Trail riders line up for Wilma’s photograph.

The Merry Month of May enjoys five Wednesdays.  A recent one was particularly merry.  Twelve equestrians took out of Champion that morning on Bud Hutchison’s Spring Champion Trail Ride, but not before Wilma Hutchison had them lined up, photographed and interrogated as to who they were, where they were from and the names of their horses.  The riders were patient through the process and happy to have Wilma documenting the event as she has over many years.  It was a happy bunch that trotted up the hill to cross Clever Creek and then wander up Fox Creek Road.  They came ambling back in from the east in the early afternoon, glad for ice cream at the Historic Emporium and glad for a safe ride with no incidents.  Several of the riders had never been to Champion.  One of them, Larry Luna on Makers Mark from over at Gainesville, was heard to remark, “It’s kind of wooly down here.”  He was, at that moment, standing on the very wide, wild, wooly banks of Auld Fox Creek.  Those mysterious cowboys from Mountain Grove did not make the ride this time—not the good looking one or the one with the big hat.  They might show up yet.  Anyway, we will look forward to Wilma’s pictures when she gets them developed.  Look for pictures of Wilma taking pictures at

Master Sargent Robert Upshaw at the U.S. Airforce Memorial in Washington D.C.

Other marvelous May memories will come to Loretta Upshaw and her Dad, MSgt. R. Upshaw, who returned Wednesday from a trip to Washington, D.C. with the Honor Flight of the Ozarks.  A huge crowd greeted them and all the Veterans and their companions at the airport that evening.  Among the welcoming throng were 19 Upshaws.  The photographs Loretta posted on the internet let us share in the experience.  Our Veteran reported that it was awesome to see the military memorials and monuments that are dedicated to the men and women who served in the wartime years.  He spoke of the hardships they each faced during their time in the war zones and lamented that many did not ever get to see the results of their efforts.  He served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and said, “As I was never on the front lines I feel somewhat undeserving of having the distinction of getting to be a member of this year’s first Honor Flight of the Ozarks tour, especially since many of those to whom these memorials and monuments are dedicated are unable to go or are no longer with us.”  His friends and family think he is indeed deserving.  According to the guidelines, anyone serving during the campaign period of WWII, Korea, or Vietnam, is qualified to go, regardless of where they were stationed.  Also any Veteran of any other campaign after Vietnam who is terminally ill is qualified.  Go to for more information or call (417) 268-9052.  Memorial Day will give us a chance to salute all our Veterans.

Anyway, the Master Sargent has for some time now been known as The General of the Champion Navy.  He will be out mowing the grounds, getting ready for the Denlow School Reunion.  Denlow Wildcats baseball caps commemorating the 25th Denlow/Fairview Reunion were given out in 2011.  Last year there were buttons distributed that said, “Fairview/Denlow; More eduukashun than the 2nd kick of a mule!”  This year marks the 33rd reunion.  Who knows what excitement will materialize.  There will be another of those wonderful auctions.  Laverne Miller used to do the auctioneering and he did a brilliant job describing the beautiful Christmas ornaments that Jesse Mae made.  Pete Proctor was the auctioneer last year.  He had been on the Honor Flight to Washington earlier that year and had been very moved by the experience.  He saved the best for last with the final item up for bid a beautiful table made by Ray Hicks of Blue Grass, Iowa.  Joy Ann Coonts Firrell also lives in Blue Grass, Iowa.  She will be at the Reunion.  People will be coming from near and far for the fun of it, for the remembrance of days gone by, for the chance to see old friends and family again, for the fantastic pot-luck lunch and for the solemnity of celebrating Decoration Day and all that brings to mind.

The fourth Friday of every month finds Shirley Emerson of the Douglas County Health Department in downtown Champion doing blood pressure tests for people in the community.  She gets to the store and is set up by 8:30 in the morning and stays for a couple of hours enjoying the tranquility of one of the world’s truly beautiful places while she does her part to promote healthy living.  Last month she passed out some material about the ‘Douglas County Woman Exercise Challenge Summer 2019.’  There will be participation awards for those who complete four weeks of exercise–150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for any 4 weeks during May, June, or July.  She provides a log to fill in with the date, the type of exercise and the number of minutes.  Participation awards include a water bottle, a Zumba voucher, and day use passes for the MOCH Wellness Center.  All those completing the challenge will be entered into a prize drawing:  (three) $15.  Town and Country gift certificates, (one) crockpot, (one) MOCH Wellness Center 1 month membership, MOCH Wellness Center t-shirt, and (one) $25 Jean’s Heathway gift certificate.  Shirley says drop off exercise logs at Douglas County Health Department or MOCH Wellness Center by Thursday, August 8, 2019 to be eligible for prizes.  The Prize drawing will be on August 12, 2019.  Pick up a participation log from her Friday morning or stop in at the Douglas County Health Department.  One Old Champion woman plans to detail the type of exercise such as ‘Hanging laundry on a really high clothes line’ and ‘weeding the onions by hand.’  Georgianna Littilefield will write in ‘pushed a three wheeled lawn mower 14 miles.’  It is likely to be an interesting challenge.

Kristi Towe has a birthday on May 20th.  Lena Bell Wagner celebrates on the 26th and it may be that she shares the date with John Webber.  There is a question mark by his name in the Champion Birthday Book.  Anyway, the mystery will be solved on Thursday at the Vanzant Jam where they will both be serenaded by the whole crowd.  Ed Henson was born May 27, 1903.  Ray Hicks complained that there are not enough stories about Mr. Henson in The Champion News.  Brylee Clark was born May 28, 2010.  Jesse Mae Miller’s birthday is also the 28th.  She was 92 last year.  We do not know exactly how old Dale Thomas will be on the 28th.  We might have to ask Betty.  Young fiddler, Alex Moses of Austin, Texas, will celebrate her birthday on the 31st.  She is a Champion Granddaughter—Looking on the Bright Side!

Leaving Champion