May 8, 2023



Skyline Fun Run


It was a cool Saturday morning for the Skyline Fun Run, a 5K walk/run, hosted by the Skyline Wellness Committee.  In the eleven-year-old and under category Kash Hurt came in first at 20 minutes, Alexander Bradley was second, and Blake McIntosh was third, also with good times.  They were followed by Caleb Barker who took first in his division (12-17 year old).  Second place in that division was Ray Hurt and Joseph Hastings came in third.  Deborah Barker was the only competitor in the adult division.  She was the last to finish the race, but was first in her division, crossing the line to a rousing welcome.  Several others started the race but caught a ride on the way back with the pilot UTV driven by Jim Hurt.  Doug Hutchison, Terrell Johnson, and D.J. Mastrangelo of the Skyline VFD provided traffic control for the event and joined the after race festivities for the awarding of prizes and the Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  Mr. Gray said the weather looked great for the Skyline Field Day on Tuesday afternoon.  The school year ends on Friday and summer school begins next week.  Our great little rural school is a busy, exciting place, preparing our young folks for good futures ahead and making good memories of their “good old golden rule days.”

D.J., Terrell, and Doug

Andrew Harden won the adult division in last year’s Fun Run, and in previous years as well.  He was in attendance but did not run this time for reasons of his own.  He did inform that Bud Hutchison’s Memorial Trail Ride will head up in Champion at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17th.  Saddle up for the ride or just come to see some beautiful animals and nice people.

As to nice people, it is good to hear from Jerry that Sally is coming home.  Almost everything a person hears from Jerry is nice unless he is talking about his cousin, The General.  Jerry does not talk about his motorcycle hoodlum brother-in-law at all, though there is probably much that could be said.  He was out on the porch at the Historic Emporium Wednesday pointing out into the Square saying that it was Jerry’s car that ran over Bud right out there, but Jerry was not driving.  Is more investigation warranted?

May Day conjures up images of fair maidens weaving in and out with ribbons dancing around the May pole.  Workers of the World United on May 1, 1886, brought us the eight-hour workday and other labor benefits.  In Ireland and Scotland, it is celebrated as Beltane, halfway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice.  Many superstitions or traditions are associated with Beltane. In Edinburgh, for example, if a young woman climbs a certain hill to wash her face in the morning dew there, she will be blessed with youthful beauty always.  Then we hear the cry, “May Day! May Day!” as a call of distress when the plane is going down in the movies.  May first is also the birthday of Skyline second grade student Holden Johnson and of retired Skyline teacher, Terri Ryan.  She enjoys retirement and being Selina’s grandmother.  Dovey Dooms has her birthday on the second of May.  Her sisters will likely celebrate with her.  One time Ava resident Brenda Lee now lives in Springfield also enjoys her birthday on the second.  Cinco de Mayo happens on Friday this year and is said to be celebrated here these days more than it is in Mexico.  Ole! The sixth is for Linda Heffern, a Champion up in Springfield.  She and her husband have just marked their 35th wedding anniversary.  The eighth is for kindergarten student, Dahlia Winter.  The ninth is for remembering Bonnie Brixey Mullens who always loved the Denlow School Reunion.  She and Pete never missed it.  We miss them.  The reunion is coming up on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend—always a pleasant event.

Champion Kenneth (Hovey) Hovey Henson emails to to say: “Wes Lambert can tell you a story about he and I tying a tin can to the tail of Ed Henson’s coon hound.  Making a lot of racket, goes running through the school yard, past the Champion school house, during Wednesday night prayer meeting, goes over the bluffs along Fox Creek and into Oscar Krider’s field.  Ed Henson was livid’ had to do some crafty lying to get out of that one.  Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.”  Then out on the porch at the Historic Emporium last Wednesday, Wes said it was he and Randy Henson who manufactured this mischief.  Both the doors of the school were open, and the dog ran all the way through the building during the prayer meeting.  The can got lost somewhere but the hound came back with the wire still on its tail which was swollen.  Wes said Ed was indeed mad.  Hovey did manage to get into trouble, though not for this prank.  He and one of those Proctor boys were described as rounders, along with various others, most likely Wes included.  There may be conflicting versions of this story.  The Prominent Champion remarked that animal rights groups would be up in arms over such a prank.  We can use our imaginations and not worry about it.  Overall, we figure worry is the misuse of imagination and it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!


Indigo Buntings

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

CHAMPION—April 24, 2023


The Champion Store

On Earth Day, April 22nd, Texas Champion Becky Heston shared, “If you want evidence that the world is a terrible place, watch the news and surf the web. But if you want to remember how incredible this planet is, go out into nature. Unlike social media and the news, nature has no incentive to keep us agitate, angry, and anxious.” We feel blessed to have smart friends and doubly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world. Sunday and Monday mornings were frosty in the low spots. The weather seems most unsettled.

Young family folks from big cities marvel at spring happening in the country. “It’s so quiet” they say, “except for the birds! How can such a little thing make such a big sound?” While marveling they lent their hands to some of the hard work that gardening requires this time of the year. Joe tilled and raked rocks and tilled again. Corinne planted beets and radishes and made a significant improvement to the Sometimes Porch Band on Wednesday, the first time they have played outside this year. She is a classically trained musician playing the big fiddle called the viola, steeped in Eastern European music, but most interested in learning the kind of stuff played around here. Before she left, she had “Ashokan Farewell” mastered. Butch Stone happened by and requested “The Eighth of January” and “Faded Love” among others. She made a list and plans to be back on the porch sometime soon.

Soon we will find out from Andrew Harden when the spring trial ride in memory of Bud Hutchison will happen. Skyline seventh grade student Juniper Wiley knows Kaleb Harden and figures she can find out from him when it will occur. She rides her horse to the Champion Store. Her birthday is coming up on the 28th. This is her first year at Skyline and she loves it. There is a lot to love about Skyline. The Tigers just had their ‘field day’ on Friday. Also, on that day the Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First grade had a good time at Rutledge Wilson Farm. The annual ‘fun run’ sponsored by the Krispy Kreme folks will happen at the end of the month. Graduation is on the horizon and summer soon to follow–all a testament to the swift passage of time.

While pausing in the middle of the road to photograph some beautiful chickens, an Old Champion happened to meet a pleasant young man by the name of Eric. He is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska and his wife is a native of Houston, Texas. They are Juniper’s friends, staying in Downtown Champion, hoping to locate permanently in the area with their two month old baby. He is operating a business Called Property Beautification Services. (417-259-1672) He does roof and gutter cleaning, power-washing, yard and garden work, and builds garden beds, trellises, and planters. It is encouraging to have young, hardworking people interested in becoming Champions. There are any number of old folks who can use the help.

Good news came from Jerry Wagner that his sister Sally is getting stronger. It will be good to see her back at the jam one of these days. Sherry Bennet has a whole CD full of ‘possum’ songs. There is another to add to the list, a favorite of the Prominent Champion, “The Possum Creeps Tonight.” It turns out that there are also several songs about pigs. One was just a poem shared by fellow Veteran, Mr. Chaffey, to The General, who summarily set it to music and then proceeded to introduce it with a flourish at the Vanzant Jam, much to the delight of the Shumate sisters and others who had already been giggling over the antics of David Richardson. Another pig-specific song was requested, but the hour was late, and we missed it. Chances are good the whole community will eventually be subjected to it. We can wait in Champion—Looking on the Bright Side!

Champion Goldfinches

Blue Grosbeak
Rose-breasted Grosbeak