I couldn’t wait for this past weekend. There were going to be famous celebrities, athletic showdowns, and of course, awesome commercials. The drinks were going to flow like the Allegheny River, and there would be enough food to feed the youth of North Korea. Thousands of fans all over the world would have their eyes on America while we showcased our most talented athletes.
That’s right, you guessed it — I was looking forward to the Annual Wisconsin Dairy Bowl. But that wasn’t all this weekend had in store — there was also the Macomb County Spelling Bee and the Pennsylvanian Farm Show.
Since I’m originally from Brookfield, Wis., I anxiously awaited this past weekend for the results of the Dairy Bowl Competition at the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention. Hosted in Dane County at the Marriott West Hotel of Middletown, the Dairy Bowl pitted 21 teenage cheese heads from the Fond du Lac area.
My mother, former Dairy Maid of the Waterford chapter of Future Farmers of America, informed me that it was going to be a stellar showdown between Kevin Ryan and Sarah Galdi.
What sort of last names are Galdi and Ryan? Those aren’t Swedish or Norwegian-sounding at all. Where are the Hansons, Bransons and Jacobsons of the Midwest? Galdi? What is that, Italian?
I have already booked plane tickets so I can attend the 2004 convention from Jan. 2-4 at the Fond du Lac Holiday Inn. I can only imagine what that motel looks like. I am thinking tacky motel art, a cow motif, cheese curds on the turned-down beds and the Holstein Happy Hour Bar (you know, the type of bar where farmhands pick up farmers’ daughters).
In Macomb, Mich., this past weekend, the sporting excitement of the annual spelling bee was finally underway. Ever since ESPN2 picked up the national television rights for the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, more than 10 million fourth through eighth-graders have been speed-reading the dictionary in order to claim the right to spell “klystron” in the final round (klystron is an electron tube used as an oscillator in ultrahigh frequency circuits).
How can ESPN consider spelling a sport? If the New York City girl that had to breath through her hands in order to spell “euonym” a few years back is considered an athlete, then I am Dick Levin.
I think I am the only person in spelling bee history to be eliminated on the same word in two different years. In fourth and seventh grade, I misspelled “raspberry” in the very first round. I hate spelling.
But in Macomb County, spelling is king. Phillip Nahirniak, a seventh-grader attending the St. Germaine School, was preparing intensely for the county competition. He was returning for his second year, and his mother served as his coach.
Jackie, Phillip’s mother, said, “We do a lot of quizzing, especially the week before. We just kind of randomly do that. It seems like it’s not as much pressure. I told him ‘Do your best,’ and that’s all you can do.”
Do your best? Phillip, don’t get your hopes up. Look at the dictionary. Look at the countless home-schooled kids in the New York City area that spend eight hours each day just learning Greek suffixes. Randomly quizzing the week before is not going to help.
Finally, there was the 87th Annual Pennsylvanian Farm Show this past weekend. Almost rivaling the Dairy Bowl in Wisconsin, the Pennsylvania show was attended by more than 600,000 people in a period of eight days. On the first day alone, over 150,000 people packed the grounds to taste Debra Ann Gruber’s shoofly pie.
Shoofly pie? Sounds sketchy. Not as sketchy as the stuffed mushrooms on Monday night in the Timothy Dwight dining hall.
The show is among the largest indoor agricultural festivals in the United States.
The Capital City Polka Dancers Association hosted a polka dance competition at the show. Participants attempted to break the Guinness Book of World Records’ largest chicken dance record. Previously, the record was set at the 1996 Canfield Fair in Ohio, when 72,000 people clucked away.
Although officials have not yet released official numbers, many believe the record was not broken.
Who are these people? I thought polka was only performed at the 1997 Hanson Family Reunion in Minnesota when my sister hooked up with our half-second cousin.
And why aren’t the numbers released yet? How many country farmers does it take to calculate the number of people doing the chicken dance? This brings up bad memories of “Grumpy Old Men 2,” or as my mother likes to call it, “Dirty Old Men.”
Who needed the Super Bowl? I had my hands full with heifers, word derivations, and of course, shoofly pie.