Splendid turnout on Powell's 100th

Posted 6/2/09

“It was wonderful,” Earhart said.

Centennial Riders delivered 326 letters, which were canceled and postmarked with the special Centennial relay seal and Pony Express stamp.

Powell Mayor Scott Mangold addressed the revelers. He …

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Splendid turnout on Powell's 100th


{gallery}05_28_09/centennial{/gallery} Governor Dave and first lady Nancy Freudenthal wave from the back seat of a 1909 Model T Ford owned and driven by Dan Logan of Powell, while Mayor Scott Mangold sits in the front passenger seat during a procession marking Powell's 100th birthday on Monday. About 900 people attended the downtown festivities to commemorate the occasion. Tribune photo by Ilene OlsonMail riders rode into town, big shots talked, live music played, beards were flaunted and folks celebrated while wolfing down Centennial Hot Dogs Monday on Founder's Day. Powell Centennial Committee Chairwoman Sharon Earhart reckoned around 900 people showed up, and 600 top-drawer dogs were consumed. The hot dogs were donated by Roger Beslanowitch, owner of Roger's Meat Processing.

“It was wonderful,” Earhart said.

Centennial Riders delivered 326 letters, which were canceled and postmarked with the special Centennial relay seal and Pony Express stamp.

Powell Mayor Scott Mangold addressed the revelers. He listed names still familiar around these parts, even though those names first appeared on homesteads 100 years ago.

“Families began building their futures here in Powell, Wyo.,” Mangold said.

“Why did they stay in this desert area and fight rattlesnakes and politicians to exist? ... I think because they were facing an uphill battle that the sense of community grew in the city of Powell and we continue to hold each other up in the face of adversity. When you peel back the outer skin of the city of Powell you find the descendants of farmers who were good wrestlers. You find merchants who were great dancers. You find construction workers who could really hit a baseball,” Mangold said. “But most of all, you find an entire community that is filled with pride when they say they are from Powell, Wyo.”

Gov. Dave Freudenthal delivered a short address.

“We're (he and first lady Nancy) obviously delighted to be here,” said the governor after the formal ceremony.

Freudenthal said building a farming community from desert is a testament to Powell's tenacity.

Summer hometown parades, young people, horses, food, vintage cars and veterans are the essence of Wyoming, Freudenthal said.

“Powell's a great community,” the governor said.

The party began around 1:30 or 2 p.m. downtown, but it really started a lot sooner than that when Centennial Riders fetched special mail that traveled by river and then overland on horse, wagon and tractor.

Looking fetching in her old west apparel, Phyllis Preator was the head honcho for the mail run. Christi Greaham organized the 4-H Rocky Mountain Rustlers, Jenny Cramer brought a few Reaching Hands kids and Rich and Diane Evans kicked off the first leg of the journey by providing one of their rafts and guide for the first leg of the trip.

“We've been celebrating all day,” Preator told the crowd, “on horses!”

Nobody had a cross word that day. Even folks standing in line for an hour or more to get a Centennial Dog and fixings were amenable. For that, Earhart offered her appreciation Tuesday morning.

“Great day for Powell,” said Park County Commissioner Tim French.

Powell is French's home town, he said. A place where everybody is friendly.

“It is an honor to be here,” said Commissioner Chairman Bill Brewer.

Brewer, former Park County sheriff, went to school in Powell and began his law-enforcement career here. Brewer said he appreciates what Powell and Park County have done for him.

Bob Ruzick, past president and state officer of the Eagles, was cranking out dogs on the grill/barbecue faster than they could be gobbled up inside and out.

“We're glad to do it,” Ruzick said.

At 5 p.m., Mangold announced the moment long awaited by men sporting beards.

“Here are your beard contestants,” Mangold announced as whiskered gents sauntered through the crowd.

There were some mighty thick beards. Old John Wesley Powell would have been tickled.

There were beards brushing chests, trim affairs clinging to jaw lines and chins with whiskers like fur on a bear.

Are wives and girlfriends looking forward to the end of the competition so their beaus and hubbies can be shorn of their whiskers? asked Mangold.

A feminine cheer burst from the crowd.

Three winners were picked by three unbiased, female beard judges.

Cal Tift, looking a bit like a blondish JW Powell, took the prize for a beard most resembling the man himself — Mr. John Wesley Powell.

Mike Pease, with a beard that would have amazed Gabby Hayes, nailed “best beard,” and Jim Carpenter, with a wiry growth that was sort of parted down the middle below his chin netted “most unusual.”

The men took home beard certificates and cash prizes in sealed thick envelopes. The size of the beard purses were not revealed, but Mangold said, pictures on the bills were of bearded presidents — no smooth-cheeked George Washingtons in those wads.

Aside from all the events, it was a time for locals to catch up with their friends, to tell stories and have fun,” Mangold said.

Kids really dug the 1-cent candy, a brainchild of Centennial Committee member Rowene Weems, Mangold said.

Buffalo Bill's Cowboy Band rocked, and Tim Schoessler's piano recital at Northwest College was the perfect nightcap after a day in sun, said Earhart.

“It was a great birthday party for Powell,” Mangold said.