click here to see a page of news from the November 9, 1958 “Gann Valley Chief” newspaper gann valley chief august 3
WHAT LOOKED LIKE well over 1,000 people line both sides of Gann Valley’s Main Street (above) for the parade last Saturday, July 31st. Gann Valley celebrated “A home on the range for 125 years.” The people of the little Buffalo County seat and the surrounding area hosted a celebration that they could all be proud of. After a 10:00 a.m. parade, the rest of the day and night were packed full of fun things to do and see.
- MANY PEOPLE PUT IN a lot of hard work and time to make the July 31, 2010 Gann Valley Quasquicentennial celebration a huge success. Two of the committee people are shown above during the festivities. Carol Grabin was selling American Legion raffle tickets at this particiular time. Arch Beal was making announcements over the public address system. TRUE DAKOTAN PHOTO/CRAIG WENZEL
GANN VALLEY AREA NATIVE BRYAN LUTTER brought mail to the 125th Anniversary celebration on July 31, 2010, “Pony Express Style”, according to postmaster Ellen Speck (right). After a brief stop in “The Valley” to deliver the mail, he was given a set of commemorative coins and he was off again, making one last mail delivery to the old Duncan post office. TRUE DAKOTAN PHOTO/CRAIG WENZEL
THIS GANN VALLEY float paid homage to the school days and the “Little Gym on the Prairie.” It came complete with a hoop, basketball players and cheerleaders all dressed in red and white. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
B EAN BAG GAMES were popular during the Gann Valley 125th Celebration held last Saturday, July 31. Lydell Krog organized the event as well as the Buffalo Chip throwing. The day concluded with a community supper followed by a street dance at the Gann Valley fire hall with music by the South Hand Band. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
THE DUCK POND was a popular place set up under several tents around the court house lawn. There were no losers that we could see at the pond as a prize was won every time. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
AN AIR BOUNCE GYM was added at the last minute and proved to be one of the more popular kids’ events at the Gann Valley 125th celebration. Five kids can be seen taking their turns and having a ball. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
THE GANN VALLEY Congregational Church came alive with the bright colors of beautiful quilts for a quilt show last Saturday, July 31st. It was one of the many events at the 125th celebration. The church has been closed for a few years but for an occasional funeral. The quilts ranged from the 1920s up to the present. TRUE DAKOTAN/DUKE WENZEL
THE SWANSON COWBOYOGRAPHY family is pictured above at the Gann Valley 125th Celebration. The family presents a living history program that allows hands-on interaction to learn about the cowboy way of life. Guests were treated to a sample of dutch oven goodies fresh off the campfire. Members of the family demonstrated cracking the whip, spinning the rope, and lassoing the bull. They presented stories as well as fiddle and guitar music. The family performs at many celebrations over the region and were very impressed with the Gann Valley 125th. “This is one great celebration,” commented Pa Swanson. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
KEN’S SERVICE, a Gann Valley Main Street business owned by Ken Wulff and his wife Elaine had a spectacular float built for the 125th Celebration parade. The gas pump reads “$1.25 a gallon,” a reminder of days gone by. Ken served as co-chairman of the 125th celebration along with Carol Grabin. They would be the first to say it took the whole town to put on the big celebration. It was truly a community coming together and making it happen in a big way. The 1,000 to 2,000 who came weren’t at all disappointed. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
THE LEGACY OF George and Laura Bridge was represented by several descendants on their parade unit. The float featured a picture of the legendary couple as well as an empty saddle with a cowboy hat over the horn. George and Laura would have been very pleased with their legacy. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
A COUPLE OF PROS show a large crowd of onlookers and contestants how to rope a rooster. Two-person teams first tossed a rope over the chicken’s head and worked it into position for the heelers. The chicken wrangler on the right in the picture has just caught the head and the heeler on the left is about to make a successful catch of both legs. The organizers are quite careful with the rooster and none were harmed during the competition during the Gann Valley 125th celebration.
BIG CROWDS gathered around the kids’ pedal pull during the Gann Valley 125th Celebration held last Saturday. The state sanctioned event was one of many entertaining games enjoyed by over 1,000 to 1,500 people during the all-day and into the night event. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
TRUE DAKOTAN PHOTO/DUKE ELAINE WULFF, a Gann Valley 125th Celebration committee member sells souvenirs under the red and white big top. Cups, bells and plates were just a few of the items. “We already sold out of the plates,” she said around mid-afternoon. “We had 70 so things are going pretty well.” Elaine serves as the Buffalo County Auditor and writes the Gann Valley news for newspapers in surrounding towns including the True Dakotan. Her husband Ken was the co-chairman of the event along with Carol Grabin.
Gann Valley News
by Elaine Wulff
Gann Valley celebrated its 125th birthday July 30 to August 31st. A wagon train traveled cross country from Shelby on Friday with a campfire supper and singing along the creek and tree shelter by Jim Lutter’s. A parade led by American Legion Posts from Gann Valley, Kimball, and Wessington Springs followed by floats, tractor parade, semi’s, fire trucks and the wagon train started off the activities on Saturday. A pony express rider (Bryan Lutter) delivered mail to the Gann Valley Post Office. The afternoon was busy with several kids’ games and pedal tractor pull. There was also a bean bag toss tournament, buffalo chip throw, rooster roping and entertainment by Yvonne Hollenbeck, the Nation’s #1 Award Winning Cowgirl Poet, and Swanson Cowboyagraphy with music, whip cracking, rope spinning and a chuckwagon cooking. A display of old time quits and pictures were shown at the Church. After the community supper, a drawing was held for the 125th Commemorative Quilt that was donated by Melva Rank in memory of her father, Melvin Rank. Mel Rank was also a long time Buffalo County Sheriff. Dave Ellwein, of Huron, was the lucky quilt raffle drawing winner. Drawings were also made for various other donated prizes. Saturday evening ended with the South Hand Band providing music for a dance. The celebration finalized with Church services on Sunday morning. A big Thank You to all the donators who helped make this Gann Valley 125th Celebration such a successful and memorable event for so many people.
Joe and Sheila Sinkie, of Hill city, spent Friday night at the Juanita Sinkie home. Joe showed the plow at the 125th Celebration Parade in Gann Valley that pioneer Henry Joe Sinkie used to plow the sod in the 1800’s.
Bill Winchester and Jerry Winchester and Steve Winchester, all of Longview, Washington, arrived Sunday at the Gene and Carol Grabin home. They spent a week visiting and left on the following Monday.
Friday to Sunday guests at the David and Judy Gaulke home included Laurene Wieczorek, of Pierre, Jerri Jo Aman, of Sioux falls, Zoe Ashley, of Pukwana, Rick and Terri Sue Carl, of Sioux Falls, Rodney Mebius and sister, Linda, of Aberdeen, Gary and Verna Thum, of Wessington Springs, and Dihl and Joanne Grohs, of Kimball.
Doris Erwin was a Monday thru Thursday guest in the Linda Ness home.
Sunday visitors in the Juanita Sinkie home were Carla McGregor and Grace, of Watertown, Connie Timmerman and Breonna, Wade and Lana Anfinson and Matt Marvig, of Waubay, and Mark Sinkie and Kylene. Most of these folks attended the 125th Celebration in Gann Valley.
Della Abraham, of Black Hawk, and Joy and Verlyn Eilertson, of Huron, were Saturday visitor in the Gene and Carol Grabin home.
Neva Parisien and Darla Zerpel, of Sioux Falls, spent Friday and Saturday night at the Linda Ness home.
Matt Sinkie, Taylor, Tyra, and Taryn, participated in the trail ride to Gann Valley on Friday.
All of Ellen Speck’s children and their families and her four sisters and one brother and cousins visited and attended the 125 Gann Valley Celebration.
SOME OF THE KIDS attending the Gann Valley 125th anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 31, 2010, were having a good time on the playground equipment. They were, from left, Skylie Wagner, Madeline Ingel, Brynna Sinkie, Rylie Roduner, McKenzie Roduner, Taryn Sinkie, Tyra Sinkie (Holding Bailey Roduner), Sadie Roduner, Kali Roduner, Remmie Roduner, Ridge Roduner, Garrett Van Zee, Anna Van Zee. Many more kids were over in the courthouse parking lot enjoying organized games. PHOTO/CRAIG WENZEL
GANN VALLEY POSTMASTER Ellen Speck holds up the four special stamps and 125th anniversary envelope cancellations last week. She also had a special veteran cancellation that tied in with the new war memorial at Pierre. The quilt in the picture was made by Melva Rank of Fort Thompson and was raffled off during the celebration. The quilt features the Gann Valley 125th logo on one side and a buffalo and star design on the other. Ellen has worked at the post office since 1966 and has been postmaster since 1997. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL
LOU HARRIS from south of Gann Valley
PUTTING A LONE TREE TO GOOD USE.... LOU HARRIS from south of Gann Valley took part in the parade along with many other horses and wagons at the Gann Valley 125th celebration. She is pictured (left) under a lone tree between Highway 45 and the Gann Valley access road. She was cooling off her horse as she waited for a ride back to the ranch after the parade where she would wash the horse down to cool him off. Lou and her horse are shown in a closer look above. PHOTO/DUKE WENZEL