Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Amateur Radio Operators

We talk to the world.

Kenwood TS-50 Radio

CARA recently inherited an old Kenwood TS-50 Ham Radio.

Communication modes with amateur radio are numerous. Some still use the International Morse Code, while others prefer voice communication or a digital mode. Using the satellites that are in our skies today, they can bounce radio waves off them, or even off the moon or meteors, to send messages around the world.

   Longtime members of Cambridge Amateur Radio Association, Sonny and Lyn Alfman are quite active in the group and helpful in explaining the joys of amateur operators, called “hams”. Sonny said that word was derived from Old English in London, where their speech made ‘amateur’ sounds like ‘hamateur’. Now you easily see the connection.

HAM Passing Messages via Amateur Radio

“Ham” operators Bruce Homer, Larry Dukes, and Alan Day pass messages.

   These hams have to pass an amateur radio exam in order to obtain a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license. They are only called amateurs because they do not get paid for their services.

   The Cambridge Amateur Radio Association (CARA) is the latest name for a group that was formed in Cambridge way back in 1913. They were the 18th Amateur Radio group formed in the United States. Today there are 5,600 groups.

_Ham Caleb Barton with Everlyn Barton

Evelyn Barton practices her communication skills while Caleb Barton listens and learns.

   This area group has approximately fifty members, meets every month and often takes a field trip to a science museum. But you can be certain they enjoy their radios every day. Ages of operators vary from 10 to 82 and each one of them has their own unique call sign.

   Special Radio Sports encourage competition through challenging contests on the local, state, national and even international levels. Sonny likes being challenged. “If it isn’t hard, it isn’t fun.” Perhaps that ‘s one reason he’s talked to every country in the world at least once. This includes talks with King Hussein of Jordan and Barry Goldwater.

CARA 2

During a contest, Larry Dukes talks to another ham as Nathan Roe lists info on the laptop.

   It’s possible to talk to other amateurs locally, nationally, internationally, and even out of this world via the International Space Station. Actually, ham radio is the official hobby of NASA’s space station where they frequently talk to students as they pass over them.

   It’s said that the ham operators wear a two-sided hat – one side for emergencies and the other for fun.

Ham CARA Alan Day snowstorm (1)

CARA member, Alan Day, assisted on the Muskingum River during the 1978 blizzard.

   One service of CARA is to provide auxiliary communications to agencies during disasters such as floods, windstorms and hurricanes. They work closely with the Guernsey County Emergency Management Association, but special training is required to work with EMA. During that terrible blizzard of 1978, they made communication possible for the Ohio National Guard in this area.

CARA

At a Field Day in Byesville’s Jackson Park, Evelyn Barton talks to another amateur while Jake Johnson listens in.

   Ever wonder how events stay so well organized? Well, these amateur radio operators enjoy being behind the scenes for bicycle events, marathons and parades – especially the Cambridge Christmas Parade since 1979. Now that’s commitment. They align the parade entries and send them out in the correct order of appearance. That’s no easy task.

   These local hams enjoy setting up portable stations at local events so people can better understand how it operates. Recently, they displayed at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, National Road / Zane Grey Museum, and John & Annie Glenn Historic Site. Just last month their members operated from the three crash sites of the USS Shenandoah in Noble County.

   When Christmas season arrives, their club has an on-air net on Christmas Eve. Children, who are visiting a member, can talk to Santa on the radio!

Ham Century of Radio

The group worked together to write a book, “A Century of Radio”.

   Ham members created a book, “A Century of Radio”. The book was organized by Evelyn Barton and tells the history of the club, which celebrates 105 years this December.

Ham Waller McMunn Museum

Standing outside the future Waller-McMunn Museum are Sonny Alfman, Larry Dukes, Dave Adair, and young helpers on each end.

  A current project involves the building which was used by Roy Waller and his brother-in-law, J. Homer McMunn, as an amateur radio station. Then in 1923, this same building was used as WEBE, the first commercial broadcast radio station in Cambridge. Plans are to restore this building and turn it into the Waller-McMunn Museum.

   Contact is maintained on a monthly basis through the CARA Communicator, a quarterly newsletter created by Lyn. Members participate in numerous events to practice their emergency communication skills. Training classes are held and the local group administers the federal test so new trainees can receive their FCC license.

Sonny and Lyn

Special thanks to Sonny and Lyn for answering all my questions and teaching me about CARA.

   When electric power fails, ham radio becomes even more important as it’s the only foolproof radio in the world. If you would like to become a ham operator, please contact Lyn Alfman at 740-872-3888 or lynalfman@aol.com.

   Ham radio has something for everyone to enjoy! Sonny says, “Amateur Radio is America’s best-kept secret.” It’s the perfect way to leave home while sitting in your favorite chair.

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Howard w Baskets

This showroom contains baskets that Howard weaves from the willows.

Willow Baskets and Pottery. Those are the two main features at the Rosehill Farm in Roseville where Howard Peller and Maddy Fraioli ignite their creative flames.

   Howard enjoys working with things of nature. “I value homemade objects created from materials that are closely related to the natural environment from which they are grown.” That’s the main reason he surrounds himself with a willow grove on his farm in Roseville.

Howard Garden

Even the garden has naturally grown willow fences and a beautiful willow archway.

    His goal is to use the willows he grows to make useful and practical products that people can use every day. You’ll be surprised at the things that can be woven from the willow reeds.

   From his willow grove, he wants visitors to see the connection between the willow farmer and the artisan who creates finely crafted baskets as well as live willow structures. He appreciates the value of simple hard work.


Howard Bees

Beehives are important for pollination of his orchard and gardens.

   Howard is no stranger to the creative process as has designed artisan made tabletops, home decor, and personal accessory products.  He co-founded a national ceramic tableware company Fioriware Pottery with his partner, Maddy Fraioli. As Longaberger VP, he founded their Design Center to develop new concepts in weaving.

Howard Beaver Dam

Take a walk around the farm and discover a beaver dam that Howard dug himself.

   During his time in Europe, Howard studied with master weavers and learned how to weave with willows. In Lichtenfels, Germany, he attended a basket school where he developed an appreciation of the natural properties of the traditional willow basket.

   He spent time in Haiti and Jamaica where he could easily walk out of the village and gather bamboo. Eventually, he put all these ideas together and came up with his own techniques.

Howard Willow Workshop

It appears everyone is welcome at Howard’s office door.

 On his 140-acre farm, he has a willow grove of 5000 willow plants in 100 different varieties. He enjoys watching them develop with their beautiful colors, texture, tensile strength, smell and their magical property of intensive growth.

   The amazing willow plant has qualities you wouldn’t expect. It’s a medical source for salicin, which was used before aspirin. Therefore, the bark of the willow can be used to make tea, which is good for headaches, fevers, arthritis, and even a great mouthwash.

Howard Drying Willows

Willow rods are stored in a cooling unit where they can be used for living landscapes.

   Each year the plants are cut at the proper season near their base so they can regenerate. Then the willow reeds are dried for two years downstairs in the barn. Bundles of willows are sent around the world for baskets and furniture. The sturdy willow was even used for building ancient boats.

Howard Willow Fence

Willow rods can be used as a natural living fence or divider.

   Home gardeners will find many uses for the willow reed. This living plant can be erected for backdrops, walkthroughs, around gazebos and even made into furniture. One interesting quality is that it can be trimmed, morphed and enjoyed for multiple seasons.

Howard Shelter 2

Workshops are held in this shelter on the hill.

   Howard gives workshops at the farm or they can be arranged for your organization so you can learn to put these ideas to practical use at your home or business.

Howard Willow Dome

Willow domes have been included in living playscapes that he has created.

  The possibilities for their use seem endless. Howard creates beautiful baskets, handbags, bird feeders, and even room dividers. He has also created natural playgrounds using the willow for tunnels, domes, and walkways.

Howard Tag

Their willow baskets all carry the Willow Farmer Basket Maker tag.

   Styles of the baskets alone are amazing and too numerous to list them all. Some that caught my eye were: large shoulder bags, bread baskets, deep bowl baskets and fruit baskets.

Howard Showroom

Howard and Maddy have many creative outlets.

   His basketmaking creates a relationship between the field crop and the hands of the maker, who transforms the willow reeds into products to be used in the home or to collect and transport objects. Or they might just be used to create beauty and happiness in everyday life.

   Rosehill Farm takes you back to a time when everything was natural. Stroll down their trails to see the beauty of the willows, their gardens and flowers, and enjoy being in touch with nature.

   They will be having an Open House this fall where you can enjoy all this beauty. Check out their website at www.basketfarmer.com for further information.

Howard Maddy

His wife, Maddy, makes beautiful pottery on their farm near Roseville.

   Howard and Maddy bring new possibilities into people’s lives with their willow and pottery creations as they honor the Appalachian history of the region.

The Basket Farmer can be found at 7680 Rose Hill Road, Roseville, Ohio, From I-77, take exit 141. Then there are several turns, so hopefully you have a GPS system to guide you over the back roads to the willow farm. It’s worth the country drive.

Jim Honor Guard 5The bugle sounds as Commander Jim Gibson leads the Honor Guard standing at attention across from the courthouse. They are honoring the veterans of all wars as they give a three-gun rifle salute and Jim plays “Taps”.

   Jim has been watching parades in downtown Cambridge since he was six years old when he went to a Veterans Day Parade with his dad, a Navy veteran. In fifth grade, he began playing the trumpet, an instrument always used during the parade ceremonies. The Navy and trumpet together have played a large role in Jim’s present-day life.

Jim Playing Bugle

Jim’s bugle sounds “Taps” in honor of all Veterans.

   When the National Anthem would play while Jim watched as a youngster, the veterans would all stand and render a salute or place their hand over their heart. Some had tears in their eyes. They all had the same look even though they were different ages and different branches of the service, but Jim didn’t understand why.

   Brought up in a family interested in history, their vacations were to historic spots with stops for fun along the way. They visited places like Gettysburg, Washington D.C. and Williamsburg. Jim developed a love for his country and when he was a senior turned down an opportunity to attend Ohio State to join the Navy. He felt he had to enlist.

Jim Gibson Armed Forces Day 2014

Jim wears his Navy uniform for Armed Services Day.

   A veteran of the United States Navy, Jim served in Vietnam. After electronics training as an Aviation Ordnanceman, Jim served two years with VA42 at Oceana Naval Air Station and then was transferred to VA196 at Whidbey Island, Washington.

Jim Gibson On board USS Enterprise July 1971

USS Enterprise served as Jim’s home for several months in 1971.

   The squadron deployed aboard the Enterprise and sailed to Vietnam. One of the assignments was to prevent the enemy from bringing in needed supplies to South Viet Nam. This was not an easy task as they worked eighteen hours a day loading 500# bombs and other ordnance by hand. One plane could carry 28 bombs, and the squadron launched four aircraft every one and one-half hours.

   Jim wouldn’t change any part of his life. His experiences have led him to do the things he does today. His time now appears to be spent in three different directions: veterans, church, and music.

Jim Gibson Veterans Day Program North Elementary 2015

He frequently presents programs to area schools – here at North Elementary.

   He has been a member of the Veterans Council since 2002 and is a life member of Cambridge VFW Post 2901. Jim serves as commander of the Guernsey County Veterans Council. In addition to the primary purpose of providing Military Funeral Honors for Veterans of Guernsey County, they do programs for schools, communities and organizations throughout the area.

   Through his leadership, two ceremonies occur at home football games in Cambridge. Before the game, there’s always a special flag raising. After the game, a Retreat Ceremony features the senior band members with a trumpet playing “Retreat”. Schools all around take notice of this memorable addition to the game ceremony.

Jim Honor Guard

The honor guard stood at attention during the Memorial Day service at Cambridge Courthouse.

   A special part of his life, now that he is retired from GTE/Verizon, comes through providing Funeral Honors for departed veterans. This began in December 2002, when he was asked to play “Taps” for a military funeral. The day was one of sleet and freezing rain, and Jim began to wonder what he had gotten himself into.

   Then he looked at the veterans of all ages in attendance. They stood at attention with ice forming on their sleeves and rifles, but still had that special look in their eyes. Jim knew then, this was something he wanted to participate in. Now he goes to approximately 100 military funerals a year all over the area.

   Christ United Methodist Church plays an important part in his life. There he serves as trustee, teaches an adult Sunday School class, and plays trumpet in their Praise Band. He also conducts a worship service twice a month at Cardinal Place.

Cambridge H S Jazz Band

Jim directs the Cambridge High School Alumni Jazz Band at many area functions, including the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Everyone in the community recognizes Jim’s musical talent. Under his direction since 1996, the Cambridge High School Alumni Jazz Band performs annually at the Salt Fork Festival and many other venues.

Jim Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds

Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds performs several times a year in Muskingum University’s Brown Chapel.

   While Jim and his wife, Trudy, have played in many area bands and orchestras, their favorite right now is the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds.

Jim Symphonic Winds

Jim plays trumpet in the Muskingum Valley Symphonic Winds.

   The Navy has become a family tradition as Jim’s son and daughter-in-law are currently serving, and his two step-sons have served in the Navy. Their grandfathers were also Navy veterans. What a grand tradition!

   This veteran’s advice would be, “Find enjoyment in what you are doing. Cherish every experience.” He encourages young people to enjoy music, something they can enjoy the rest of their life.

   By serving in the Navy, now Jim understands that special look in the eyes of the veterans. “It’s a look of pride and a look of love; pride in knowing that by serving they’ve made a difference, and a look of love for their Country and their fellow man.”

   Please remember to honor the veterans you know for their service to our country to protect our freedoms. Thanks to all of our servicemen.

Coopermill Hoppy and Alan

Alan Cottrill designed the bronze Hopalong Cassidy statue that stands at the Senior Center in Cambridge.

Seeing is believing. A trip to Coopermill Bronze Works explained more clearly how one of Alan Cottrill’s bronze statues becomes a reality. It’s not an easy task!

DSC01903

Adam’s lifelong friend, Charles Leasure, is his partner at the Coopermill Bronze Works.

    The Bronze Works is located on the farm of Charles Leasure, a life-long friend of Alan, and there’s even a statue in Charlie’s field…a mushroom hunter, in bronze of course. This farm has been in his family for eight generations.

Bronze Mushroom Hunter   Charlie and Alan created Bronze Works back in 1996. Alan needed a handy place to complete his bronze creations so made his own bronze casting foundry. So far they have cast well over 500 of Alan’s statues and hundreds of other sculptor’s works.

Coopermill Bronze Works 2

Coopermill Bronze Works can be found high on a hill along a country road in Zanesville.

   You can tell Alan is a down-to-earth kind of guy in spite of his fantastic talent to sculpt just about anything. His Bronze Works is not a big, fancy building, but one that can do the job required.

   While Alan does the preliminary work of designing the perfect wax statue in the downtown Zanesville studio, the final touches are placed here at Bronze Works by highly skilled Ohio artisans.

Coopermill Gear Shift Knobs

These gear shift knobs were made as gifts for Vietnam veterans.

   You have to understand that the statue is not bronzed as a whole. It is separated into many, many pieces, which are individually prepared before the final assembly happens.

   The whole thing is quite complicated so if my explanation isn’t quite perfect, please excuse me.

Coopermill Josh Leasure details

Josh Leasure uses his magical tools to make certain every detail is perfect.

   Bronze Works is where every fingerprint is erased and every line made crystal clear. Each detail makes a difference in the final product. Some parts are definitely easier than others. The men found it much easier to do a five-foot pant leg rather than a five-inch head.

Coopermill Dana Erichson

Dana Erichsen holds the base for the beginning of a crane family of eight for the Cranes.

   It has to be perfect in its wax state, otherwise, when it is made into a mold, the bronze statue would carry any flaws, no matter how small. When asked how they correct tiny mistakes, Dana answered with a big smile, “I fix it with magic. My magic wand does the work.”

Coopermill Batter Dip

Each waxed part is dipped several times into a ceramic slurry.

   All those smaller pieces are then dipped in what looks like a batter and rolled in fine sand. The workers commented that it was somewhat like dipping a fish in batter and then rolling it in flour.

   They do this dipping several times until dip by dip, a thick ceramic mold is formed all around the wax piece. When this dries, they melt the wax inside and remove it, leaving an empty shell to fill with, you guessed it, bronze. The wax though can be used again and again.

Coopermill Bronze

Bronze ingots are melted at temperatures of 1900-2000 degrees F.

   They receive the bronze in large sticks, which are then melted and poured into the shell. The bronze should then fit down into the perfect lines that were earlier created on the wax figure.

Coopermill Woody Hayes parts

All the parts of the Woody Hayes statue hang waiting for the next steps.

   My purpose in going this particular day was to see the progress that was being made on the statue of Woody Hayes, Ohio State University football coach for many years. The Newcomerstown Historical Society has funded this project since Woody grew up in Newcomerstown while his dad was Superintendent of Schools there. Woody also coached in Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia before going to OSU.

Coopermill Woody Hayes Head

The wax head of Woody Hayes is ready to be detailed.

   During this visit, the head of Woody Hayes was hanging in the room, ready to be examined for any tiny imperfections. Then it would be dipped in the solution to make the mold on the outside.

Coopermill Swan and Wax removed

After the bronze has set, the ceramic mold is knocked off to reveal the perfect creation.

   After the mold is filled with bronze, it sets for a while before the cast is knocked off to reveal the actual piece that will be used in the statue. This is the end of a very long process. But now there will be a head, pieces of arms, legs, and body – all will be in bronze.

Coopermill Bronze Pieces to be Welded

All of these bronzed parts will be assembled into the donkey seen below.

   Now comes the assembly. It’s like putting a big puzzle together! Each piece is carefully attached to the place where it belongs with bronze welding rods. The weld has to be sandblasted so the connection is no longer visible.

Coopermill Bronze donkey 2

This bronze donkey was having its recently attached parts smoothed.

   Even then, it’s not finished as there has to be a solution applied to the bronze to make it the correct shade required for that particular statue. Now you can see why it takes months to create a bronze statue from beginning to end.

Bronze Woody Hayes

New bronze status of Woody Hayes at Newcomerstown’s Olde Main Street Museum with Vane Scott, museum director.

   Alan Cottrill has designed statues all over the United States and the world. We’re lucky to have one in Cambridge of Hopalong Cassidy, and now one in Newcomerstown of Woody Hayes.

   Watching the artisans at Coopermill Bronze Works felt quite magical.

Hillcrest applesSurely the apple is the noblest of fruits.

~Henry David Thoreau~

Apple cider becomes a favorite drink during autumn, and apples are ranked number one in the top ten healthiest foods. So harvest time felt perfect for a trip to Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek to get fresh apples and cider. Rain or shine, this is a bustling place in the fall.

Hillcrest front

   With over 20,000 bushels of apples this year, they have over twenty varieties from which to choose. Two customer favorites are Golden Delicious and Honey Crisp, my personal choice. Their newest variety is now available – Evercrisp, a combination of Honey Crisp and Fuji.

   Hillcrest Orchard has been in the family since 1968. Today Merle and Lela Hershberger own and operate the orchard with help from their children. Their grandfather, Jacob Hershberger, still helps out as often as possible.

Hillcrest view from overlook

An overview features their orchard and beautiful Mud Valley.

   With over 75 acres of apple trees and 5 acres of peach trees, the Hershberger family works all year round. When the new year begins in January, it’s time to trim trees and remove a block of old trees.

   Then in April, it’s planting time each year for approximately 4,000 dwarf trees – most of them being apple. Luckily, they have a tree transplanter, which is pulled behind a tractor. They can sit on the transplanter and drop in the new trees three feet apart. With this method, they can plant over 1,500 trees in one day.

   There’s always work to be done. After planting trees, the trunks are hand wrapped with wire to keep them straight. Trellises, holding two wires that go through the trees, keep the branches from hanging to the ground. During the summer months, the apples need to be thinned on each tree. An apple tree cannot be too full of apples for best production.

Hillcrest Apple sorter

Matt Hershberger often runs the apple sorter.

   In the fall when picking begins, some extra help is needed from young people in the community. All the apples are hand-picked from ladders. That is one of the reasons they switched to dwarf apple trees so they could more easily be reached.

Hillcrest Cidermill

Mark Hershberger and his son, Adam, explain the cider press.

   Fresh pressed apple cider is made at their business operation every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During October they make 4,000 gallons each week. One Friday/Saturday last year they sold 2,250 gallons.

Hillcrest Sample

A free sample of fresh apple cider tasted refreshing.

   Their cider is unpasteurized so it’s placed immediately in a cooling tank. That also means that it’s only good for about two weeks. Be sure to get a free sample while visiting.

Hillcrest Vinegar

There are many uses for apple cider vinegar.

   Whatever cider isn’t sold is placed into wooden barrels for one year. There it becomes apple cider vinegar, which is also available at their store.

Hillcrest Apple butter

Their fresh apple butter was a popular item.

   However, apples and their products aren’t the only things on hand. Hillcrest Orchard’s the perfect place to find organic fruits and vegetables while in season. Their products look picture perfect. You can also buy pumpkins, mums, baled hay or straw. You’ll be surprised at all the treats available.

Hillcrest Kettle Corn

In the parking lot, Hostetler Kettle Corn provides an extra treat.

   Outside during the fall months, you’ll enjoy the flavor of Hostetler Kettle Corn. Freshly popped in the lot, the smell draws you to their tent. Pick up a bag to munch on while driving home through beautiful Amish country.

   The children and grandchildren feel part of the business as they have grown up in the orchard and store. Hopefully, those youngsters will someday continue providing apples and peaches for all to enjoy.

Hillcrest Welcome

Bags of fresh apples greet you – The First Taste of Fall.

   Merle’s son, Mark, lists pressing cider and picking apples as his favorite chores. When asked what he’d like to do in the future, his answer, “Plant more trees.” What do these hard-working young men like to do for fun? Deer hunt! There’s evidence of that around their store with several deer head mounts.

Hillcrest Cider Sign   Hillcrest Orchard is open from July through April. It has even become a requested stop for tour buses. Many people make an annual visit there in the fall and some stop by often to pick up fresh produce. One man said he took the cider home and froze it in small containers so he could have fresh tasting cider for months to come.

Hillcrest Check out

Area young people help out during their busiest season – September and October.

   Stop by the orchard and pick up some apples straight from the tree. Apples can be enjoyed in so many different ways: apple pie, applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, dipped in caramel, or just take a bite of a fresh, juicy one. However you decide to use the apples, they will taste delicious.

   Remember, apples are also healthy, so that old adage of ‘an apple a day’ is a good rule to follow. Stop at Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek on your next trip to Amish Country and experience the fresh taste of fall.

Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek can be reached off I-77 at Exit 83. Go left on OH 39W until you reach 515. Turn right at the light, then go straight back about a half mile to the Orchard on the right. 

The place where Bluegrass happens!

Opera House

The Pennyroyal Opera House is along Old National Road in Fairview.

Along Old National Road in the town of Fairview, Pennyroyal Opera House provides a family-friendly evening of entertaining bluegrass music over the years from October through May. Their season is about to begin!

Country Gentleman Band

Country Gentlemen Tribute Band – October 5

   Their first show on October 5 features The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band with an awesome bluegrass sound.

Kevin Prater Band

Kevin Prater Band – October 12

Remington Ryde 1

Remington Ryde – October 19

   Following weeks will feature such greats as The Kevin Prater Band with strong vocal harmonies and a crowd-pleaser Remington Ryde.

Pennyroyal Opera House painting

Cathy Gadd, a long-time organizer, painted this picture of Pennyroyal Opera House.

   The historic building originally was home to the Methodist Church in the 1830s, then used as a Grange Hall. In 1910, it was purchased by the Pennyroyal Reunion Association. Since 1995, Pennyroyal Opera House is the place where Bluegrass happens.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

This old postcard shows the Pennyroyal Distillery where medicinal oils were made.

   The name Pennyroyal came about from a Pennyroyal Distillery that was located in Fairview in the early 1800s. There seemed to be an abundance in the Fairview area of the wild herb, pennyroyal, a member of the mint family. Pennyroyal herb oil was valued for its medicinal purposes.

Betty and Harold

Betty Eddy planted the seed for bluegrass at Fairview with Harold Dailey.

   A chance encounter at 1st National Bank in Barnesville changed events in Fairview. Harold Dailey began working at the hospital there and one day, Betty Eddy, an employee of the bank, asked Harold if he had an idea for making some money for the Pennyroyal Reunion Association.

Stage

The stage is ready for the season to begin.

   Since Harold played and enjoyed bluegrass, he suggested having a bluegrass show. In 1995, Harold, with some local help, organized the first bluegrass show at the Pennyroyal Opera House. In the beginning, their plan was to feature local bluegrass groups so they could have a place to showcase their talents.

Opera House crowd

Each concert draws a full house of people who love bluegrass.

   From that humble beginning, the show blossomed into a nationally known place to hear and perform bluegrass. Today there is never a problem getting excellent bluegrass bands from all over the United States and Canada to stop by for an evening. They’ve even had bands call from England to request a time for performance.

Harold and Kenny by the stage

Harold and Kenny Keylor reminisce about bands that have played on that stage.

   While Harold started the show, Frank and Cathy Gadd have held the reins for many years recently. Since Harold’s retirement, he asked if he might become active again in organizing the bluegrass programs.

Almost Famous (2)

Harold plays electric acoustic bass in the bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Harold says, “I’m glad to be back as I love bluegrass, play bluegrass and love to promote it.” Harold plays electric acoustic bass in a bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Many from the Pennyroyal Reunion Association still help by providing the delicious home cooked food in the kitchen. Betty Eddy serves as treasurer and still bakes pies with favorites being custard, rhubarb, and peanut butter.

Lonesome River Band poster

The poster from the first professional band that played there still hangs backstage.

   This isn’t a large building or a large show, but it’s big on talent on Friday evenings. Since they’re right along Interstate 70, many big-name stars will stop for a pick-up-date on their way to their Saturday performance. It’s a great chance to meet some of your favorite bluegrass stars up close and personal.

photos on wall

Spend time before the show checking out the pictures on the walls.

   There are pictures on the wall of some of those popular names who have played there in the past. The first professional band that played there was The Lonesome River Band. Other pictures include such greats as Bobby Osborne, The Grascals, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent and Dave Evans.

   For those nights when you want to listen to some top-notch bluegrass and can’t make it out to the show, sit back and listen on the radio. Their shows are carried live at 101.1 FM in Wheeling and 101.9 FM in Cambridge.

   If you want to check out their full 2018 schedule, go to www.pennyroyalbluegrass.com. For booking information call Harold Dailey at 740-827-0957.

Inside with seats already reserved

People have already placed their blankets on seats to save them for the next show. It’s a tradition!

   Come early some Friday evening for some delicious food, then go upstairs and listen to some quality classic bluegrass, which puts soul into music.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview can easily be reached off I-70 between Old Washington and St. Clairsville. Take exit 198 and this popular Bluegrass Music house can be found on the north side of the road very near the exit.

Get Ready to Rope

Bev Hachita 001A short true adventure

Cowboys began roping as part of ranch work to brand or medicate their calves. It became a contest to see which cowboy could do it the quickest. Their goal was to throw a lasso around a calf’s head, jump off their horse, tie three of the calf’s legs together, and finish the trick as fast as possible. This led to roping contests at rodeos and fairs.

   Recently, a new type of roping sprang up. My first experience with this happened in a small town of about thirty people called Hachita, New Mexico. The only disturbance in this small town might be a dust devil coming down the street or a Border Patrol helicopter flying overhead.

   One week in 1996, they decided to try this new kind of roping…a chicken roping. Yes, chickens, with feathers flying and beaks crowing. One roper told those watching, “If it has legs, it can be roped.”

   Bev Chicken Roping 001   Now this kind of roping would not be done from a horse and would require a different kind of lasso. Just a heavy piece of string is used, so they don’t choke the chicken.

   Just like in the world of cattle, the chickens they roped all had names. The meaner the animal, the meaner its name. Names like Jalapeno Joe, Cholulu Chuy or Red Hot Flame were typical.

   A large crowd of over fifty people gathered to witness the chicken roping. The chicken would be let out of a box and the cowboy would be timed to see how fast he could rope it. The one who roped it the fastest won a Chicken Roping Belt Buckle with a turquoise stone found in the Little Hatchet Mountains nearby.

   Small towns often have fun in unusual ways. A mural of the Chicken Roping was painted by a traveling artist on the outside of the bar there. Inside on the wall were pictures of the winners. It soon became an annual event with even larger crowds.

   And afterward? What else, but a good old-fashioned chicken BBQ.

Hachita Liquor Saloon was no longer in operation on my last trip west. The paintings on the building were done by an old friend, C.M. Scott, a cowboy artist.

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