Redneck holiday unifies small town
Residents lined the sidewalks as others paraded the street in their finest flannels and camouflage.
Earlier there was a lawnmower obstacle course, later a pie-eating and spam-carving contests.
Welcome to Redneck in Ramona.
Jessica Gilbert, a coordinator of the event, said the point of the Independence Day celebration was not to fulfill, but to poke fun at a stereotype.
“We don’t want to glorify it, particularly. Some people don’t like that,” she said. “The bottom line is it’s funny, and people do the funniest, most creative things, so we always try to get some laughter. We all need reasons to laugh.”
Gilbert’s family started the event in 1998, and when she and her sister, Pat, moved to Ramona in 2000, they tried to improve upon what was in place.
“It used to be just fireworks, but Jess and Pat got here, they got involved with parades, they got everybody involved with… Everything,” said Don Matkins, who was volunteering, selling ice cream.
The celebration now includes a two-mile fun run and 10k run, country breakfast and concessions, basketball and volleyball tournaments, a medallion hunt, and a live band, in addition to other activities and prizes.
“Our goal has been to try to build pride in the community, and have other people come in,” Gilbert said. “We used to do more events in the year; now it’s pretty much this event, so we put all of our energy into it.”
Gilbert said organizers try each year to improve some area of the event. This year they added a youth council, to help with entries, sell drinks and raffle tickets.
“It’s great to get to see them get the experience of leadership in a town, so I’m very pleased with that,” she said.
Because Ramona has only three businesses, businesses from surrounding communities like Marion, Hillsboro, Herington, Hope, and Tampa help with sponsorship.
“Many of the businesses, people quit when they retire, so there’s not a lot of reason to keep it on the map, but we do our best to keep it on the map at least once a year.”
Redneck in ramona: winners’ circle 2013
Lawnmower Obstacle — 1. Jim Combes, Lebo, 2. Alex Hajek, 3. Danny Williams
Nail Driving — 1. Jim Combes, 2. Melvin H, Saline, 3. Karen Dalke, Hillsboro
Spam Carving — 1. Misty Winger, Dodge City, 2. Karen Dalke, 3. Justin Makovec, Ramona
Pie Eating — 1. Annie Mercer, Ramona, 2. Morgan Magnett, Herington, 3. Brent Mercer, Ramona
Medallion Hunt — Kristy Laing & Molly Mercer, Ramona
Tractor Pull — Age 4: 1. Benjamin Davis, 2. Korbyn Gentz, 3. Alex Fenske. Age 5: 1. Grant Eskeldson, 2. London Knight, 3. Elijah Klenda. Age 6: 1. Taygan Gentz, 2. Isabell Rziha, 3. Hanne McDermott. Age 7: 1. Kobe Huggins, 2. Tyus Becker, 3. Ashlyn Night. Age 8: 1. Ivan Jirak, 2. Madison Huggins, 3. Josie Parks. Age 9: 1. Callie Plenert, 2. Journey Holcom, 3. Tanner Stuchlik. Age 10: 1. Daries Huggins, 2. Nicole Middleton. Age 11: 1. Kayland Alexander, 2. Jocb Hird, 3. Allie Hird. Age 12: 1. Courtney Cook, 2. Sheryl Beeman.
Youth Council’s 50/50 Drawing — Sara Beth Hendrix, Marion
2-mile — 12 & Under Girls: 1. Kallie Albrecht, Salina, 2. Courtney Cook, Herington, 3. Madi Becker, Herington. 12 & Under Boys: 1. Simon Schmitz, Axtell, 2. Matthew Cook, Herington, 3. Tyus Becker, Herington. 13-17 Girls: 1. Tricia Schmitz, Axtell, 2. Kaylee Slater, Herington, 3. Rachael Eklund, Ramona. 13-17 Boys: 1. Brock Hazelton, Elmdale, 2. Taylor Cook, Herington, 3. Ryan Eklund, Herington. 18-24 Women: Anna Weber, Ramona. 25-34 Women: 1. Stephanie Symns, Atchison, 2. Bethany Carlson, Lincolnville, 3. Melissa Brunner, Herington. 25-34 Men: Cruz Lopez. 35-44 Women: 1. Natasha Becker, Herington, 2. Jolene Albrecht, Salina, 3. Julee Slater, Herington. 35-44 Men: 1. Neil Albrecht, Salina, 2. Jason Becker, Herington. 45-55 Women: 1. Sue Smith, Goddard, 2. Mary Pfeffer, Herington, 3. Kodi Kelsey, Marion. 45-55 Men: 1. Kevin Leffler, Marion, 2. Randy Kelsey, Marion, 3. Jeff Miller, Onaga. 56+ Women: 1. Amy Moore, Council Grove, 2. Delores Siggs, Goddard. 56+ Men: 1. D Moore, Council Grove, 2. (tie) Junior Hanshu, Ramona, Billy Riddle, Dallas, Texas. Overall Winner: Brock Hazelton, Elmdale.
10K Run — 13-17 Boys: 1. Tracy Schmitz, Axtell, 2. Oliver Schmitz, Axtell. 18-24 Women: 1. Ashten Slater, Herington, 2. Katheryn Pfeffer, Herington. 18-24 Men: Austin Schmitz, Axtell. 25-34 Women: 1. Kylee Polok, Hope, 2. Sarah Fenske, Wamego. 25-34 Men: 1. Jason Miller, Wellsville, 2. Randy Miller, Onaga. 35-44 Men: 1. Mike Westbrook, Loveland, Colo., 2. Troy Slater, Herington, 3. Russell Moore, Wamego. 45-55 Women: Jo Dee Westbrook, Wamego. 56+ Men: Mike Moran, Marion. Overall Winner: Tracy Schmitz, Axtell.
Most Redneck — Russell Moore, Wamego
Redneck Wind Chimes — Jeff Miller, Onaga, Jason Becker, Herington.
Overall Redneck Theme — Tanya Eklund, Julie Noeth, Stephanie Symns, Rachel & Ryan Eklund.
Judges’ Choice — The Makovec Family, Ramona.
Floats — 1. First National Bank of Hope employees, Hope, 2. Gavin Shields & Co, Lincolnville, 3. Ryff Family, Ramona.
Antique Vehicles — 1. (tie) Billy Alcorn, Ramona, Billy Jack Riddle & Miriam Riddle, Dallas, Texas.
General Category — 1. Alan & Janine Matton, Aaron & Lisa, Tabby, Kiley and Cody Langley, Dwight, 2. Jessica Gilbert, Ramona, 3. Hope Heritage Festival
Teen — 1. Terren Thompson, Ramona, 2. Jasmyne Beeman & Friends, Ramona, 3. Kaitlin Brunner, Janel Dones and Reggie (dog), Ramona.
Kids — 1. Mathew, Paige, Andy Madron, Ramona, 2. (tie) Alexis Craney & Julia Brunner, Pilsen, Clara Noeth & Lexi Todd, Ramona, 3. (tie) Trouble (goat), Tigger (Dachsund), Little Dog (dog), Jorja & Jackie Peterson, Lost Springs, Kiana Haden, Hope.
James Weber Memorial Basketball Competition
Men’s Division — Justin Deines, Ramona, Ty Simons, Lincolnville, Brian Burhoop, Burdick.
Youth Division — Cole Srajer, Tampa, Dylan Deines, Ramona, CJ Thompson, Ramona.