Dear Chamber Supporters:


It’s rare when it happens…but the weather and the calendar synced up on the same day this year! When the calendar said fall…the 100-degree days were gone and temps were in the 60s. No matter why…it is very refreshing! Good thing too…people were tired of the heat and there is a lot going on in Ottawa this month. Let’s get to what all happened this week!


Ol’ Marias River Run – 2022:


Another great car show this year (few pictures here)…near 1,500 vintage cars rolled into town last weekend. The show begins Friday as exhibitors register their cars. Friday evening was a back to the sixty’s dance and block party in Forest Park featuring a band from Ottawa, The Bop Daddies. The event drew a big crowd…many enjoyed dancing or just sitting in lawn chairs and enjoying the shade of the summer evening and listening to the music of their youth. Saturday drew thousands to town to see the cars being exhibited and reminisce. Main Street was full Saturday evening for the dragging Main event…one of the reasons this show has become so popular. Another attraction of this show is the shade and leisure Forest Park offers for displaying the cars. For most it is a very relaxing and fun weekend.


But don’t fool yourself…for the organizers, it is a lot of work to stage an event this large – and it takes a full year to organize. The first car show was in 1986 with 150 exhibitors. This organization has come a long way from 5 friends sitting around talking about a car show in Ottawa, to actually putting a plan in action…the result being the largest event our community has every year by far. It represents 36 years of car shows…of course every annual event from then to now is going to have an asterisk for the COVID years…but what a great post-COVID event this was. It was so good to see so many people in Ottawa the last 2 weekends…COVID is but a blimp in our history. Tough living through it…but we are on the other side now. A huge, big thank you for the Over the Road Gang for organizing this event every year…they are very dedicated citizens which do things in a classy way! Not only organizing the annual show, but also providing scholarships to students and donations to several local charities, including the Police Foundation, Toys for Kids Ride, and the Franklin County Diabetes Association…just to name a few. Thank you is hardly enough…but for sure “THANK YOU”!!


Bad Astra Bike Race:


The events keep rolling in…this weekend will be the 2nd annual Bad Astra 100-mile bike race in Franklin County – over 90 percent is on gravel roads…tough trekking for most bikers. It’s my understanding it is not too late to register to ride in the event (register tonight at Legacy Square). If you want to participate/watch but not ride, the best times are when they strike out at 7:00 a.m. Bikers begin gathering at 5:00 a.m. in Legacy Square to prepare their equipment, get their numbers and riding chip to record their times, and make sure their support team is all on the same page. Riders will head out on the north 50-mile loop and circle back into Ottawa mid to late morning and head south for the southern 50-mile loop. If you want to be there for the finishers, I’d guess around 2:00 the first will come riding back into Ottawa. Maybe the best time to participate is to celebrate with the participants at Not Lost Brewery following their completion of the race…after riding 100-miles many are in need of a few carbs. Most know the Kansas motto, Ad Astra per Aspera…which is Latin and roughly translates to the stars with difficulty. The organizers of this event say “Bad Astra” in Latin translates to “really cool bike race” but qualify the translation with a parenthetical “probably!!” Either way another fun weekend in Ottawa with participants traveling to our community from all around the region.


I don’t want to leave the topic of all the great September weekends without giving Ottawa crews a big huzzah for all the extra work they have done to make Ottawa look and show fabulous…it always takes a good house cleaning to entertain company…and the town is no exception. It takes a team! Thanks to the workers who mow the parks, work on the city streets and prepare for all the visitors…the town looked awesome and so far…so have the events!


AdventHealth Foundation Legacy Celebration:


Legacy Square was transformed Thursday evening into a real party space (few pictures here). The AdventHealth Foundation which raises money to support our hospital (mostly with capital purchases) held their annual gala in Legacy Square this year…appropriate since the signage designating the small pavilion as AdventHealth Pavilion at Legacy Square has just been installed. Projects the Foundation has supported previously are the expansion of the Emergency Department, renovation of the ambulatory space and most recently, the relocation of AdventHealth’s in-house pharmacy. Attendance was good, the food was awesome, the entertainment excellent. There were several food serving stations situated around the pavilion…each with different food selections – plus a dessert table. You could buy a mystery bag of wine or support the foundation by bidding at the live auction. It was all great fun and I’m anxious to learn how much was raised for the hospital this year. After the auction, attenders were entertained with great jazz by the Eboni Fondren Jazz Band. Eboni was an OU graduate who made a big deal about returning to Ottawa…and she is an awesome performer. Having performed on several very big stages, she alone was worth the price of the ticket. Good job by Amy Piersol, Executive Director of the AH Foundation, for a very well-organized event…and also for the event sponsors. As always, our corporate sponsors are big supporters of our hospital and are tremendous!


OHS Homecoming Week:


Maybe you noticed this week several downtown businesses with their windows painted, all supporting Ottawa High School…that means it’s homecoming week!! It’s been a busy week at the high school with every day having a different theme…from pajama day and favorite team jersey day to Spirit Day, it all creates fun and anticipation for the ultimate coronation of the Homecoming King and Queen at this Friday’s football game. Wednesday was the homecoming parade and block party on Main Street…(pictures here). All the fall teams, many OHS student organizations and the royalty candidates participated in the event. High School football is fun to watch…we spent many Friday night in Steve Grogan Stadium when we knew all the kids. Good luck to all the candidates…you are winners just to be selected as a candidate!!


Ryland Under 30:


Our own Ryland Miller received a nice award from the Kansas Department of Commerce. Last weekend he was notified he had been nominated and was awarded the honor of being in the 2022 inaugural class of NextGen Under 30 Kansas!! Quite a deal! We knew he had talent and a lot of ceiling…it’s nice when others recognize it in a public way. The State of Kansas, for their part, wants the best and brightest to live and work here in Kansas, noting our state has an abundance of opportunity, affordable cost of living and quality lifestyle. The purpose of the NextGen Under 30 Award acknowledges and respects this generation is different and will make decisions about career and lifestyle in a different manner than the generations which have gone before. They simply want to get out in front and make sure our best and brightest know they are seen and acknowledge their potential…in hopes it might be a factor in choosing Kansas for a lifetime career. For my part I’ll say they made a good choice with Ryland…he is supper dedicated and avid supporter of Ottawa. We hope he chooses to stay here for a lifetime. You can see the full list of winners here. Sherri and I agree…it’s fun to have the next generation active in the office. He is always telling us how we can do things easier with our phone or IT…but we have to gently steer him many times on certain protocols and procedures his generation hasn’t grasped yet. Each generation teaching and learning from the next and previous…as it should be! Congratulations Ryland…we always knew you would do great things!!




Another thing we intuitively know here in Ottawa…Kalmar is a great community supporter and corporate citizen. Most know September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month…in recognition of this, Kalmar special wrapped one of their trucks and in doing so memorialized a local champion, Silas Watkins, grandson of Louis and Linda Reed, who recently succumbed to the dreadful disease at the age of 5. You can see the truck here with the honor emblazed. Once the truck was complete, Kalmar did a reverse auction with their dealer network, with the proceeds going to fight childhood cancer. Kalmar reports the winning bid was record-breaking…so much so, they accepted the runner-up’s bid and wrapped a second truck – only to move more resources to fight the dreadful disease. How do you give enough credit to magnanimity such as this? All we can do is say thanks and awesome job…but it hardly seems enough! Thank you Kalmar…and all your employees too!!


Summer Wrap-Up:


It’s time to put the baseball gloves away…unless of course your team is headed to the postseason. Not so much for the Royals. John Sherman made a bold move this week by changing directions with the firing of Dayton Moore, General Manager of Baseball Operations for the KC Royals for the last 16 years. Sad to see Dayton go…we’ll always remember him for the two pennant wins and especially the 2015 World Series win. Cherry and I went to our last Royals game this week and decided to take Jase, our overly exuberant 4-year-old (pictures here). He had a great time…playing in the kids’ outfield experience, riding the carousel, playing put-put golf, running around the splash pad, climbing on the jungle gym, selecting several items of great exquisite dining, getting a new Royal hat…and of course the game – which saw several Royals hit home runs which come with fireworks. When we got in the car to go home, he couldn’t stop talking…and after 10-minutes went completely silent. When we got home, we carried him in and put him to bed without him moving a muscle…hopefully having sweet dreams of baseball and good times with grandma and grandpa…who by the way went straight to bed too…exhausted!!


Enjoy this great weather this weekend…we wait all year for fall to come – this is it! Talk to you next week…


Onward ~ John


Onward ~ John


Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce

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