CHAMPION—September 29, 2014

        Champions have been warned that, in terms of weather, the two weeks ahead are two of the four most beautiful weeks of the year in this lovely part of the world.  The other two weeks are those just past during which time Champion has been the destination of many visitors, some familiar with the area and some just out rambling.  On Tuesday Jim Cantrell, of Mansfield, and his buddies from the Gee Haw Horse and Wagon Club of Viola, Arkansas came back through town and camped for the night on the Square.  Locals knew they were coming so they had prepared some dishes to augment their supper.  Neighbors came out to visit around the campfire for a spell in the evening.  The travelers harnessed up and pulled out of town early the next morning planning to make it home on Friday.  The Gee Haw bunch were Ken Felts, Randall Barnett and Coy Stone.  Cantrell only went along with them because he had left his truck and trailer down in Arkansas.

        Bud Hutchison and a half dozen of his friends came riding in from Crystal Lake on Wednesday.  This was not Bud’s scheduled “Fall Ride,” but just a beautiful day to be in the saddle.  The scheduled ride will meet up at Champion on October 8th, and at about ten o’clock they will take off up Fox Creek and amble around over towards Vanzant.  Sometimes this is quite a large group of equestrians.  Wilma Hutchison always gets a good picture.  They make their loop and get back to Champion at two or three in the afternoon.  The neighborhood comes out to see them off and to welcome them back again.  Bob and Ethel Leach will likely be there to greet them, as well as Almartha’s mischievous motorcycle maven, and a prominent Champion and perhaps a prominent Champion girlfriend.  Everyone is welcome.

        Skyline VFD Auxiliary President Betty Dye will celebrate her birthday on October 7th.  She shares the day with OACC activist Vicky Trippe of Springfield and with Skyline prekindergarten student Macy Smith.  The OACC folks had a great gathering at the Hammond Mill Camp recently.  They support the environment, sustainable farming and social consciousness, among other good things.  Madelyn Ward was born in 2006 on October 10th.  She is the granddaughter of Kaye and Richard Johnston, so it is predetermined that she will have a great birthday.  The next day Champion Steve Connor has a reason to celebrate and along about this time in years past, Pete Proctor is said to have had a birthday.  The 14th is shared by three grown-ups who do not know each other—nephew Glen Masters, in his 40’s now, Jillian Hall III, great niece and award winning filmmaker, and Leslie Krider, dairy farmer and Peanut-The Wonder Girl’s dad—lovely people all.  Joe Moskaly shares the 15th with Skyline prekindergarten student Keedien Smith.  Olivia Prock is in the sixth grade.  Her birthday is on the 16th.  The next day the whole school will celebrate Skyline’s PTO Fall Festival.  It will be held at the school from 6 to 9 p.m.  The event replaces the Halloween carnival.  Everyone is welcome to attend to support the excellent little rural school that is preparing responsible and involved citizens for the future.  These are the people who will be running things when most readers of The Champion News will be doddering, old and gray or gone.

        The Christian Agricultural Stewardship Conference will be held on Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at the Vanzant Community Building starting at 11a.m.  The conference is being co-hosted by coordinator Geffrey Goss and President Keith Montgomery.  The program this year will feature Carroll Montgomery speaking on the subject of soil balance, Jill Henderson on vegetable crops and seed saving, and Vernon Kinsinger on the subject of epigenetics.  Everyone is invited to bring samples of crops such as corn or other field crops (non GMO please) or samples of vegetable crops for a show and tell.  There will be a pot luck dinner in the evening followed by bluegrass and gospel music provided by the group Wires on Wood.  Past conferences have had an average of sixty or so people in attendance.  There will be free literature available on a variety of agricultural subjects as well books for sale.  The event is free to the public.

        To augment his income The General has taken a position as a ‘stringer’ for The Champion News.  His first offering:  “What a great night we had at the Vanzant Community Center Thursday night pot luck and jam.  Great music and food.  That fabulous banjo player and his beautiful wife that lives on highway 14 east of Ava showed up for the first time in about 19 months.  Wayne and Joann Anderson were greeted with a standing ovation when they came through the door (Possibly because they arrived a little late and everyone was standing in line to serve themselves at the buffet table).  Anyhow, it was great to have them back.”  An example of Wayne’s wonderful picking can be heard by going to “Champion Events– School Reunions” at  There is a short mp3 there of Wayne and Lonnie Krider singing, “We Live in Two Different Worlds.”  Their harmonies are unforgettable and plans are to get more of their recordings up soon.  Meanwhile, it is great to have The General on the TCN team and readers look forward to more from him.  He was over at ‘Vanzant Under The Stars’ Saturday night and reports are that he was well deported (good behavior as opposed to good-bye) for this charming new weekly community gathering.  Thanks, Ms. Stillwell, for getting it together.  River has had family visiting from afar.  That is always a special time.

        The 13th Annual Pioneer Descendants Gathering is happening on October 4th and 5th.  Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Betty and Dale Thomas have made this an excellent happening–getting better year after year.  It is a free public event with everyone invited to see exhibits and demonstrations of the 1860 to 1960 era.  Musicians from all around the area will be performing, so bring your lawn chairs and prepare to be entertained under the big pavilion.  Apple butter and molasses cooking will keep the air full of good aromas.  Hungry visitors will have plenty to enjoy while the music plays. Wagon rides down by Bryant Creek will be going on all day and chances are friends you have not seen in a while will be there too.

        Linda’s October Almanac from over at The Plant Place in Norwood indicates that there is plenty to get done in the garden this time of the year in addition to bringing in the sheaves.  According to the almanac, the Hunter’s Moon will be full on the 8th of the month and that is also the day of the full lunar eclipse.  It will occur early in the morning with the total eclipse beginning at 5:27.  The eclipse will be at its maximum at about 5:55 and will end at 6:22.  It looks like it will be clear and if there is not a hill between you and it, and if you are willing to get up before daylight, and if you are in the mood for celestial excitement, this will be an excellent opportunity to be reminded that the world is round.  Expect conversations concerning that concept to be rife out on the wide veranda at the Historic Emporium.  The power of willful ignorance cannot be overstated, so come join in the discourse in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!