The combination of perfect weather, a large crowd, sellout food stands, great entertainment, and enthusiastic teams made Saturday night’s 2007 Relay for Life a special night for all concerned. With funds still being turned in, the teams and supporters have thus far raised over $28,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The street around the Kahoka town square was line with nearly 650 luminaries purchased in honor or memory of friends and loved ones.
Chairman Joanne Ragan and her dedicated assembly crew worked all afternoon on Saturday to create a meaningful, candlelit setting and an emotion-charged atmosphere for those walking throughout the night. Ragan’s reading of the names of those honored caused a flood of murmurs and memories for those attending, and Jordan Ragar of Palmyra gave a powerful signing rendition of the "Lord’s Prayer".
The inimitable Travis Mathes again served as Master of Ceremonies, deftly making the transition from the serious to the comic — the educational to the entertaining — all the aspects required of Relay for Life that provided a crowd-pleasing evening until almost midnight.
An emotion-charged welcome, given by Kent and Marilyn Martin, demonstrated to the crowd how cancer can affect several generations of a family, and how modern research brings the hope for discovery, treatment and cure.
They and other survivors carried the banner for the traditional first lap around the square, and as they finished, the crowd lined the walkway to give them a "high five" of congratulations. Charlotte Fox and her Survivors’ committee signed up over 80 survivors, who received tee shirts and light refreshments as they arrived.
Cheryl Brammer and Debbie Dienst did a great job managing the walking trail, signing up at least 170 walkers. Nicole Adams, of the Smokebusters team and Stephanie Lowery of the C & R Market team, won the Pamida prizes with 100 laps and 60 laps respectively. The foot-sore winners were barely able to walk up to receive their prizes at the closing ceremony at 4:30 Sunday morning. Some of the participants were not members of a team, but came to enjoy the experience. Aaron Macomber had the most laps in that group, making the circuit 70 times.
Mission Education chairman, Debbie Whiston, presented Mission Moments throughout the evening, bringing vital cancer information to the crowd, and challenging them to join the fight against the terrible disease. She also outlined the 2015 goal to eliminate cancer as a major health threat.
Music, always a big part of the Relay experience, was provided by Abby Scott, Mike Scott, Jared McAfee, and Kevin Jerez, along with a concert by the band "Silver Streaks", who had people dancing in the grass to their popular music.
The theme baskets auction, organized by Dixie Blum and Bonnie Brewer, brought in over $800. The most popular item was the "Cardinal Cooler" that included prized tickets to a Cardinal game. Monte McAfee generously donated his time as auctioneer.
Relay Team Recruiter, Vicki Gutting presented the following team awards:
Most Money Raised – The McDaniels Family team with over $8750
Best Campsite — Kahoka State Bank;
Most Luminaries Sold — The McDaniels Family team.
Happy Camper Award –for the most energetic and enthusiastic individual team member went to Heidi Mathes of the Lifesavers team.
The C & R Market entry won the popular Lip Sync Competition, with their rendition of "Friends in Low Places", starring employees Seth Elder, Brandon Hall, Kevin Jerez, and Trudy Malone. Second place honors went to the McDaniel family team candidate, Corey Havens, who sang a medley of "Elvis" tunes. Third place went to the Smokebusters entry, Zack Nixon and Collin Summers, who performed "Hillbilly Deluxe".Four members of the Relay Committee again offered a zany lip sync challenge to the teams, with their rendition of "Sane and Normal Women" from the hit Broadway musical, "Menopause". The quartet of "women" included Travis Mathes, Joanne Ragan, Vicki Gutting, and Carla Derrick.
Colt Sommers, the Lifesavers candidate who entered under the alias "Selena", again won the "Queen of Relay" competition. The male candidate platfoms ranged from combating bias against facial hair to the need for a roadkill restaurant in Clark County.
A new feature of this year’s Relay was a game sponsored by the Lifesavers (Kahoka Medical Clinic) team. "American Idol" was so popular it will be continued in the years to come. Lisa Spicer, of C & R Market, won the Judges Award (with hilarious comments by the judges) and Kevin Jerez of C & R won the cash vote Peoples Choice award.
The ever-popular Junior Tuesday Club "Midnight Madness" scavenger hunt was held at the designated time with the usual frenzy to get back to "home base" first, and with those extra bonus points.
The Peaksville Christian Church held a raffle for a lovely quilt, and donated the proceeds to Relay. The Kahoka Lions again sold their now famous ice cream to help Relay, the Clark County High School FCCLA group pledged funds, and the Knights of Columbus held their annual gun raffle to benefit Relay. Many other groups also contributed funds.
At the end of the overnight event, pastor Shawn McAfee continued his traditional and meaningful closing to the night’s experience by presenting a devotional service that touched the hearts of those who so generously volunteered their time and talents to make Relay so successful.
More Clark County Relay For Life pictures can be seen at www.nemonews.net.