Gowrie proves it’s a great place to be independent

GOWRIE – Of the many things needed for a truly great Independence Day celebration, at least one person must dress up as Uncle Sam – whether waving from a float, walking the parade or simply watching.

Check.

Charlie Eastman, of Paso Robles, Calif., watched the Independence Day parade along Market Street in full red, white and blue regalia.

“I want to see if anybody would recognize me,” Eastman said.

The costume proved to be camouflage. His fellow Gowrie Class of 1967 alumni, Doris Stanek, of Gowrie, walked right by.

“I didn’t recognize him,” Stanek said.

His costume, though, didn’t surprise her.

“He was a joker in high school,” she said.

Amanda Tasler, of Paton, got a bit of a prank played on her as well. She was riding on the Olson Plumbing and Heating float where there were “seats” for her and her two daughters, Ella and Ruby Tasler, 5 and 3, to ride on.

“The boys at the shop came up with it,” Amana Tasler said. “It was supposed to be hay. I showed up and they’d screwed toilets to it.”

There were a total of five of them and they decided to stick with tossing candy. Next year, individually wrapped rolls of toilet paper might go flying instead.

While most riders on the parade floats get to sit and wave, toss candy or just try not to fall off, the members of the Webster County Pork Producers had to multitask: They walked and grilled.

Duane Stanek, of Gowrie, was among those tending to dozens of pork patties as the wheeled trailer grill made its way along.

“It’s a little difficult,” Stanek said. “You have to watch the tires.”

While Stanek worked to keep his feet from being run over, further along the parade route Dan Hanson, of Callender, was watching for potential targets for a well-aimed stream of water.

Hanson lurked with friends in a pickup truck parked the day before to assure a good spot to play water sniper. His weapon was an old-fashioned air pressure-powered fire extinguisher that holds several gallons of what he called “clean drinking water.”

“We tried Super Soakers and water balloons,” he said. “These work the best.”

He added, “They have to squirt first. Unless we know them.”

Most of those who spray Hanson, and who in turn get sprayed back, are area firefighters. While they usually have a truck full of water, Hanson is limited to what’s in his one extinguisher.

“We ration it as we go,” he said. “There are no reloads.”

After the parade, many residents and alumni visited the Southeast Valley High School which was, until the end of past school year when a whole-grade sharing agreement with Southeast Webster Grand went into effect, Prairie Valley High School.

That means that just about everything red and black with PV on it has to be replaced.

Gary Welter, vice president of the school board, was helping with a clearance sale that included sports uniforms, golf bags, pencils, a few band uniforms and sideline chairs.

“The chairs went quickly,” Welter said.

Proceeds from the sale will go back into the activity fund to replace what was sold.

“We have to buy all new stuff,” he said.

Siece Pearson, of Coalville, will be a senior at the school this fall. She found a treasure.

“I got my junior high volleyball picture,” she said.

She also purchased a uniform shirt. It’s going into a senior quilt she’s making.

While almost all of the items at the sale were bargains, for the really stingy, the tradition of a “free box” contained boards from the old gym floor, each with a long and narrow section of the Prairie Valley logo on it.

Other events during the daylong holiday celebration included a car show, the Gowrie Fire Department water fights, a carnival and craft show in the city park, a 5K run/walk, golf tournament and fireworks in the evening.

In addition, guests could spend part of their afternoon waiting for an independent cow to select a spot to drop a pattie during the cow pie bingo.