The Ottumwa Courier

June 23, 2013

Hedrick residents enthusiastic about their town

Courier staff writer

---- — HEDRICK -- People who choose small-town living may tell you they feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to keeping their community viable.

Though many of the residents and visitors to Hedrick BBQ Days seemed to be there for fun, others said their reasons for attending were two-fold.

Hedrick resident Judy Short said she doesn't let the traffic and crowds keep her away from the business district.

"You've got to stay in town and support your community," she said Saturday.

Hundreds of residents seemed to agree. Despite the large number of visitors, it wasn't hard to find local people having a good time.

"We come every year," said Kandi Williams, also of Hedrick.

Three of her children had just participated in one of the games sponsored by the Hedrick Fire Department. A cable slung about 10 feet above the ground has a painted keg threaded onto it. There are two teams on either end of the cable. Two children and a firefighter battle two other children and a firefighter in an effort to push the keg over the boundary line. The three were completely soaked, not necessarily a bad thing on a 90 degree day.

While one of their children chose the fire hose as her favorite part of the festival, one of their sons, said her husband, Alton Williams, was looking forward to the "tractor pull," in which kids get to show off their strength peddling a heavy weight for several feet. The boy is pretty strong, acknowledged Alton. In fact, their son actually won last year.

"It's nice to see someone give back to one of these little towns," said Kandi about the BBQ Days festivities. "We don't want to see these little towns disappear."

"We're also having a lot of fun," said Jessica Breon, another Hedrick resident.

She said the event really is a big draw for the town. The parade Saturday morning had "a good turnout, and the kids had a lot of fun," she said.

Short said if locals want to see other people support Hedrick, the locals have a duty to be the first in line.

"We're not very big, but we can be mighty," she said.

To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark