We buy local. From whiskey to insurance, we believe that almost everything we need is sold by someone nearby. From our neighbors and our friends we build connections and relationships that no discount from Walmart could ever equate. There are many sensical economic reasons for buying local, but none of them will matter as much as the friendships that could form. Buy into the people, and great things will happen, like World Championships.
Liz Wood has been entering the Cow Chip throw since she was 17. She was young for her class, so she was young for the throw. It didn’t matter, she won, by 25 feet, close to 25%, days before she headed off to University. She entered again, coming back home, when so many of our young people are off elsewhere, she won again. Liz has had a lot of success in our, fairly odd, town tradition. 6 out of the last 8 titles have been hers, with a second, and a broken chip mixed in.
Of course, there is more, she moved back after some college, holding down a favorite section at Eagle Inn. Specifically, my uncle, Jim Kelter’s, favorite section. Most days, he would visit, for eggs and conversation. Too often I would beg off his invitations, or was too busy with my self created stuff, so I’m not sure how often, but I’d imagine a lot of the time, Liz was that conversation. He isn’t around anymore, so maybe by inviting Liz around, I’m hoping she’ll drag his ghost with her, to my shop, which I hope he would have really loved.
When Jim’s son, Danny, moved to town, he started sitting in that section, maybe to connect, maybe because Liz is great. And a plan started to hatch. Famously, our bowling team is unsponsored. We are “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Gutter”, despite generous sponsorship interest, (Neither John Joseph Coffee or Wollersheim Distillery wants our good corporate names associated with such gutter dusting), we have decided to remain independent. Bowling is great, we are bad, but we know it, so it’s ok. But why are all these “Athletes” sponsored, when the greatest Chip chucker of the generation, is not. So it started with the idea of having her wear our t-shirt. Then we read the rules, and realized she could be on our corporate team. Then we thought she could give us some tips. Then some lessons. And we thought it would be funny to film it. With a wig.
So our sponsorship, became a spokesperson-ship. And it was really fun. Except I threw out of bounds. It was funny, because we tried to have Liz act really angry at me, for costing our team the championship, but it never worked. Liz was just too kind to seem believably angry.
The next day, Liz won again. It wasn’t very close. Any added pressure we put on her, not that we tried, didn’t matter. 6 out of 8. Champ.
When I was growing up, there was a different Champ, Kay Hankins. She was a legend. I was a Sauk Prairie transplant, and I knew who she was. She won here 8 times, but even more amazing, she went on, a lot. 10 times she won, in Beaver, Oklahoma, the Cow Chip capital of the World, for the International competition. World Champ. I’m told there is even a funny story about Sauk Prairie collecting Wheaties boxes, because if you collect enough, you can request to put someone on a future box. To put Kay Hankins on a Wheaties box. She was responsible for a whole generation of Sauk Prairie kids eating their Wheaties. Her and Michael Jordan, to be sure.
When we were goofing around with our training video, the idea to send Liz to the Worlds came up. If she won, if she wanted to, and maybe, if we could raise some money to do it. So we launched a Kickstarter campaign, to send her on. We created some cool t-shirts and planned another run of Rocket Chip coffee, and will pass those on to our sponsors. Basically, we are selling t-shirts and coffee on Kickstarter. And as of today, we hit our goal, 500$. Liz, if everything goes according to plan, is going to Worlds. The fund raising campaign will go on for another month or so, with Liz deciding, that all of the extra funds will go to the Sauk Prairie Food Pantry.
The rewards are being produced at minimal cost by us and our JJC Marketing team (Dan Kelter is designing, and Jim Brennan is printing). The vast majority of funds raised will be proceeds and go to Liz for her journey, or to support local people doing great things at the Food Pantry.
We really like doing fun stuff at JJC (there were 8 pinball breaks in the writing of this novella), and when we can spread that fun around, to great local people, it makes it even better. Buy Local. Buy into people. Maybe buy a T-Shirt and some Rocket Chip.