The 2012 Heritage Days Royal Court consists of, front left, Caitlyn Mockry, whose guardians are Julie Mockry and Jamie and Tresa Mockry; Queen Patricia Mitnik, daughter of Tammy and Bill Moore; King Gavin Harsh, son of Doug Harsh and Pam Harsh; Baylie Simmonds, daughter of Mike and Tonda Simmonds. Back from left, Tyler Rambali, daughter of Darcy and Travis Rambali; Sara Larington, daughter of Dan and Michelle Larington; Kaylee Samway, daughter of Darrin and Angie Samway; Kelsey Woitaszewski, daughter of Shannon and Randy Woitaszewski; Austin Lambing, son of Tom and Mary Lambing; Jacqui Marie Hager, daughter of James Frease and Janella Hager; and Kelsey Siebrandt, daughter of Roger and Marti Siebrandt.
McCOOK, Nebraska -- According to McCook National Bank President and CEO Brian Esch, the staff performed their "annual cleaning" of the bank in preparation for the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce Heritage Days mixer held Wednesday night. A large crowd gathered to enjoy the food, fellowship, and congratulated the Heritage Days Royalty and honorees.
The 2012 Grand Marshal is Phillys Lyons, a life-long Nebraska resident, teacher, farmer, mother of four, and the first woman in Nebraska to run for the United States Senate. Lyons, 94, helped in the establishment of the Museum of the High Plains Historical Society, Kindergarten Roundup program, McCook High School Youth Council, and the Southwest Nebraska Mental Health Association. She established the Jay A. Person Scholarship Foundation and the McCook American Field Services chapter, currently known as the Foreign Exchange program. She has been active in the PTA, the American Association of University Women, the McCook Community Concert Series, the First Congregational Church, YMCA, and both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as she was raising her family.
The Lyons family cordially invites the public to an open house in honor of Phillys on both Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Willow Ridge Room 30 and Activity Room.
The Keenportz family, at center right, was chosen as the 2012 Heritage Days Honor Family. Attending the MNB mixer on Wednesday evening were, from front left, Judy and Bud Keenportz, son Brian Keenportz of McCook, son Bruce Keenportz of Beaver City, and grandsons Jesse and Josh Keenportz. The Keenportz also have a daughter, Becki, of McCook and another son, Brent, of Grand Island, a total of eight grand children, and one great-granddaughter.
The 2012 Parade Marshall, Cheri (Myers) Beckenhauer, known to some as "Mouse" or "General," is a 1964 graduate of McCook High School. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Christian Education from Nebraska Christian College and in Home Economics from Kearney State College. She returned to McCook in 1983 with her husband, Jerry, and three children. In 1985 they purchased Carpenter Breland Funeral Home, which they ran together until their retirement in 2010. She is involved in the McCook Community Foundation Fund, McCook Christian Church, Red Hats, and P.E.O. She is the driving force behind the establishment of the McCook Bison newsletter, which is mailed to about 7,500 MHS alumni two times each year.
The Bud and Judy Keenportz family were chosen as the 2012 Heritage Days Honor Family. Friends have described them as selfless, dedicated, caring, and hard working. They have helped to organize and distribute toys for the Toys for Tots program, often filling in for Santa and his Elf. They have served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity and McCook Housing Authority. He worked for Cornbelt Chemical for 20 years and she was a wife, mother, and sold Home Interiors. They also owned Barbe's Marina at Red Willow Lake for five years.
The Keenportz family includes sons Brian of McCook, Bruce and wife Gina of Beaver City, and Brent and wife Tracy of Grand Island, and daughter Becki of McCook, eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Grand Marshall Phillys Lyons, right, accepts a corsage and plaque from Heritage Day Committee member Marlene Foster.
The Heritage Days Royalty Committee had their work cut out for them this year, as they had 11 candidates to interview and chose from. The 2012 Heritage Days Queen was Patricia Mitnik, daughter of Tammy and Bill Moore and a student at McCook High School. Tricia is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Club, Student Senate, and is the editor of the Stampede. Throughout her high school career, she has also participated in dance team and tennis. She is active in CYO and has volunteered at the Food Pantry, Read Across America, Highway Cleanup and Mini Dance Camp.
Gavin Harsh, son of Doug Harsh and Pam Harsh, was chosen as the 2012 Heritage Days King. Gavin, also a McCook High School student, has been active in FBLA, Student Council, Math Club, National Honors Society, and N.O.R.E. Science Club. He has been named to the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference All Academic Team for football, basketball, and track. He is also involved in Youth Change Reaction, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4-H, and is a graduate of the Southwest Nebraska Leadership Institute Class of 2011-12.
Both Tricia and Gavin will receive a $1,000 scholarship from McCook Community College.
Cheri Beckenhauer, left, chastises her husband for revealing her nickname, "Mouse," as she was announced the 2012 Heritage Days Grand Marshall by McCook Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tacie Fawver. Beckenhauer told the Gazette that she was given that name during a sleep-over when she was in high school, and that she still has some close friends who only call her "Mouse".