Before the Chamber of Commerce, there were the McCook Boosters

Friday, January 21, 2022
McCook Boosters in 1910. Note the one car has ‘Electric Theatre’ on it and another has ‘Chataugua’ underneath the Boosters sign. Courtesy/Museum of the High Plains 

Every town of importance had one, that is, had a Booster’s Club, and McCook was no exception.

The McCook Boosters was a sub-group of the McCook Commercial Club, the forerunner of today’s Chamber of Commerce.

In the February 24, 1910, edition of the McCook Tribune there was an advertisement (with an attached cartoon) that read: “The citizen who praises his own town. The citizen who encourages local enterprises. The citizen who helps along home improvements. The citizen who patronizes the home merchants. The citizen who gets his job printing done in his own town. That man’s THE TOWN BOOSTER.”

Later in the May 5, 1910, McCook Tribune came the following: “Join the Boosters’ Band and boost! Don’t stay home and go to roost! Keep awake and make a spiel. Put your shoulder to the wheel! Try to help your town along! Boost it loud and boost it strong! Everybody lend a hand! Come and join the Boosters’ Band!”

It was common for the Boosters to travel to celebrations of other towns and show support for McCook as did Boosters from other communities when McCook had parades or special occasions. They were all drumming up new enterprises for their respective towns hoping to increase the commercial aspect of each.

“Company Gives A Banquet-Prospective Beet Growers and Commercial Club Boosters are the Guests. Mr. Giese on behalf of the Great Western Sugar Co. of Denver, gave a banquet to the prospective sugar beet growers and McCook Commercial Club boosters, Monday night, in the Monte Cristo café, at which over fifty were guests. It was a clever expression of the company’s appreciation of the efforts of the McCook Commercial Club and other interested parties to secure an acreage for the company in this vicinity for the season of 1911 Mr. A. Barnett was toast master for the few and brief post-prandial efforts. Mr. Giese and Mr. Reybright for the company made brief, encouraging speeches, complimenting this community upon its bright out look and prospects in the sugar beet line. Messrs. J. E. Kelley and F. M. Kimmell were the local members on the toast list, and they both boosted for the enterprise. The banquet served by Mine Host McClain was a generous and enjoyable one.” McCook Tribune December 15, 1910. (post-prandial means after a dinner or lunch and is used generally as a humorous comment)

When I heard of the death of Bob Blackman, a veritable newspaper man whose beginnings were with the McCook Gazette and an Indianola native son, I remembered that he was involved in the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Imagine that we had enough people involved to have two branches of our Chamber back in the day.

I also remembered, hopefully correctly, that it was the Junior branch that put together the fundraising for the baseball park that now hosts not only the Legion ball players and MCC ball players but also our large group of softball athletes. One could speculate on how much revenue all those games have brought to McCook, but the most important impact has been on our youth and perhaps for our female athletes more than anyone else. What a gift that group gave to McCook!

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