|Street Games back with new twist|
|July 12, 2012 Elizabeth Gross|
A much enjoyed long-running Oregon Trail Days tradition that was seemingly lost to history is making a comeback this year. The street games of old included buffalo chip throwing contests, bed races, pie-eating contests and more. This year, children and adults are invited to test their skills at the new street games taking place between O Street and M Street immediately following the Kiddie Parade.
“We want to get back to where we were years ago,” said Oregon Trail Days chairman Bill Schlaepfer. “When I was a child, I remember the street games.” Though Schlaepfer lived in Scottsbluff as a child, he remembers going to the Kiddie Parade, and also going down to the street games. As time passed, the street games slowly disappeared and were no longer a part of the Oregon Trail Days celebration; until last year.
Last year’s Oregon Trail Days saw the return of the street game idea with a marshmallow-spitting contest. The Gering Citizen hosted its first marshmallow-spitting contest in front of its 10th Street office. Adults and children tested their ability to spit a large marshmallow as far as possible. “It went over so well that we decided that we should increase it,” said Schlaepfer, “I think Lisa (Betz) really helped with that process and it has really taken off.”
This year, other businesses are hosting games too. First State Bank will hold a penny toss for children. Spectrum Photography will host a speed-eating Melon Munch.
USave Pharmacy will host another unique game this year called a Nose Dive Contest. Contestants will rub Vaseline on their nose and see how many cotton balls they can move from a plate to a jar in one minute. It will be a test of balance as participants can use only their nose.
Gering Citizen will again host its Marshmallow Spitting Contest. There will be four categories of participants: children eight and under, children ages 9-12, men 13 and over and women 13 and over. Winners in each category will receive a championship trophy and a Gering Citizen T-shirt. Top three places will receive a free meal coupon from McDonald’s. Bottled water for participants is donated by Culligan.
Another unique activity planned is a Street Vaulting game. A group of pole vaulters from Gering High School came together to host a pole vault contest. Due to its size, the street vaulting will take place a block away from the other activities.
While other street games are free, the entry fee for the pole vault contest will be $15. There will be four different divisions: junior high and below, high school, college, and open. Contestants must have a minimum of a half hour warm-up beginning at 1:30 p.m. Medals will be given to the top three male and female vaulters in each division. McDonalds will serve as their sponsor this year.
The Playhouse will have inflatables in the street for children to play in.
With the City of Gering turning 125, this year’s Oregon Trail Days promises to be something special. The annual festival is about making memories with the people we love and being proud of our town. “I want everyone to have those feelings and have those memories of belonging some place, that I belong to Gering, I belong to this area,” said Schlaepfer.
The Kiddie Parade will take place on Friday, July 13, at 10 a.m. The street games will begin shortly after the parade ends.
— Elizabeth Gross
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