Vacations don't end with summer
Last month in this column, I wrote about taking a Missouri vacation. I must admit, I was thinking in terms of things families could do before school started. While attending the state fair in August, I was reminded that a Missouri vacation doesn’t end with summer. In fact, some of the best opportunities for getting out and having fun in our great state take place in the fall.
About the time you get this issue, organizers will be putting the final touches on the second Tour of Missouri bicycle race. I’m pleased to tell you that Missouri’s electric cooperatives will be sponsoring this world-class event.
I’ve heard folks along the route compare it to hosting the Super Bowl or World Series. The excitement generated when these professional cyclists focus attention on Missouri will pay dividends well into the future. Cycling has an international following, and the race will be watched via the Internet around the world.
Wouldn’t it be neat if some company decided to move its operations to a rural Missouri town because they were impressed with the hard work and hospitality displayed by community leaders during the race? Those of us who call rural Missouri home already know the out-of-state folks participating in this huge tourism event will be awed by the beauty of our state.
Also starting this month is the granddaddy of all livestock shows, the American Royal. Missourians who grew up close to Kansas City like I did need no introduction to the Royal. The Royal rivals the state fair for its focus on youth. In fact, the entire series of events is carefully designed to not only teach youth about the important role agriculture plays in our society, but also to raise scholarship money as these kids reach college age and want to pursue ag careers.
The Royal has touched the lives of many people over its history. If you’ve never been, you have missed a lot, so plan on making this the year you do.
Yet another sporting event that has put Missouri on the map began Aug. 30 when the Missouri Tigers took on Illinois in the first border showdown of the year at the Edward D. Jones Dome in St. Louis. Normally, Mizzou is unheralded when the season begins, but that’s not the case coming off last year’s stellar season. This year both teams are nationally ranked, with Mizzou No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
You will find me at as many Mizzou home games as I can work into my schedule, rooting for No. 84, Tommy Saunders, the starting wide receiver who was friends with my son, Ryan, in Kearney when they were kids. I’m especially looking forward to Sept. 6, when the Tigers play Southeast Missouri State. On that day, I know a Missouri team will win! And you don’t want to miss our quarterback Chase Daniel picking apart the KU defense again at Arrowhead Stadium this year on his way to the Heisman Trophy!
If you’re not a Mizzou fan, you can find great action at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri Southern in Joplin, or in the northwest corner where the mighty Bearcats of Northwest Missouri State University dominate Division II football year after year. They are ranked third this year in the preseason poll and have a good shot at being No. 1 at the end of the year after placing No. 2 the past two seasons.
The unusually wet summer should give us a spectacular fall this year. I’ll be looking for more fairs and festivals to attend as the leaves turn. Here’s hoping our paths cross and we get a chance to visit about our favorite Missouri vacation. At local events you may also see some electric cooperative leaders signing up folks to get involved in the Our Energy, Our Future campaign. If you miss us there, go to www.ourenergy.coop. Your voice can make a difference.
Hart is executive vice president of the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.