Some random thoughts while getting ready for an extremely busy next two weeks:
1. It sounds like Emporia is in good stead to bring back the Pro Disc Golf Association World Amateurs or perhaps host another PDGA major event. During an interview right after the awards ceremony, the PDGA tourney organizer told me Emporia has to bid for consideration but would almost automatically be on the short list of sites if it did so. After how things went the past week, it makes no sense for the city not to bid. The only complaint I heard was whether Peter Pan Park was shut down for public use, and given the amount of activities and potential interaction between disc golfers and the public, that’s impressive.
This is just the latest example of what I have been saying for some time: Emporia hosts well, and it really hosts sports events well. There is a reason we have five state championship events (football, volleyball, basketball, softball and baeball) for different classifications here. There’s a reason why specialty sports events like the Dirty Kanza do so well. Simply put, it’s the attitude of the organizers and the volunteers involved. People here care about the experience others have while they come to town. They also realize they are battling with towns of similar size desperately wanting the same amount of prestige that comes with having these special events, and they are up against larger cities where hosting big-time events would seem more of a natural fit. Whatever the reason, the PDGA World Amateurs turned out to be another feather in Emporia’s cap…as if we here expected anything different.
2. No rest for the weary as Emporia now pushes toward Twinkie Time — as in the first-ever Twinkie Festival on Monday.
This should be a blast at Flinthills Mall. Games, contests galore and Twinkies all over the place. Looking from the outside in, it may see a bit strange to celebrate a cream-filled snack cake in this manner. However, look at where Hostess was last fall (liquidating, taking over 500 jobs out of the local economy) and look at the national reaction to the disappearance of Hostess products (namely the Twinkie). It is indeed time to celebrate, and with Emporia’s plant now producing more Twinkies than any other plant in the United States, given its new flagship status, there’s no better place to celebrate than right here.
One thing to consider for next year: who’s going to pony up the over $10,000 needed to make the eating contest sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating…and bring the guys like Joey Chestnut to town for the event…
3. Color me an irascible middle-age man, but the Kansas City Royals’ upcoming bobblehead for Relish, one of the three hot dog racers seen at every home game, is one of the dumber ideas I’ve seen. And the reason is it’s not unique to Kansas City.
Let me explain. First, why waste a perfectly good bobblehead on a hot dog racer?
Second, the oversized costume racers are pretty much everywhere at major league and minor league parks. It’s fun to watch, but honestly, if you have seen one hot dog derby, you have pretty much seen them all.
What I’m saying is customize the derbies. For Kansas City, make it barbecue-related. Dress up one contestant in a brisket costume, one as a rib and one as a bottle of sauce. St. Louis? Make it beer — and open up the Anheuser-Busch advertising possibilities in the process. Even minor league parks can get in the act. Omaha comes to mind because it’s my hometown and also because it’s known for steak, so you have your steak, horseradish and baked potato contestants.
In other words, the next time you see Mustard splattering on the Kauffman Stadium track down the stretch, remind yourself how these contests would be more engaging if organizers thought outside the bun.