Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Pedal power & princesses in small town Minnesota July 8, 2015

Every single contestant was encouraged.

Every single contestant is encouraged.

THERE’S SOMETHING SUBLIMELY SWEET about a kids’ pedal tractor pull. I think it’s an underlying sense of community pulling together, of almost physically placing your feet on the pedals and willing a toy tractor to move forward that endears me to this rural competition.

Spectators, including a reenactor from the nearby History of Trails, line the trail.

Spectators, including a reenactor from the nearby Trails of History, line the trail for the pedal tractor pull.

Sunday afternoon in small town Elysian, I first heard the encouraging roar of the crowd before I spotted folks lining a section of the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail for the Kid Power Pedal Pull.

Trying...

Trying…

The coveted trophies.

The coveted trophies.

Here, along this paved path, youngsters gripped the steering wheel of a mini White tractor and powered forward, aiming to win a tractor topped trophy.

 

Pedal tractor pull, princess pedaling in Elysian, 384

 

Pedal tractor pull, princess close-up in Elysian, 389

 

Pedal tractor pull, princess pedaling view 3 in Elysian, 392

 

I especially delighted in the determined and dainty Second Princess of Elysian who settled onto the tractor seat in her fancy lavender dress, grasped the wheel and pedaled in sandals, all the while smiling. If ever there was a princess who owned the moment, it was this sweet little girl.

 

Pedal tractor pull, a kiss for the winner in Elysian, 376

 

Equally as memorable was the moment a mother bent to kiss the cheek of her son who’d just received a trophy.

He came from the Trails of History to observe the pedal tractor pull with friends.

He came from the Trails of History to observe the pedal tractor pull with friends.

More reenactors watching.

More reenactors watching.

Another reenactor at the pedal pull.

Another reenactor at the pedal pull.

The event drew all ages.

The event drew all ages.

As I watched, I observed not only the contestants but also those watching the competition. These are the moments worth noticing, worth celebrating.

Princesses and winners pose for photos.

Princesses and winners pose for photos.

This is what life is all about in small town Minnesota. The moments. The sense of community. The coming together of all ages for awhile on a Sunday summer afternoon to be entertained. Applause. Smiles. Princesses.

FYI: Please check back for more photos from Elysian’s weekend celebration of the Fourth of July.

Click here to learn more about Kid Power Pedal Tractor Pulls.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Part II: Fun at the Kletscher family reunion July 31, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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THE THING I APPRECIATE about a little competitive fun at the annual Kletscher family reunion are the memories built and the melding of generations.

Review the images below and those published yesterday (click here) and I expect you will agree.

I love that my extended family loves to have fun.

In this game, contestants race to move gummy worms from a pie plate into a cup, with their mouths. The plates were supposed to be filled with whipped cream, but someone left it in a hot vehicle and, well, there was no whipped cream. Perhaps just as well.

In this game, contestants (my sister Lanae is on the left) race to move gummy worms from a pie plate into a cup, with their mouths. The plates were supposed to be filled with whipped cream, but someone left it in a hot vehicle and, well, there was no whipped cream. Perhaps just as well.

Dropping gummy worms into a cup.

Kegan drops gummy worms into a cup, doing his part for the Rednecks team.

Teams work together in assembling 25-piece puzzles.

Teams of all ages work together in assembling 25-piece puzzles.

Teamwork, up close.

Teamwork, up close.

Denver, member of the blue team.

Denver, member of the blue team.

Big sister assists little brother in the kids' nail driving contest.

Big sister assists little brother in the kids’ nail driving contest.

Determined, if anything.

Determined, if anything.

Uncle Wally, an experienced carpenter, won a round of the adult competition in nail driving.

Uncle Wally, an experienced carpenter, won a round of the adult competition in nail driving.

My cousin Sandy, organizer of the games, scrambles to pull boxcutters from the tool prize box before the kids grab the knives.

My cousin Sandy, organizer of the games, scrambles to pull boxcutters from the tool prize box before the kids grab the knives.

Colorful socks, colorful cups for this contestant in a race to fill the cups with popcorn.

Colorful socks, colorful cups for this contestant in a race to fill the cups with popcorn.

The water spigot proved a popular spot once squirt guns were distributed.

The water spigot proved a popular spot once squirt guns were distributed.

That would be my husband, Randy, sporting "safety glasses" for the nail driving contest. He wont the first round, pounding 9 1/2 nails into a chunk of wood in one minute.

That would be my husband, Randy, sporting “safety glasses” for the nail driving contest. He tied in the first round, pounding 9 1/2 nails into a chunk of wood in one minute.

My sister Lanae cuddles 5-month-old cousins Garrett (I think; he's a twin), left, and Logan, right. They represent the next generation of competitors.

My sister Lanae cuddles 5-month-old cousins Garrett (I think; he’s a twin), left, and Logan, right. They represent the next generation of Kletscher family competitors.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Strike two January 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:41 AM
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Give me a softball glove and I'll miss the ball more than I'll catch it.

HAND ME A BAT to swing at a ball, and I’ll miss.

Place a bowling ball in my hand and I’ll throw it into the gutter.

Toss me a basketball and I’ll completely miss the basket.

Yes, I’m athletically inept. I possess not one ounce of athletic ability.

So when my husband’s boss and his wife hosted the annual company Christmas party recently complete with sports games, I didn’t rush to sign up for an event. I allowed my spouse to do that on my behalf as it really didn’t matter which sport he chose for me. I knew I would fail at all of them.

I suppose that’s not the attitude to have—a loser’s attitude before you lose.

But I know my abilities.

I did not disappoint myself in the dart throwing competition.

When I stepped up to the dart board and aimed, I succeeded in hitting the sheetrock more than the target. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the dart board is situated in a back, unfinished storage and exercise room, meaning that pocking the sheetrock with darts did not automatically disqualify me from competition.

To make my situation even worse, I had an audience, which throws my game even more. I do not like people watching me. But they didn’t stick around for long. Slowly, one-by-one, they slipped from the room as my competitor continued to whoop my butt. No one enjoys a boring game.

By the end of the night, when I once again failed to win a Cabela’s gift card, I decided this really wasn’t fair. There ought to be a game for those of us who are not gifted in sports.

I’d tried pool the previous year. Now I’d attempted darts. That left only Wii bowling, which I feared because I might toss the remote control through the expensive flat screen TV. (I was told a strap would restrain the remote, but I bet I could manage to dislodge and hurdle it like a real bowling ball.)

I excel at word games, so I suggested Scrabble.

That went over well, real well.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling