Haylie said FFA, 4-H and agriculture has always been a longstanding tradition with her family.
“I believe that it’s important to continue that tradition in today’s youth,” Haylie said. “I would especially like to encourage people from minorities to be involved in agriculture.”
Kassidy Mathes – Kassidy, who is entering senior year at Montezuma High School in the fall, is the daughter of Matt and Mandy Mathes.
Kassidy works for her father at Quality Construction and also at Hometown Hardware, both in Montezuma.
Her current activities include helping with T-ball, participating in the worship team at church, and working and taking part in National Honor Society activities.
Kassidy’s hobbies and interests include spending time with friends, her boyfriend, and family. She also enjoys hanging around the farm.
Her future plans include attending DMACC in Ankeny for two years and then wraping up her business degree at Iowa State University.
When asked why she decided to run for fair queen, Kassidy said she wants to be a good role model and represent her community and county.
“It would be a great honor to be named fair queen,” she said.
Little Miss Crowning
Seven young girls are vying for the Little Miss Crowning, which will take place during the queen contest intermission. Those participating are Elsie Bayer, daughter of Lucas and Amber Bayer; Alyssa Latcham, daughter of Curtis and Amanda Latcham; Brielle Iverson, daughter of Chris and Cara Iverson; Lucy Semprini, daughter of Steve and Cheri Semprini; Ilee Lacaeyse, daughter of Joel and Jessie Lacaeyse; Shyanne Breeden, daughter of Joe Breeden and Jamie Glass: and Hadley Criswell, daughter of Jeff and Tiffany Criswell.
“Family Faircation” is the theme of the 2021 Poweshiek County Fair, which returns to its regular format this year. The fair runs from Wednesday, July 14 – Monday, July 19.
Be sure and check the fair book for info and times on when animals being shown need to arrive and be checked in at the fairgrounds.
Following is a current schedule:
Wednesday, July 14
4 – 7 p.m. – Open Class entries accepted (please no early entries)
4 – 8 p.m. – Open Class judging
8 p.m. – Exhibit Building closes or following Open Class judging
Thursday, July 15
7:45 a.m. – Flag Raising ceremony – Exhibit building patio
8 a.m. – 4-H/FFA Dog Agility Show – 30 minutes following Agility will be Obedience classes in the Showring
8 a.m. – All Livestock must be on the Fairgrounds
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Heritage Park Activities
1 p.m. – 4-H/FFA Poultry Show - Tent
5 p.m. – Poweshiek County Fair Queen Pageant – Showring (Intermission – Crowning of Senior King & Queen and Little Miss Crowning)
7:30 – 4-H Fashion Show, Community Awards & Hall of Fame announcement
8 p.m. – Bill Riley Talent Show - Showring
Friday, July 16
8 a.m. – 4-H/FFA Horse Show – Halter classes. One half hour following Halter classes, Horse Performance judging will take place. Select Horse Games will follow.
10 a.m. – Livestock Judging contest & Skill-A-Thon
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Heritage Park activities
10:30 a.m. – Art On The Patio – Tilly Woodward
1 – 3 p.m. – Library at the Fair On The Patio
5 p.m. – Animal Costume contest – Showring
5 – 7 p.m. – Key Cooperative sponsored dinner
5:30 – 7 p.m. – Ice Cream Sundae Fundraiser
7 p.m. – Kiddie Tractor Pull (Registration starts at 6:30 p.m.)
8:30 p.m. – Celebrity Livestock show – Showring
Saturday, July 17
8 a.m. – 4-H/FFA Sheep Show followed by 4-H/FFA Meat and Dairy Goat Show
1 p.m. – Farm Bureau Watermelon feed
2 – 3 p.m. – Scavenger Hunt, 4-H County Council
3:30 p.m. – 4-H/FFA Horse Show select game classes
7 p.m. H3 Hypnosis Show – Showring
Sunday, July 18
8 a.m. - 4-H/FFA Beef Show. One half hour following Beef Show, 4-H/FFA Bottle Calf Show
1 p.m. – 4-H/FFA Cavy Show – Tent
2 p.m. – 4-H/FFA Rabbit Show – Tent
3:30 p.m. – Barnyard games
5 p.m. – Clover Kids Rabbit & Cavy Show
5:30 p.m. – Clover Kids Poultry Show
6 p.m. Clover Kids Bottle Calf Show
6:30 p.m. – Clover Kids Bottle Lamb & Goat Show
6 p.m. – All projects selling must be signed up
7 – 8:30 p.m. – Pool Party @ Grinnell Aquatic Center
Monday, July 19
8 a.m. – 4-H/FFA Swine show – Piglet Show to follow
10 a.m. – All Exhibit Building exhibits released
12 p.m. – Livestock exhibits not selling released
5:15 – Herdsmanship & Premier Exhibitor Awards presented
5:30 p.m. – Project Sale – Showring, Clerk: McIlrath Auctioneering. Sale Order: Non Livestock Projects, Swine, Goats, Cavy, Sheep, Rabbits, Poultry, Bottle Calf & Beef
8 p.m. – All exhibits must be removed from exhibit building
The first Montezuma Booster Bash held on Thursday, June 24 was well received as folks milled about visiting with friends, enjoying fresh watermelon from the American Legion booth, checking out the van recently purchased by Montezuma Speciality Care, visiting the various businesses along Liberty Street, listening to the music of Cody Hicks or checking out the array of antique cars. The next Booster Bash is Thursday, July 22 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.
Erin Foster of Indianola holds her son, Preston Johnson-Foster, 9, at the Finding Xavior Harrelson Benefit Concert at the Poweshiek County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, June 29. Erin said it breaks her heart that Xavior is missing and that she couldn’t image losing her son. “We were in Memphis yesterday and drove to Indianola, putting up Xavior posters everywhere we stopped,” she said.
By J.O. Parker
A benefit concert featuring live country music by Iowa’s own Adam Whitehead of Pella and Hunter Mason of Oskaloosa drew a large crowd and numerous media outlets all while raising $5,088.54 for the Xavior Harrelson Reward Fund.
The event was spearhead by Tina Goff and Joy VanLandschoot of Mollie’s Movement: Finding Others, and was held at the Poweshiek County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, July 29.
As of July 2, the reward fund has reached $31,618.
Xavior, an 11-year-old Montezuma boy, went missing on May 27. A public search was held on May 30, drawing 377 people from across the state who came to help find the missing boy.
In a recent news story, Mitch Mortvedt, Assistant Director at Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, noted that the investigation into Xavior’s disappearance continues.
The event was made possible thanks to a host of volunteers, food and supplies. Members of the Brooklyn Fire Department grilled and served hamburgers and hot dogs donated by the Grinnell Fareway and water donated by the Marshalltown Hy-Vee. Harden Propane provided the grill fuel and Rohrer Brothers & Victor Oil donated the use of the grill. Cody’s Tree Service of Brooklyn brought the stage trailer and the Malcom Fire Department furnished the ice. Live Now Designs helped with volunteers, T-shirts and ice.
Floral Centerpieces where provided by Upfront Floral and Home Decor, Brooklyn, Vonda's Flowers & Gifts, Grinnell, and Montezuma Floral.
The event also included a silent auction. Items were provided by many individuals and families and the following businesses/organizations: West Side Diner, Crazy Cut Ups, Walmart Grinnell, Theisen's, Sears, Scentsy, Casey's Lawn Care, Beckman Gallery & Gifts and Dairy King of Montezuma.
The banners were provided by Doty's in Oskaloosa and Total Choice in Grinnell provided flyers. In addition, individuals donated stamps and envelopes to send out flyers as well as paper plates, napkins, condiments and supplies to make the event a success.
“It was a beautiful display of caring and community effort in finding Xavior Harrelson,” noted VanLandschoot. “This gives us hope that the awareness and money raised will get the attention of the right people to come forward and bring him home. It is important to not give up and keep getting his face and name out there.”
“Adam Whitehead and Hunter Mason were so kind to share their time and talent to entertain and draw people to this event,” said Montezuma Mayor Jacki Bolen. “The success of the event wouldn’t have been possible without the entertainment or without Joy VanLandschoot and Tina Goff. They worked so hard to put this together in a short amount of time. We appreciate all they have done to push the reward fund to more than $31,000. It was nice to share an evening with everyone together for the same purpose, Xavior. We all just want him safely returned.”
To donate to the Xavior Harrelson Reward Fund, the public should go to www.paypal.com/paypalme/xaviorsrewardfund to direct deposit to the reward fund for finding Xavior Harrelson.
Joy VanLandschoot's efforts following Mollie Tibbetts' disappearance in 2018 has since grown into what is coined today as Mollie's Movement: Finding Others. She is pictured here with her husband, Gabe.
By J.O. Parker
Two young people - Mollie Tibbetts and Xavior Harrelson, the 11-year-old Montezuma boy - have gone missing in Poweshiek County in the last three years.
Their cases may be different, but in many ways are the same.
And for one Brooklyn woman, looking for answers and helping families find closure has become a daily goal.
Joy VanLandschoot said she was like a lot of people in Brooklyn and the surrounding area who felt helpless when Mollie went missing on July 18, 2018.
“I wanted to do something,” she said.
VanLandschoot and her husband, Gabe, owned Live Now Designs at the time and decided to produce a free flyer about Mollie’s disappearance and post it on Facebook with a downloadable option. There were also other businesses such as Total Choice in Grinnell who were also offering Mollie flyers and helped get the word out.
A few days later, some friends and family of Mollie asked VanLandschoot to design and print T-shirts with Mollie’s name and photo on them for RAGBRAI in 2018.
And it grew from there.
Her involvement and efforts in the Tibbetts disappearance has since grown into what is coined today as Mollie’s Movement: Finding Others.
With the blessings of Mollie’s family, VanLandschoot started creating T-shirts, buttons, car magnets and promotional materials regarding her disappearance.
“We had volunteers helping make the buttons and helping package and ship out the large amount of orders,” she said of Mollie’s disappearance.
She’s also became active in the social media world sharing posts about Mollie and also working to keep her name on the frontlines of the local and national media as well as in people’s thoughts and prayers.
Today, VanLandschoot continues working to get the word out about missing children and adults from all across the nation.
When Xavior Harrelson went missing on May 27, VanLandschoot knew the importance of acting quickly to get the word out.
She created a downloadable flyer about the missing boy. That led to the creation of a new Facebook page, Finding Xavior Harrelson.
“The page was created to keep Xavior’s face and name in the public so he can be found,” VanLandschoot said. “We do not want people to give up on him.”
The new Facebook page was the idea of VanLandschoot and Tina Goff, who administers the page. Goff also mails out missing flyers daily around the nation of Xavior and worked tirelessly on the benefit concert fundraiser along with VanLandschoot.
The Facebook page also features a map of all 99 counties in Iowa. VanLandschoot created the Iowa map and has been asking people to let her know where flyers are being placed. She said people all across Iowa and other states have been posting photos and sending messages about what they are doing to get the word out about the missing Montezuma boy.
And on Tuesday, June 29, a benefit concert featuring Adam Whitehead and Hunter Mason, two up and coming country musicians from the Pella and Ottumwa areas, was held at the Poweshiek County Fairgrounds. The kid friendly event included a silent auction, drinks and food, all of which were donated, with all the proceeds going to the Xavior Harrelson Reward Fund.
VanLandschoot said she doesn’t do anything without the blessings of the family. In Xavior’s case, she has been working with his father and an aunt. And as with Mollie, VanLandSchoot has created T-shirts, buttons and car magnets with Xavior’s photo and information on them. She is currently making an orange T-shirt, Xavior’s favorite color, with his photo on it. For every shirt sold, $5 goes to the reward fund, which at last count was nearing $25,000.
Another product VanLandschoot is offering is called the Pizza Box Mission. For $15 plus tax and shipping, people can purchase 50 5x7 stickers that can be placed on carry out boxes (hence pizza boxes) or used in some other creative way to get the word out about finding Xavior.
VanLandschoot said on occasion people have questioned her motives. Some may think this is all about her. She always lets them know that the missing persons products are at the request of the family.
“I try to keep it positive and focused on the missing person,” she said. “The service we provide is for getting the word out as fast and far as we can. I assure you, we have plenty of other types of jobs that would be a much more reliable source of income, but this is something near and dear to our hearts and our employees.”
VanLandschoot said she and others have all been personally impacted by when Mollie went missing from her hometown of Brooklyn and now, Xavior.
“In a small community, everyone’s life is intertwined in some way,” noted VanLandschoot. “It has been a learning experience for us on the impact products for awareness can bring in getting tips to the authorities, giving hope to friends and family and keeping the story in the spotlight for media.”
“It doesn’t cost anything to click and share on social media,” added VanLandschoot. “If everybody can be resourceful and work together, it can have a big impact. The whole idea is to not give up hope. Family and friends of missing persons need answers. It is a void in their lives.”
For more information on Xavior and efforts to find him, please visit:
Finding Xavior Harrelson group on Facebook or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.