September 30, 2021

CHAMPION‚ÄĒSeptember 27, 2021


Groundhogs do not seem to be mean, but it is said that red hogs are. How mean is a red hog? That is the kind of information a person must get from another person. Googling the question gets lots of information, but not a precise measure of relative meanness. It is true that relatives can be the meanest. One Champion Mother would say of any difficult task that it was like putting a side saddle on a hog. She did not specify color. A favorite fine fiddler probably knows the old tune, Root Hog or Die, or the Pig Ankle Rag, which he probably plays with a smile on his face thinking about his lovely wife. He knows he is a lucky man and, if he forgets, she will tell him.

Bud Hutchison‚Äôs Fall Trail Ride will be coming up soon. Andrew Harden will head it up again and will let us know the date. Looking back through the archives here the ride generally takes place around the second Wednesday of October or sometimes later. It is a recurring reminder of a charming old Champion and a delight to see young Champions following Bud’s same sweet trail. Meanwhile, a group of jolly cowboys, discussing plans at ease, are looking for their reward when their work is all done this fall. Fall has just started, so we have until December 21st to “get ‚Äėer done, Sis.” The expansive plans that were hatched in the air conditioned summertime for fall projects may well exceed what is possible now that it is time to get started. ‚ÄúJust do what you can and don‚Äôt feel bad about asking for help.‚ÄĚ It always makes a body feel good to be of help. Whatever your task, find a moment to enjoy the changing of the season–something tame, something wild. We live in a beautiful part of the world. With any kind of luck, some seldom seen sight seeing friends and family will wander by in time to lend a hand.

Our Skyline R2 School is in an excellent spot in the world. It is about equidistant between Mountain Grove and Ava, enjoying the generous support of both towns. The Mountain Grove Lions Club brought their special $10,000.00 camera to school last Thursday and did vision screening for every Skyline student. It was an efficient and interesting process, a real amenity to the school community. This week, on September 29th, Skyline will be hosting the Cross Country meet for all the small schools around the area at the Ava High School track facility. It is nice to be in the middle. The next Cross Country meet will be at Thornfield on October 6th and then back at Ava on the 13th when Skyline will again be hosting. Skyliners are getting excited about the school carnival coming up on October 22nd.

Jana Brixey, pre school teacher, and Debora Barker, special education teacher, head up the archery program at Skyline. Ms. Brixey shares her birthday on the first of October with the Prominent Champion who subscribes to the notion that if you act like you are having a good time, soon you will forget you are acting. If you ask him how he is doing, he might say, ‚ÄúIf I told you, you would cry.‚ÄĚ or “I ain’t worth a dime.” William Tucker Clark has his birthday on the second of October. He was born in 2015. Second grade student, Evan Homer, has a birthday on October 3rd, along with Tucker‚Äôs Grandpa Clark. Those twins, born up at the OK Corral three quarters of a century ago, celebrate on October 4th. Far flung family will be in town for the celebration–all the way from Alaska. Around here we celebrate birthdays and delight in our good fortune to be where we are. Lannie Hinote says it is already cold in Alaska. Visitors from there are sure to feel warm and welcome in Champion‚ÄĒLooking on the Bright Side!


September 25, 2021

CHAMPION‚ÄĒSeptember 20, 2021



Tonight, Champions will delight under the Harvest Moon, the full moon that takes place closest to the autumnal equinox.  On Wednesday the 22nd, with the sun directly over the equator, we have the equilibrium of day and night.  The sun will begin to rise later, and nightfall will come sooner as autumn arrives.  Meanwhile, south of the equator, spring is about to begin.  They probably have another name for this moon, but up here, we will call it the Harvest Moon and sing that old song.  The harvest as been a good one and the festivals celebrating it make this a busy time of the year.  The old Pioneer Descendants’ Gathering down at Yates on the Edge of the World was one of those great events fondly remembered.  Its exciting spinoff is the Fourth Annual Pioneer Heritage Festival of the Ozarks.  It will be Friday and Saturday October 1st and 2nd at the Fox Trotters Park.  The Apple Festival in Seymour, the Hootin and Hollerin in Gainesville, and those bluegrassers up on Starvy Creek just primed the pump for this kind of wholesome family fun.  The exhibitions of pioneer skills, the music, the games and contests will have something for everyone to enjoy.

Gratitude has been popping up in our lives in surprising ways all the way from ‚ÄúThank goodness it‚Äôs not worse than it is.‚ÄĚ to ‚ÄėWow! There‚Äôs a bee!‚Ä̬† Some Old Champions are grateful for Ethel Leach‚Äôs green tomato pie recipe.¬† It finally got made right at the end of the season, and it is a winner, destined to be a family favorite henceforth.¬† Thanks Ethel!

Appreciation is due a gentleman named Warner Minor in Mountain Grove.¬† He heard that the Skyline R-2 School is looking for donations of guitars for the music program there being taught by Cheyenne McIntosh.¬† He shared a beautiful ‚ÄėEspana‚Äô classical guitar, complete with a tuner, a case, and a guitar stand.¬† Gene Skinner, the master of ceremonies up at the Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival, made the announcement from the stage there that our little country school would be a great place to pass along those good guitars that are not being played.¬† Tim Tamburrino of the Midwest Bluegrass Directory gave him that information while he was there at the festival having a good time.¬† Tim goes to bluegrass jams, festivals and shows all around the Midwest, documenting the music and the music communities.¬† His photographs and videos have been requested by the State Historical Society to be place in the Missouri State Archives.¬† He includes Vanzant on his circuit and says that he is excited to think that bluegrass might be part of rural school curriculum.¬† ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a lot of music in Douglas County!‚ÄĚ

Thanks also goes to the Douglas County Health Department for the beautiful, paved quarter mile walking trail built a few years ago, and for Lisa, the nurse, who spends Tuesdays and Thursdays at Skyline.¬† Lisa says she very much enjoys being at the school, ‚ÄúThe students and the staff are great, and it is beautiful out here.‚Ä̬† Seventh grade student, Tristian Jeffrey, will have his birthday on Saturday the 25th, so he may not get a party at school, but Melanie Hall, in the third grade, will celebrate with her classmates on Wednesday the 29th.¬† The first of October, on Thursday, will find eight grader Lydia Harden and third grader Myson Loveless enjoying their birthdays in school with their friends.¬† Happy birthday to all you students, and to Sandy Ray Chapin, In Search of Booger County, on the 24th, and to Cathie Alsup Reilly, with deep Denlow connections, though partying in Kentucky on the 27th.¬† We are lucky and grateful to have people in our lives to celebrate and enjoy.

We understand that there is no glory in defeating a weak opponent, but the loss by the Kansas City Chiefs by one stinking point on Sunday evening was not what we had in mind.¬† Our Norwood/Skyline basketball team won their game against Mark Twain on Thursday by one point.¬† We always try, but sometimes struggle, to be good sports in Champion–Looking on the Bright Side!


September 17, 2021

CHAMPION‚ÄĒSeptember 13, 2021


Some Champion gardens are winding down now. The giant sunflowers that turned their seedy faces to the sun now bow their heads. Peppers are still producing and looking good, but beans and black eyed peas are being left on the vine to dry. The last episode of fried green tomatoes will happen any day now. Linda makes a great green tomato relish and hopes are that she will share her recipe. Other gardeners, who put their crops in later, are still enjoying cucumbers and summer squash. The garden has been a great comfort and delight for Old Champions, mostly marooned for many months. A reason to get up with something to do keeps them positive and optimistic. Seeing the shelves fill up with wholesome home canned food is a satisfying reward. Only Best Choice product barcodes are now being redeemed for the benefit of our Skyline R-II School. In years past, Always Save brands and Box Tops for Education were also collected and converted into money for the school, but neither of them participates in this program now. So, if you have a choice, choose the Best Choice brand, and save those UPC (barcodes). Drop them off or mail them to the school at Rt. 72 Box 487, Norwood, MO 65717-9439. Every little bit helps.

Ely Young is in the third grade at Skyline. His birthday is on September 8th. That is the same day as Jeanette Crayola who is a great bridge player. Senator Sanders shares that day as well. Back in August on the 10th and the 12th, sixth graders, Jaycee Hall and Cryslynn Bradshaw, enjoyed their birthdays. Leonard Peltier was 77 years old on the 12th and has been in prison since 1977. Tanna Jo Krider Wiseman, Skyline alumnus, celebrates on the 13th. Ellie Strong is a prekindergarten student with a birthday on September 14th. The 14th is a day we remember Laine Sutherland, and the 15th was the big day for the late Elmer Banks. Celebrated spoon virtuoso Pat Kim Smith celebrates on the 15th. Back in August, Lee Border-kindergarten, Hoyt Webster-prekindergarten, and Kaydi Ambroziac-kindergarten, were celebrated by friends and family on the 16th, the 19th, and the 20th. Then, two second grade students, Lauren Collins and Brantley Kilgore, had parties on August 25th and 29th. The 29th was also the birthday of Jason smith, Skyline first grade student, not the politician. Jenna Brixey, eighth grader, and Aiden Ray Hurt, fifth grade, both celebrated on August 31st. That was also the special day for Kalyssa Wiseman, Champion granddaughter. Birth anniversaries of the young, middle aged and old people in our lives, past and present, keep us mindful of the swift passage of time. We are admonished to enjoy now. Tim McGraw says, “Always be humble and kind.”

Glen Brandstedder says it is convenient for him to find The Champion News on or near the same page as the obituaries in the Douglas County Herald. He looks for his name in both places. He said he has some place to go five days a week to enjoy music and church for the other two days. He is a busy man. If you are not too busy, wander over to the wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek and sit a spell out on the wide veranda. It’s alright. That is one of the cool places at the Historic Emporium on the North Side of the Square‚ÄĒChampion! Looking on the Bright Side!


September 11, 2021

CHAMPION‚ÄĒSeptember 9, 2021



Eight hour workdays and forty hour weeks are a couple of the accommodations to the Nation’s workers due to the efforts of the labor movement begun back in the late 19th century. It took a while, and it did not come easy. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act were largely due to the hard work of Frances Perkins. Take a day off and thank Ms. Perkins and Labor Unions. Nabisco workers are currently striking as the company is requiring double shifts and week end work without overtime pay, while moving much of the production to Mexico, amid great a great rise in revenue due to the pandemic. So the struggle for workers rights is ongoing. Farmers never take a day off but can celebrate anyway.

There is a big yellow stripe right down the middle of scenic Highway C that runs from Evans in the south to Norwood. Fog lines, those white lines on the edge, flank the thoroughfare. They are new to this road and most welcome. New air-conditioned school busses sail up and down that road to the intersection with 76 Highway to our Skyline R2 School. The Champion News recently enjoyed a tour of the summer’s construction projects and improvements, which are substantial and impressive. Promethean boards in the classrooms are a high tech innovation that replaced the white boards that replaced the blackboards that were the norm for a previous generation. Significant upgrades in the kitchen make it easier to feed 85 kids two meals a day. The new basketball backboards will see action on September 16th for the first game of the season. The 6th to 8th grade basketball players are teamed up with players from Norwood and will be competing against Mark Twain. The game starts at 5:30. The community is welcome to come enjoy the game and the concessions and to see some of the improvements for yourself. The Skyline PTO is looking for fund raising ideas and music teacher, Cheyenne McIntosh, is hoping for donations of guitars to get our youngsters picking and grinning. A couple of Champions have already committed to sharing their extra guitars. If you have ideas or guitars to share call Tabatha Hurt at 417-683-4874.

The Champion News is celebrating birthdays again. They make us smile. Betty Thomas, Larry Wrinkles and Wilma Hutchison all celebrate their birthday on September first. Smiling on the second of September is Luke Hall, a prekindergartner at Skyline. The third is for third grader Serenity Merryman and for Phoebe Ward. Dailey Upshaw celebrates on the forth, along with his uncle, Vernon Upshaw. Kindergartner Brayden Ellingsworth has the fifth of September for his birthday and Caleb Harden, sixth grader, had his on August 5th. The next day, August 6th, was a big day for second grader Jaxton Harley. Happy birthday to all you friends, family, neighbors, and students. Consider yourselves celebrated and appreciated.

‚ÄúNews Break: From the Fox Creek Foul Fowl Bird Sanctuary and Flyway. A comprehensive three minute study of hummingbirds (flapping their wings really fast) over the last five months by the aforementioned sanctuary laboratory specialists have come to this conclusion: Their wings can also make a humming sound.‚ÄĚ That quote comes direct from The General Vanzant Bugle Express. An Old Champion comes up with the information that hummingbirds do not walk. Nevertheless, our hummingbirds seem to be loading up for their southern trip. If, on their rest stop in Louisiana on their way to the Yucatan, they could somehow convey our best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Ida, it would fulfill the desires of many Champions, Looking on the Bright Side!


September 5, 2021

CHAMPION‚ÄĒAugust 30, 2021





Things are wild in Champion. Wednesday‚Äôs porch talk included reports of hyenas getting loose and creating mischief somewhere over near Souder. Mr. Stone had been to the Norwood sale barn where someone had purchased a zebra for $9,200.00 and the donkey that kept the zebra company sold for $250.00. He said there were also two kangaroos on the sale block. A visit to the Norwood Producers Auction Yard on the internet confirmed that there are many other wild animals in the area‚ÄĒllamas, camels, Patagonian Cavies, and baby African crested porcupines. Someone said that a woman living somewhere in the area had a wombat that died during a cold spell last winter. Wild.


The Cowboy says that grey foxes are in the cat family and red foxes are in the dog family. He says the grey ones taste better. Another Champion said, ‚ÄúTaste kinda like spotted owl.‚ÄĚ Fact checking The Cowboy could send a person on a wild goose chase through Wikipedia and other exotic places. A search for an article about baby copperheads being underfoot this time of the year was interrupted by a report of a 33 foot 900 pound anaconda discovered by a construction crew in the Mark Twain National Forest over near Branson. August 21: ‚ÄúThe Missouri Department of Conservation reminds Taney County residents to be aware of their surroundings when venturing into more rural or seclude areas. Anacondas can and will attack, even when unprovoked. Five deaths have been attributed to anaconda attacks in Taney County in the last 6 months.‚ÄĚ Very wild.

Saturday, Old Champions received an unexpected gift in the mail of some wild boar uncured Italian salami made with meat from feral swine, Texas wild boar. The generous benefactor had recently sold some writing that merited a big family feast. Since Covid is keeping us apart, she opted for this surprise package that also included quince jam, oat cakes, and chocolate roasted almonds. Some folks are wild, and some folks have wildness sent to them in the mail. More lovely mail comes from Linda Clark‚ÄĒtwo CDs: “Blue Grass Attack Here and There.” That great group was recorded in the early 1980s with members: Dale McIntosh, Charlie Jones, Wayne Anderson, Lonnie Krider, Duke McIntosh and Elsie McIntosh. The other is “About As Bluegrass AS It Gets,” with Wayne Anderson, Family and Friends, recorded at the Skyline Fire Department Picnic in August, 2006. Some of that one is in a video on the website here in the Music Category over on the right side of the page. Thank you, Linda. Music goes a long way toward keeping our spirits up in Champion where news has come that there will be no Champion School Reunion this year.

Hurricane Ida started its wild tear through Louisiana and Mississippi and will keep after it until Champagne Charlie Burlile gets wet in Boston. One of the weathermen said that climate change is like a shot of steroids on a regular hurricane, hence winds recorded gusting up to 160 miles per hour. They say Ida carries a tremendous amount of rain with it so all kinds of flooding might be expected up through the country. We have an ongoing persistent hope for the safety and well-being of all those in the paths of storms and strife. Johnny Cash said, ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs no way around grief and loss: you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.‚ÄĚ While we in Champion are grateful for Sunday‚Äôs rain, we are mindful that weather is indiscriminate. Bad weather, war, discord and the pandemic put themselves together to make these what we might call ‚Äėhard times.‚Äô We will pull together, work together, and get through it like Champions‚ÄĒLooking on the Bright Side!