The 2022 Prairie Burn 100 gravel bike ride will take off from Grinnell, Iowa’s Central Park on Saturday, June 11, 2022, with a start time of 7 A.M. The ride is a fundraiser for Imagine Grinnell, a nonprofit that manages programming for healthy and sustainability initiatives. Riders can sign up online now for 25, 50 or 100 miles routes. Entry is $40 per person with discounted family rates and the first 250 entrants receive free swag including a t-shirt and slap koozie.
“The Prairie Burn 100 is a fun event where riders can enjoy our beautiful local gravel roads with a bunch of new friends,” says Tim Ellsworth, President of Imagine Grinnell. “We’ll have determined riders who grit their way through the full 100 miles of hills, gravel and B roads while many of the 25-milers will take their time enjoying the amazing views that surround our community.”
To help prepare for the event, a group of Prairie Burners take off for a weekly ride every Tuesday departing from Bikes to You at 5:30 P.M. This is considered a no-drop ride, so new gravel riders have an opportunity to try gravel riding without getting left behind.
In addition to the June 11 gravel bike ride, more activities are planned in and around Central Park with the following schedule:
9–10 A.M. Yoga in the Park
9:30 A.M. Food Trucks & Hotel Grinnell Patio Open
10 A.M. – 12 P.M. Grinnell Farmer’s Market
10:30 A.M. – 12 P.M. Storytime Art in the Park presented by the Drake Community Library and Grinnell College Museum of Art
12 P.M. Family Bike Ride
“We are thrilled to offer opportunities for the entire family at this year’s event,” says Jennifer Cogley, Director of Programs at the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation and Prairie Burn 100 organizer. “We hope the community will take advantage of this fun summer event and cheer on the cyclists as they finish their ride.”
For more information on the gravel ride and activities, visit prairieburn100.com.
For many years, The Iowa American Legion held a parade at their State Convention honoring the district who was first in membership with floats, bands and members representing Boys’ and Girls’ State, baseball and other programs.
At the Department Convention 1993, the district membership under the leadership of Commander Virgil Mundt of Denver decided to have a permanent float built for the Third District in honor of The American Legion's 75th anniversary in 1994. Bob Heppe produced photos of the four sides of The Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery, Washington D.C. and a decision was made to build a 3" l scale replica.
Carroll Wegner approached Darrell Paustian of Gladbrook to see if he would be willing to face this challenge. He accepted, found a write-up on the dimensions and using 2 inch lumber and plywood and a lot of religion, begin. Rick Voss carved the men and Darrell the wreaths out of basswood. Ed McGivern, Carroll Wegner and Dick Denbow served as 'gofers.' Dale Haack of Gladbrook painted the wood with gray and a darker gray to give a marbleized effect. The completed project weighed 460 pounds, was mounted on a carpeted 8-foot wide trailer, licensed and the 'Tomb of the Unknowns' made its first appearance in the Gladbrook Corn Carnival parade on July 8, 1994. The American Legion also served as Grand Marshalls in honor of their 75th anniversary that year. Later in July, the float made its debut in the Iowa Department Parade in Dubuque and then to Minneapolis for the National Parade to commemorate The American Legion's 75th.
Third District also took Ed McGivern's flatbed trailer float honoring each branch of service and war eras, as we braved a cold and rainy parade day.
Rick Voss and the Blairstown Color Guard were selected as caretakers with anyone wanting to use the 'float' in a parade, they could rent it for a $25 fee. A new 6-foot trailer was obtained and under Rick's watchful eye it was carpeted, lettered with 'They Sacrificed for God and Country.' 'The Tomb of the Unknowns.' A canvas cover was made and held in place with rope and metal strapping. The Tomb itself was sanded down by Paustian and a glaze applied and repainted by Haack in Gladbrook. Touch-ups have been done as needed. A storage area was built underneath for equipment and tools. The pick-up used to pull the float was often fitted to carry the 'Iowa Corn,' a favorite in the national parades.
Over the past years, the 'Tomb' has appeared in several national and department parades, most of Gladbrook's Corn Carnival parades and other celebrations across the district and state. In August 1997, the 'Tomb of the Unknowns' was honored on the floor of the Orlando Florida National Convention, where it was guarded by volunteer veterans. Ames 'Pure Heaven' Color Guard also received its 7th national award.
In 1998, at the Mid-Winter Convention, Commander Ivan Torkelson invited Judy Robb of Traer to do her rendition of '21 Steps' under dimmed lights with the 'Tomb' as a hushed audience listened. The float has appeared in the Iowa State Fair parade leading Iowa's veterans. When on display or in a parade, the 'Tomb' is always respectfully guarded and then covered when not in use.
The 'Tomb' still receives comments of 'what is it made of, it is so real', 'how can you get wood to look like marble', 'it's awesome', and 'we didn't know the Third District had a float. The float was featured in the national parades in 2017 at Reno, 2018 at Minneapolis and 2019 at Indianapolis as we promoted Nikki Paustian Clapp of Gladbrook who served as National Auxiliary President in 2019-2020. Shellsburg is now the caretaker, it is still available for a $25 fee and reservations may be made by calling Ed Shaeffer at 319-389-2682.
The Grinnell FFA Chapter Ag Issues team earned third-place honors and a gold rating at the 94th FFA State Leadership Conference, held April 11-12, at Iowa State University in Ames. Pictured are, from left: Nina Walton. Nick Brennecke, Gabe Gilman, Aleah Delk, Hayden Eaton, Nicolle Donnelly and Sadi Flanagan.
By J.O. Parker
The Grinnell FFA Chapter wrapped up the 94th State Leadership Conference, held April 11-12, at Iowa State University in Ames with several top honors.
Grinnell FFA’s Ag Issues and Perceptions team brought home third-place honors and a gold rating at this year’s state conference. Team members include Aleah Delk, Gabe Gilman, Nicholas Brennecke, Nina Walton, Hayden Eaton, Nicolle Donnelly and Sadi Flanagan.
Ag Issues and Perceptions is a team event that requires chapters to have a firm understanding of how issues in agriculture develop. Participants were challenged to develop a portfolio and deliver a presentation that stressed both the pros and cons the issue. Verbal skills and presentation abilities were used to defend their issue through a series of questions.
The Grinnell FFA Ag Sales team brought home an eighth-place finish and gold rating. Grinnell was among 79 FFA chapters who participated in this year’s CDE designed to provide the student an opportunity to display their agricultural knowledge and skills in the area of Agriculture Sales. The 312 individuals who participated in the event each completed an objective test, made a sales presentation, and performed a customer relations practicum. All team members worked together to prepare a marketing plan and make an oral presentation of the plan to the judges.
Team members included Wyatt Eaton, Andrew Peterson, Oliver Louden and Sophia Louden. Oliver was 12th individual overall in the competition.
Lexi Kephart competed in the public speaking event, bringing home an eighth-place finish and silver rating at this year’s state convention.
This event is designed to develop rural and agricultural leadership, to provide for member participation in agricultural public speaking activities and to stimulate interest along such lines. The prepared public speaking event requires participants to write and deliver a six-to-eight minute speech in front of a panel of judges. Scoring is based on the written manuscript, the delivery of the speech and the answers to questions.
The Grinnell FFA program was recognized with the Ambassador Award. The award recognizes FFA chapters for their assistance in promoting FFA and support of FFA through the Foundation.
Throughout the year, chapters earn points in four specific categories – number of hours volunteering to support Iowa FFA and the Iowa FFA Foundation (50 points for each hour the chapter volunteers), amount of sales of Iowa FFA Foundation limited edition items (one point for each dollar of items sold), any donations and in-kind contributions made to support FFA through the Iowa FFA Foundation (one point for each dollar/value donated) and finally any donations from individuals in their community who have designated the chapter as their points recipient (one point for each dollar donated).
“Once all of these areas are calculated, they are combined to be awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold or $1,000+ level,” noted Josh Remington, Executive Director, Iowa FFA Foundation. “In addition, one winner is announced from each of Iowa FFA’s six districts – from these six district winners, the overall state winner is awarded, and the 2022 state winner is the Grinnell FFA Chapter.”
Two Grinnell FFA members served as voting delegates at this year’s state convention. Lexi Spooner, secretary and Ireland Sebetka, historian, had an opportunity to vote on next year’s state FFA Officers.
“They listen to the candidates give a speech and then vote,” said Grinnell FFA Advisor Ashley Wolfe.
Wolfe said each FFA chapter in attendance has two delegates who vote.
Lexi Kephart captured an eighth-place finish and gold rating at the 94th FFA State Leadership Conference, held April 11-12, at Iowa State University in Ames. She is joined by Grinnell FFA Advisor Ashley Wolfe.
The Grinnell FFA Ag Sales team brought home an eight-place finish and gold rating at the 94th FFA State Leadership Conference, held April 11-12, at Iowa State University in Ames. Pictured are, from left: Oliver Louden, Sophia Louden, Andrew Peterson and Wyatt Eaton. Oliver finished the competition in 12th individual overall.
The father and son duo of Damon, left, and Dallon Murty of rural Brooklyn enjoy racing against each other in the IMCA stock car class. The racing duo just returned from the 2022 Bristol Dirt Nationals where Dallon, a high school junior, finished third due to a race car technicality and Damon finished sixth. The Murty family races at circle tracs all across Iowa and in addition to Bristol has also raced in Texas, Las Vegas, Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Minnesota.
By J.O. Parker
A little friendly competition among family members is a good thing. Just ask stock car racers Damon and Dallon Murty of rural Brooklyn.
The father and son duo has been racing IMCA (International Motor Contest Association) stock cars and each other for years and have brought home lots of hardware along the way.
Step into their racing garage and among the race car tires, cases of oil, tool boxes and car parts are hundreds of awards and trophies covering two shelves and the walls on one end of the garage.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Damon of racing. “It’s every racing dad’s dream to race with their son.”
The IMCA is currently headquartered in Vinton and features several classes and divisions of weekly racing in six geographical regions of the United States.
Damon and Dallon, a junior at BGM High School, recently traveled to Tennessee where they completed in the Bristol Dirt Nationals for a second year. In 2021, Dallon, who drives number 99X, finished first in the A Main (championship race) and Damon, who drives number 99D, finished second. At the 2022 championship race, Dallon finished first again, but ended up in third due to a post-race technical issue with his race car. Damon finished in sixth place.
“That is sometimes the way it is in racing,” Damon said of his son’s finish at Bristol.
He added, “Dallon was by far the fastest car there all week.”
Damon and Dallon compete in qualifying races all week where they earn points for how they finish, which sets up where they will start the A Main championship race. Damon started the championship race on the outside pole and Dallon started on the fourth row inside for the 30 lap feature.
Stock cars are built on standard vehicle frames such as a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The top of the car is original as is the frame, but the body is made from flat sheet metal. The car is powered by a custom built 350 cubic inch 8-cyclinder Chevrolet engine. The race car can reach speeds of 110 – 115 mph.
Damon started racing in 1994, following in the footsteps of an uncle and cousin who raced.
“I went to the races with my uncle and it grew from there,” said Damon.
He raced hobby stocks until 2002, when he switched to racing stock cars.
Dallon started racing go-carts at age 3.5. By age 10, Dallon was racing micro mods, a pint-size version of a stock car. At age 11, Dallon won his first A Main in a non-sanctioned stock car race.
In addition to traveling to Bristol, Tenn., in February the racing duo traveled to Texas where they raced at tracks in Abilene, Mesquite and Waco. Dallon finished first in Abilene and second in Waco. The family has also raced in Las Vegas, Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Minnesota through the years.
Last year, Dallon competed in 78 races, winning 47 times. Damon competed in 58 races, winning 11 features.
The 2022 Iowa racing season got underway on Sunday, April 10. The duo races all across Iowa at circle dirt tracks in Boone, Marshalltown, Stuart, Oskaloosa, Donaldson, Memphis and Alta.
Tagging along at the races are Dallon’s sister, Dayna, a fourth-grader at BGM and mom and wife, Dawna, who said everyone calls her, “Mama Dawna.”
“I will do whatever it takes to make both my kids humble, kind and successful where ever that leads,” Dawna said of supporting her family.
“It’s great to see Dallon have so much success,” added Damon of his son.
“It’s fun and we get to race together,” added Dallon. “I like it when we both finish one and two.”
Dallon Murty in the winner's circle.
Damon Murty in the winner's circle.
By J.O. Parker
Craig Cooper, owner of Bikes to You in Grinnell, celebrated a milestone earlier this month.
Cooper opened Bikes to You 30-years ago on April 4, 1992.
“I opened the doors with 22 bicycles and some accessories,” recalled Cooper. “Today, we have close to 200 bicycles and every kind of accessory to match.”
Cooper credits the tenacious energy and encouragement of Bill Sepic, the former director of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, in spurring him on to open the bike shop.
“He (Sepic) called me multiple times to get me to open a bike shop in Grinnell,” Cooper said.
It all came together thanks to a business loan from Dave Jones at Grinnell State Bank.
Cooper, who grew up in Newton, got his start in the bicycle business thanks to Marty Doane, the owner of Marty’s Schwinn Cyclery.
When Cooper moved to Pella in 1986 to attend Central College, he and Doane opened Iowa Bike & Fitness in Pella, a store he ran during his four-years in college.
After graduating from Central in 1990, Cooper piddled around for a couple years before deciding to settle down and open Bikes to You in Grinnell.
The store, which is located at 921 Broad St., has been in the same building since day one.
At a 30-year celebration ribbon cutting by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors earlier this month, Cooper shared the story of having just one week to “flip” the store from its previous role as a shoe store to opening a bike store seven days later.
Cooper said he is truly humbled by the friendships and relationships built over the years with his customers and says the future is looking bright.
“The folks of Montezuma, Brooklyn, Victor, Grinnell and all across the county have supported the bicycle shop,” he said. “I’m very thankful and appreciate their business.”
In addition to selling and repairing bicycles, Cooper offers a RAGBRAI charter service for bicyclists from across the globe. In past years, he has operated a bike repair shop on the annual cross-state ride, but is not offering that service this year.
Cooper sells several brands of bicycles, but said his top sellers are Giant and Cannondale bikes. He also offers a line of electric assist bikes along with a large selection of bicycle accessories from tires to tubes and much more.
“We will fix any brand of bicycle,” he said.
Bikes to You is open Tuesday – Friday, from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The business is closed on Sunday and Monday.
The business can be reached at 641-236-8600.
Second Mile Establishes an Endowment to celebrate 35 years of meeting human needs in the Grinnell area
In celebration of its 35th year anniversary, the Second Mile Board established a permanent endowed fund. Donors can support the fund at Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation and give the gift of operational sustainability to an organization that helps so many people in need.
In 1986, the name Second Mile was proposed as part of a community action plan that would serve as a one stop shop for community outreach. Led by the Church Women United and the Grinnell Ministerial Association, Second Mile in its infancy was a clothing closet housed in the lower level of the Veteran's Memorial Building. Second Mile quickly outgrew the space because of the generosity of donors and in 2000 moved to their current location, 515 3rd Ave.
Over the years there have been many changes for the local nonprofit thrift store but Second Mile’s mission has remained the same - Second Mile seeks to increase and improve relations with community partners to meet its goal of walking a mile further with our neighbors in Poweshiek County. To that end, the Board of Directors continues to seek new opportunities and strengthen existing partnerships so that our contributions can reach those in need. Members of the Board are Aaron Backlin, Delphina Baumann, Troy Dillon, Dwight Laidig, Anthony Nieuwsma, Brian Nolton, Mindy Tokle, Neal Van Ersvelde, Nicole Ver Meer and Susan Willig.
Second Mile serves Poweshiek County and beyond in several important and impactful ways. The Board has given back more than $163,000 in monetary grants over the past five years to nonprofits operating in Poweshiek County. The first donation was to the Goodfellows Christmas Share Program in 2003 and recent recipients of monetary donations include the Brooklyn Food Bank, Goodfellows, Grinnell, Montezuma and Brooklyn Ministerial Associations, The Invisible Closet, The Kevin Sterk Elementary Needs Fund, The Optimist Club, Station Clubhouse, Tiger Packs and Renewed Hope.
Second Mile board president Susan Willig notes "The Grinnell Ministerial Association was instrumental in getting Second Mile started so it is a joy to see this come full circle as we are now able to lend and increase our support to them...the Ministerial Associations are going above and beyond to meet the needs of our community.”
Board member Delphina Baumann added that “the pandemic highlighted the need to establish an endowment so that we can ensure sustainability during periods of downturn…we want to continue to provide for the many organizations that we serve while ensuring we have enough in a permanent fund to meet our own needs.”
Donors who give to the Second Mile Endowment may be eligible to receive an Endow Iowa Tax Credit for their donation. For more information about Endow Iowa or to donate to the Second Mile Endowment visit at www.greaterpcf.org and click the “Donate Today” button at the top of the page. To learn more about Second Thrift Store visit https://www.facebook.com/people/Second-Mile-Thrift-Shop/100057433480152/.