A Rockin' Good Time!

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by Chris Wilbeck

Sept 2010

The plan was hatched when we attended the Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) conference in May.  Kevin and I were talking with Robin Fortney (IRR board member from Des Moines) after dinner one night.  We had been thinking about holding another event in our big white barn - something like the screening of FRESH we held last year.  Robin had been thinking about hosting some type of river party with a band.  What about a river celebration day with a float and then a band in our barn?  We would donate the use of our barn and our time to help coordinate it.  IRR would host the event. Perfect we thought. 

We enlisted the help of our Greene County event planning friends - Chris Henning and George Naylor who collaborated with us to host the screening of FRESH - and Jerry Peckumn who also helped with the FRESH screening and who happened to be IRR's board chairman.  Robin secured IRR board's approval to proceed with the planning. And off we went!  IRR's RIVERS ROCK! River Float & Music Fest was on its way to becoming a reality!

The day couldn't have been more perfect for a River Float.  The paddle trip on the North Raccoon River started at the Henderson Park access and ended at the Squirrel Hollow access - just a few miles from us.  The temperature was in the mid 70's.  Blue skies ... Nothin' but blue skies.  The wind was at the backs of the paddlers. And the water was running clear.

The unofficial count was "30 plus boats on the float," with more than 50 passengers in canoes and kayaks.  Many brought their own boats, but some rented the newly purchased canoes owned by Greene County Chamber & Development.  Dan Towers (Greene County Conservation Director), Ken Paxton and Jessica Trecker (Greene County Chamber & Development), Gary VonAhsen and Jacob Keller (Abundant Life Ministries canoe shuttle service) and John Wenck and Ned McPartland (Central Iowa Paddlers) helped ensure the paddle ran safely and smoothly.


Paddle photos taken by Dan Towers, Greene County Conservation Director.
For more float photos, go to IRR's facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Iowa-Rivers-Revival/.

After the paddle, folks came to our Big White Barn for the Music Fest.  Jan Wilbeck (Kevin's mom) and Rachel Sacco (Rippey neighbor) helped greet guests and dispense tickets. Susan Heathcote (IRR board member) sold t-shirts. Chris Henning arranged the dinner specifics with Lidderdale Country Store Catering.  Friend Carol Sieck helped with the setup.  The menu included BBQ beef sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, chips, brownies and bars.  Yum!  Local Greene Bean coffee and Deal's Orchard apple cider quenched the thirst of guests.

Afterwards, Jon Stravers and Big Blue Sky performed to the crowd that mingled inside and outside the barn. They played their song "Coyote Love," a favorite of ours and our now-official theme song for Camp Coyote.

The official headcount at our place that night was 110 people!  Young and old joined us for a beautiful night chatting with friends and listening to great music under the stars. 

That night, as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep after all the excitement and fun of the day, I heard some coyotes yelping from afar.  I think they approved and agreed that it was a rockin' good time

Jon Stravers and Big Blue Sky on stage in our Big White Barn.

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Jan Wilbeck (left) and Rachel Sacco (right) greet our guests.

Susan Heathcote (IRR board member) sells IRR t-shirts.

The yummy food was from Lidderdale County Store Catering.
The string of lights were courtesy of our friends the Siecks.

The HUGE bouquet of golden rod flowers were from Henning's prairie.

George Naylor, event planning volunteer (right), chats with Greene County neighbors Rich & Reagan Osborne.

Kevin poses with other Greene County neighbors Steve and Carla Haupert, Dan Towers and Jerry Peckumn.

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Nancy & Dale Hanaman and the Roberts from Rippey. Gail Peckumn joins them.

Mike Delaney, Raccoon River Watershed Association chair (center) sells t-shirts to neighbors Carol & Allan Sieck (right) and their out-of-town guest from Chicago, Lyn Schuler.

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Guests eating inside the barn.

Andy & Diane Foster from Jefferson.

Francis Thicke, candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, and his staff make a stop at the barn to eat and mingle with folks.





More guests hangout outside.

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Of course, the kids can't sit still!

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Relaxing in lawn chairs before the band begins.

Roz Lehman, IRR Executive Director, and Dana.

Ed & Lynn Fallon (left) pose with George & Cathy, ticket winners for the night's festivities.
Henning donated 2 tickets to the event that were awarded on the Fallon's radio show - The Fallon Forum.


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The sun goes down and folks mingle inside and out while the band plays.

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River dancing!

Robin Fortney, Chris Henning and I finally stop for a pose at the end of the night.

Jerry Peckumn, IRR board chairman, is all smiles about the event's success.

The next day, Robin Fortney accepts the final check from Tom & Kira Ahart of Des Moines.

After closing the cash box, a short bandit tries to take the loot.
He is not successful.

Robin leaves with her canoe on top, cash in hand, and good memories.

Thanks to everyone who came to the event and made it memorable!

Thanks, Robin, for hatching the idea with us for this crazy fun event!
What can we say, but "you're the best!"

Thanks - Chris Henning, George Naylor, Jerry Peckumn - for being great planning partners!

Thanks - Jan Wilbeck, Rachel Sacco and Carol Sieck - for your help that night!
Thanks, Allan Sieck, for sharing the string of lights and all the other cool "stuff" you send our way!

THANKS Iowa Rivers Revival Board and Roz Lehman, Executive Director, for your support, help & belief in this idea!
Thanks, too, for all the work you do to keep our rivers clean & healthy!

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For more information, call Chris Wilbeck at 515-229-6988.