March 25, 2010

2010 Skyline VFD Chili Supper

March 6th – Skyline Volunteer Fire Department Chili Supper

(click the flyer to enlarge)
Esther’s “Queen Star” quilt:
Skyline Ladies’ Auxiliary President Betty Dye presents the Queen Star Quilt
to winning ticket holder Terry Chastain of Ava. Terry is a New Member
of the Skyline VFD Fire Department and a welcome one.



September 21, 2009

West Plains Wagon Club – 2009

        Champion is a bright spot in the world.  There is no denying it.  The West Plains Wagon Club got wet every day of their trip until Thursday.  On Thursday as they came to Champion, the sun came out.  Eleven wagons’ worth of teamsters and passengers and 21 horseback riders will be pleased to say that Champion was the Bright Spot of their week long ride from West Plains to Mansfield.  Clifton Luna has headed up this ride since the late 1980’s.  He is 84 and shows no signs of slowing down.  There were quite a few children on this trip.  The youngest was Breanna Webster, two years old, traveling with her Grandparents Nancy and Marvin Webster of Bloomfield, MO.  Granddad, Don Breauchy of Vanzant enjoyed the company of his 10-year-old grandson, Jeffrey Bingham.  Gary Carter’s grandsons, Trent and Trevor, were also out of school for a couple of days getting life experience and education in the saddle.  There were several new to this ride this year and sadly, some missing who have made it every year.  Don Crawford of Salem, Arkansas, passed away this year.  He had made this ride every time.  He also headed up a ‘no-shuttle’ ride in the spring and the fall every year.  That ride was generally about 100 miles and participants had to bring all their own food, feed, and gear for the trip as they had no support on the trail.  Several different folks remarked on his absence on Thursday.  A number of Champions were on hand to enjoy the spectacle of the wagon train.  Upshaws came from as far away as Mountain Grove and Vanzant, and Wisemans came from Marshfield.  Foster and Kalyssa enjoyed some time in the saddle though their feet are still a long way from the stirrups.  One of the muleskinners was heard to say how much they all appreciate having the spectators come out to see them when they come to Champion.  “It is a real highlight for us,” he said.



August 29, 2009

General Upshaw — The Stalwart


Getting Settled

Tuning Up

Playing Along

Receiving Calls

Waving to the Crowd

Looking Natural


July 3, 2009

The Old Straw Hat

By: Betty Dye
September 2007

Straw Hat        You can see it on a nail in Mom’s kitchen now.  The old straw hat my daddy wore is hanging there today. 

        He wore it when he mowed the grass, or when he plowed the fields.  When he cut hay, or fed the cows or hunted in the woods.  If he chopped wood or fixed the fence or any other chore, you would always find a straw hat sitting on his head. When to town he would go, with mom and all us kids.  To buy the food or pay the bills or whatever needed done, an old straw hat would be there to cover up his head.

Daddy        Down through the years the styles would change, the colors would change too, but you would always see a straw hat placed upon his head.  As children grew and grandkids came, and age began to show, a straw hat would be sitting there like a crown upon his head.  The years were long and many, the hard ships quite a few, but the joys he found in his family made the hardships fade from view.

        He taught his children that hard work would get them through this life.  If you gave your word you should always keep it and never take it back.  He believed the truth was always best, and a lie would never do, and a spanking every now and then, would teach children right from wrong.

        He loved our mom for fifty years, with a love so strong and true, and even when they disagreed that love would come shining through.

        The day finally came, and we always knew it would, when dad would not be with us for the Lord had called him home. We miss him in so many ways but the memories are so clear.  The love he gave to each of us, we feel it more and more.

        I know for me, my memories bring tears and even joy. And when I see his straw hat the stronger they become.  I know that in my heart, he’s here with me right now.  He’ll always be a part of me as I continue on, and his old straw hat will help remind me of all he had said and done, and forever have a part in my memories of time.


September 22, 2008

West Plains Wagon Club – 2008

Champions and citizens of neighboring communities turned out in numbers to greet the West Plains Wagon Club as it passed through Champion in central Douglas County on Thursday, September 18, 2008.  The wagon train was on its annual trail ride from West Plains to Mansfield.  This year there were twelve wagons on the train when it pulled into Champion and there were about twenty-five accompanying outriders.  From year to year the numbers vary but the welcome is always warm and friendly in Champion.  Under the direction of 83 year-old Wagon Master Clifford Luna, the wagon train left West Plains on Monday morning.  They routinely make about twenty miles a day and stop at predetermined camp-sites.  On Thursday they camped at the Black Gate Farm just north of Skyline.  They arrived in Mansfield on Friday with few incidents to report.  A couple of outriders were thrown from their horses—one, when it was spooked by a motorcycle, and another when someone in a pickup suddenly opened a door and yelled.  The riders were not seriously injured and the trip overall was a pleasant one.  Luna and the West Plains Wagon Club will enjoy more rides this year, but Champions will have to wait until next year to see them rolling through the community again.



July 24, 2008

Ms. McCallie’s Letter of 7/16/2008

Following are excerpts from Ms. McCallies letter of 7/16/2008.

My Missouri Home“Well Hello There, All of You Nice and lovely folks, In the Wonderful City of Champion.  Now wasn’t that a nice thing to say?  Well that’s the way I think and feel about you–and All Champions. 

     “And I can’t hardly wait for the good ole Douglas County Herald, sos I can read the Champion and News of the Homestead Stories.  I cut all of them out of the papaer and keep them. Someday (I hope) to make me a scrapbook, and they’ll be in it.  My sons Larry and Phillip both enjoy reading them to, when they visit me.  My son Phillip lives in Golden City, MO, about 120 miles from you.  And my son Larry lives in Hutchinson, KS.  But one thing for sure I’d better get buisy on the scrap book, because my 91st b.d. is coming up, August11th, which is only a few weeks away.  Tell Esther Wrinkles I wish her a late Happy B.D.  She beat me a few weeks.  I’m so hoping I can come to Champion in Sept. when I come to our Haden Family reunion Stptember’s 1st weekend. 

      “….I enjoyed seeing and meeting you and Mrs. Henson so very much and I think you were both so nice.  Also I really liked seeing the little store of Champion.  It brought back so many memories of the old store at Smallett, MO. Where We went to sell eggs, frying chickens, old hens and roosters to buy our groceries when I was a child in the 1920’s.  We had to walk to the store.  It was quite a ways too.  We lived about half way between it and the Silver Shade School house where I went my first 6 years of school.  Darrell Haden also went there too, but he’s about 100 years younger than me, haha.  No Actually he’s just almost 14 years my Jr.  I liked from the 6th of July, till the 1th of August being 14 years old, when he was born….(1931).

     “….Another thing we did as a child was to sell cotton tail rabiits.  Daddy made my sister and I a bunch of rabbit traps, with trap-doors on them and we’d throw a handfull of shelled corn in them and set the trigger and take the ones we’d catch to the store and sell them.  We’d get from .05 to .15 a piece for them.  It was our money for Christmas gifts.

     “It was pretty cold sometimes when we’d bait our traps, and also when we’d get a rabbit in them.  Usually the best catches was when there’d be a big snow on the ground.  Once I’d saved .35 and Wowee!  It was the most money I’d ever had (haha).  I was 8 or 9 years old.  Can you feature seeing 8 or 9 year olds out in the snow now days doing that?  They almost scoff and laugh at you now if you give them $#5.00.  They’ll say, ‘Huh!  That won’t buy anything!’  I don’t really believe they appreciate anything like we did as a child.  I was so proud ant thankful for everything I had or got.  We go so little in material things, but oodles and gobs of love.  @3 (4) four children lost our Mother when we were very young.  (She was so young to die–only 30).  My oldest sister, Elaine was 9.  Next sister, Blanche was 7.  I was 4, by brother was 15 months old.  That’s what my poor Daddy was left with, but he was so watchful over us, just like an ole Mother hen with four little chicks.  And he entertained us every night after he’d get home.  Daddy was a carpenter.  He built several of the houses and buildings in Ava, and a lot of buildings in Douglas, Taney and Ozar Counties.

     “We children fully obeyed his orders when he’d leave to go to work, and left my oldest sister Elaine in charge and told us to obey her for he’d instructed her what to do and how to take care of us.  And I still praise her today, for doing a to job.  She had t learn so young and really never had a young child’s life.  Always had to watch after us younger ones and take care of the house.  We had a hard life but Daddy done the best he could.  He was only 31 when Mother died.  He was a year and 3 days older than she.  His BD, September 4th, 1890 and her’s Septembre 7th, 1891.  Mother died 3-22-1922.  Actually they were just kids, but kids them dyas had to grow up fast and learned to work and handle responsibilities.  We had to do the same.  But daddy was so thoughtful and helfpful with we childred.  He’d tell us girls after supper to clean the kitchen up and we’d do something good.  And some nights he’d play games with us like  hide the thimble or “please or Displealse” and other nights he’d read the Bible or Zane Gray or Harld B. Wrights books to us.  He had every one of their books, the sotries I rmembered most, from the Bible, was when Jesus was born and on through his 12th birthday.  And the one I liked bes in Zane Gray’s books was about a red horse named “Wildfire.”  And Harold Belle Wrights was “Shepherd of the Hills,”  Those stories have stayed with me through the years.

     “Well as I promised this is the ‘caboose’ so bye for now.  Love and best wishes to you and all Champions. 

Your Friend in Okalahoma,

Ethel (Haden) McCallie



July 20, 2008

Texas Expert Explains Armadillos

            Native Texan and Armadillo Expert, Zoey Louise, informs Champion grandparents that the nine-banded armadillo is not a Native Texan.  It is from South America and first entered Texas in about 1849.  By the mid 1970’s it had immigrated all the way to Southern Missouri.  It is considered to be a nuisance, certainly, as it burrows for grubs and insects in lawns and gardens.  The young lady is shown here pointing out what she calls a “Good Armadillo.”  

Zoey Louise points out a 'Good Armadillo.'
Zoey Louise points out a 'Good Armadillo.'

The Department of Conservation, however, says that they should not be wantonly killed but that shooting is a precise and effective way to control them.  The one shown here was killed by a vehicle on the road and after the passage of several vehicles and several weeks it was rendered odorless and altogether flat.  This one likely has three siblings roaming the area, as armadillos typically raise identical quadruplets.  They have one litter per year which Zoey Louise believes to be one litter too many.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was popular to make handbags out of the whole critter.  They can still be found in flea markets occasionally.  It is not impossible that this could be a recurring fad.  According to one of the expert’s grandparents who once killed an armadillo with a boat oar and then fed it to guests, the meat is light in color, dense and relatively tasteless.  Every particle of fat needs to be removed before cooking, however, as it has a rancid quality much like that of possum it is said. The invaders continue their Northward trek and there have been some sightings on the other side of the Missouri River.  Unfortunately they have left settlers all along the way.   No plans are known to be in the works for profiteering off the remains of the good armadillos.  That they are Good ones is enough at this time.