Fair Kicks Off


The Hamilton County Fair kicked off crowning Evelyn Drew as the VIP Silver Queen. along with the annual fashion revue. On Friday, the dog show started the morning off. Then the community rallied on Main Street to enjoy the evening’s fair parade. Smiles, laughter, and plenty of Hay Bales and Cow Tails. 
Parade results - 
4-H Floats:
Busy Bears - 1st 
Willing Workers -2nd 
Open Floats:
Wood N Post - 1st
Sheriff’s Office - 2nd
Stepping Stones Preschool - 3rd
Horse + Buggy
Hayden Harris -1st
Horse + Rider
Scarlett Hines - 1st
Brandee Garcia - 2nd
Tracy Housholder - 1st
Kathy Johnson - 2nd
Saddle Club - 1st
Golf Cart Calie Green -1st
Valley State Bank - 1st
Decorated Vehicle
2024 HM CO., Kansas, US
Ag Queens - 13
Antique Truck
TexKan / Ark Valley - 1st
Antique Tractor
Kris Kerr - 1st
Shawna Kerr- 2nd  
Neil Libertus - 3rd
Jillyanne Riley - 1st
Joshua Thompson - 2nd
Sno Shack/Ashlyn Finlay-3rd
The annual Hamilton County Fair Demolition Derby was held Saturday, July 18 at the fairgrounds. Mother Nature could not have delivered a more perfect night for the event with pleasant temperatures and dry conditions. 
The Tuesday before the event, the arena was full of water but the show was slated to go on! Event organizer and volunteer Greg Watson works for Scout Energy and they allowed himself, and Derek Godfrey, the use of the gas/oil field tanker truck to suck the rain water out the arena and pit area. 
Truck driver Asuncion Reyes assisted, sucking roughly two truckloads of water, equivalent to approximately 10,000 gallons. “Water was eight inches deep in places,” said Watson. 
Scout allows their employees one day to volunteer and give back to their community, calling it “Scout Gives Back”. Watson takes his day to prepare the derby arena and prepare for the show, dragging the arena, rebuilding the berm, moving dumpsters, making sure everything is prepared and in order. 
The Derby is a popular event with members of the community, with over 1,000 spectators in attendance. Waiting for the event to start, attendees could enjoy “Midway” like food and refreshments from the food trucks and the Saddle Club concession stand. 
Vying for the cash prizes were 32 cars and pickups from Syracuse and southwest Kansas.This was a normal number of entries for the event.  According to Watson, “It really depends on harvest whether numbers are up or down.” 
There was $9,025 in prize money for four different classes, women’s full size, compact, men’s full size and pickups. Adding to the evening’s festivities, there were three battery operated power wheels “smashing it up”. From Syracuse, Joslyn Rivas took third place who showed sign of disappointment when her power wheels lost power.  
The top three in each class were Women’s Only: Tara Watson, Melissa Wilson, and Reagan (Wilson) Lozar. Compact: Taylor Jones, Eric Smith and KC Giancola. Men’s Full Size, Ben Stultz, Austin Wilson, and Payson Hawkins. 
Additional cash prizes included $50 for the person who smashes the watermelon after they are lined up around the arena, when the green flag is waved. Winners were Compact: Gunnar Upson, Truck, Cory Cook, Fullsize, Payson Hawkins. 
The MADDOG prize of $400, paid out in multiple classes, goes to the most aggressive driver. “The one who is putting on the show, the person has no regard for what their car looks like after the derby. They just go out to put a lickin’ on everyone who gets in their way,” explained Watson. Winners were: Compact, Gunnar Upson, Truck, George Huser, and Fullsize, Payson Hawkins 
Watson has competed in derbies for over 20 years, “It’s my passion! After about eleven years the show was going away, the fair board was almost ready to do away with the event due to the cost,” he said, “I asked if I could come to talk to the board and I told them I would volunteer to put on the event for two to three years and here we are!” 
The Watson family has volunteered for over 10 years. “I go to the fair board meeting to schedule the event, and then we begin organizing the event,” said Watson, “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”  
Watson said there are not many left in this area and the reason is communities must pay promoters, mainly for the insurance, to put on the event. “What makes Syracuse derby work is the fair board pays for a supplemental policy during the fair, thus insuring the derby,” explained Watson. 
“We are very fortunate in this community that we have people who are willing to volunteer to help put the derby on and local businesses for monetary donations and prizes. If it wasn’t for those people, my family, fire department, ambulance, fair board members, it would no longer happen, and their only pay is a thank you from me and a tee shirt,” said Watson.  
 “One unique thing this year was a women’s only class. In year’s past we had a powderpuff and they would hope one of the men’s cars was runnable after they get done running,” said Watson, “We’re trying to get the ladies involved, there’ a bunch of women that want to run and are really good at what they do and they put on a pretty good show this year!” 
Watson hopes to compete and win in Syracuse before he gets too old, “I’ll have to get someone to run it for me!” In the meantime, his wife, Tara, has taken to the driver’s seat competing in and winning the women’s class on Saturday.
“My wife has it figured out!” said Watson, “I ran that car two years ago and won at Holly, after I ran it, she drove the car in the powder puff, only making two hits before it broke down.” 
With a little bit of work, the car was in the arena. After being pushed up on the berm, with a little patience, she was able to drive off! “She watched enough she knew what  to do and after that, she totally changed, going from defense to offense and made some good hits.”  
The derby car family has an unusual comradery. Watson explains there is a culture, a way of life. “People can hate each other while they’re racing in the arena, but after the race, they’re hugging shaking hands and happy, they are friends again.” 
Watson felt it was a fantastic show. “For this to continue it takes volunteers and participation so if anyone knows someone who wants to participate in the sport, get them coming our way.” 




In the last year with food prices and inflation rising, food pantries are being strained more and more.  According to Lora Horton, the need outweighs the product.  "Right now we are okay but we could always use more. With COVID money, we received monthly boxes of commodities.... [More]



The annual two day Syracuse Youth Athletics Association basketball tournament was held last weekend, and it was great for the community businesses. Black Bison Pub owner Janet Thomeczek said, "It did so much for our business. We haven't had a weekend like that since Christmas!"... [More]



Retired Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder was honored at a luncheon on March 14 at the Kansas Wheat Alliance (KWA) headquarters, Manhattan. While one would think the talk might have been about football, Coach Snyder was responding to the honor of the naming of a hard... [More]



The Future Farmers of America (FFA) Creed begins, "I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds." Our local FFA chapter is putting that into practice with building, giving, learning, and partnering with the community.  The Local FFA... [More]


King Completes 2,000 EagleMed Flights

McVey added, “Western Kansas is fortunate to have a nurse as intelligent, dedicated, and kind as Patty King, I sincerely hope Patty makes 2000 more flights, she is truly one-of-a-kind.”  As adults, we ask young children what they want to be when they grow up,... [More]



The call came across the radios of a fire in northwest Hamilton County, near County Road L and 7. Fire trucks raced through town, sirens blaring. Farmers loaded up water trailers, tractors, disks, and a community banded together to help save Daryle Lewis home as well as keep... [More]



“Being back in a small town is the single most enjoyable thing so far.  The city it not as much fun as what it’s made out to be, at least once you have kids!"   Thomas Eddy DPM, son of Kent and Melanie Eddy, has returned to western Kansas, living in... [More]


Schwieterman Wins YFR Award

Scot Schwieterman, a local hay and forage producer was named the Young Farmer and Rancher of the Year at the Kansas Farm Bureau YF&R Leadership Conference in Manhattan February 2-4.  The conference is designed to provide educational and networking opportunities for young... [More]

More News


Gratitude and Change

I am writing this as the western Kansas winds blow and gust. The trees shake. I hear the howling which makes it sound colder than it is. I am about to leave for a couple days to a publishing conference in Colorado Springs. I am leaving my family midweek to figure it all out... [More]

Zen and the Art of Life

Happy Thursday! Looks like temperatures will be in the upper eighties and sunny this weekend.  Exciting for many who want to get out and enjoy the weekend, less exciting when you are looking for rain in the forecast. Interesting isn't it how we view our circumstances? Something... [More]

Everything's Gonna Be Alright

It's April.  April showers bring May flowers. Showers are forecasted later this week. Nice gentle rains are always welcome here.  I had a phone call with a woman who ended the conversation saying, "I appreciate your candor." I had to laugh. I am not the best at many... [More]


I was struggling this past week as I remembered my parents anniversary, however short was March 31. And I remembered how they couldn't communicate or get through the hard times.  As I was growing up I often heard my father say, "Everyone you meet turns to %$^#." I will let... [More]

A Dynamic Shift

It's spring! Our lambs are in the barn, there is more daylight, and we are in the last nine weeks of the school year.  I am my usual self - exhausted, excited, and overwhelmed with things that need done.  At one of the community meetings I attend, someone mentioned... [More]

Opportunity disguised as discomfort

On Tuesday morning I packed up my daughter and we headed east for Kansas City. The trip with stops took about seven hours.  I managed to find and get behind every semi on two lane roads.  The interstate got busier as we moved east. I was nervous because I haven’t... [More]


She was unstoppable not because she did not have failures but because she continued on despite them   - Beau Taplin My daughter asked me about the word criticism. We discussed it. I mentioned how growing up I quit at the first sign of discomfort. I quit at the first piece... [More]

Never Not Be Afraid

Here we are at the end of February. What are you going with your bonus day?  The weather in western Kansas has been wild. 78, 17, 65, and blowing, then snow.  When I spent a couple of years traveling the country, I enjoyed the different climates. Eventually I tired... [More]

More Opinions




State golf on Monday had the Varsity Bulldogs miss playing in the finals as a team by one stroke. They finished seventh out of twelve teams.  On Day 1, Brody Keller shot a 92 missing day two by two strokes. Ian Brummett shot a 95, Mason Scott  and Johnny TeVelde shot... [More]



Junior High Boys Basketball A, B, and C teams travelled to Elkhart on Monday, November 21. The A team won 41-34, B team won 26-21, and  C team lost to Elkhart 13-20. Head Coach Vance Keller said, “Elkhart was a tough win for both the A and B teams but both grinded... [More]



The Lady Bulldogs were undefeated during the Border Wars, defeating Eads on Friday, 42-7 and Walsh on Saturday 62-5, bringing their record to 3-1. But the winner wasn’t announced until Tuesday evening. Syracuse Athletic Director Josh Johnson explained, “It came down... [More]


JH Basketball Season Underway with JH Boys sweeping Lakin

Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]


Senior Night Volleyball

Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse.  Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]


HS Track

Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]



Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]


Spring Sports Start

One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]

More Sports


Ed Crum

Graveside services for Ed Crum will be held at the Holly Cemetery in Holly, Colorado at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, April 13, 2024.  Per Ed's request there will be no visitation. Edward Dean Crum was born on July 31, 1949 in Lamar, Colorado to Clifford and Lucille (Frazer) Crum.... [More]


Jimmy Ray Dowell

Jimmy Ray Dowell, 73, passed away peacefully on April 5th, 2024 at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka Kansas with his family by his side. Jim was Born on September 2nd 1950 to Charlie and Gaylene (Schockey) Dowell of Syracuse Kansas. He married Loveta (Lindsey) on August 13, 1972... [More]

William “Bob” Crum

Graveside services for Holly, Colorado resident, Bob Crum will be held at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the Holly Cemetery with Military Committal Rites provided by Holly VFW Post #4281.  Per Bob’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no visitation.... [More]


Erma Westblade

Erma Baker Westblade, 95, of Salina, KS, passed away Friday, March 22, 2024, at Pinnacle Park Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. She was born January 26, 1929, in McClure, Pennsylvania, daughter of the late Charles K. Baker and Lillie (Lepley) Baker. On August 14, 1965, she... [More]


Diane Bever

Funeral Services for Holly, Colorado resident, Diane Bever will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 23, 2024 at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly, Colorado with Pastor Ian Blacker officiating.  Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery.  Visitation for Diane... [More]


Richard S. Everett

Richard S. Everett, age 80, died Sunday, March 17, 2024, at his home in Johnson, Kansas. He was born on February 15, 1944, in Dalhart, Texas, the son of Gerald Thomas and Elizabeth (Rawlins) Everett. Richard grew up in Clayton, New Mexico, where he graduated from high school.... [More]


Shaun Frieary

Shaun Patrick Frieary passed away on March 15, 2024 surrounded by his family.  He is survived by his mother Betty Pryschlak, his step-father Stephen, his brother George Frieary, and his daughter Hailey. A family memorial service will be held in New York state. Shaun was... [More]


Harold Richard Grinstead

Harold was born to Hazel and Harold Grinstead in Ordway, Colorado in the local hotel. He grew up in the southwest Kansas area, graduating from Coolidge High School before attending Lamar Junior College. He helped start the rodeo team and host the first college rodeo while at... [More]

More Obituaries

View All Obituaries