A farm boy turned performer: that’s Cole Rath! Born and raised in Treynor, you can find Cole gigging at many of the local rural bars in Pottawattamie County and beyond. Newt’s Place in Shelby was last week and you can find him at The Back Forty in Macedonia and Silos in Treynor in the next few weeks.
Why go see him? Well, besides the fact he can sing and he’ll raise a glass with ya, he told me his goal is to help people “forget about their crazy lives for a while.” A performer whose first thought is about making sure the crowd is having a good time over his thoughts of making it in the music world is probably a guy I want to support. When I asked why people should come out to see him, he told me he likes to have a good time! He said that a night with people drinking, dancing, and singing is always a good night, and the more engagement with the crowd, the better the show. That’s logic you sure can’t argue with!
And he sings something for everyone! He plays older country (George Straight is an idol), newer country like Kip Moore and Jon Pardi, but he’s not afraid to mix in some classic rock like Tom Petty, Steve Miller Band, and the Eagles. Plus, he writes his own stuff, too, and has written a few with a friend, Cameron Eckmann when he used to be in a duo, Country Two Piece. He tries to mix in a few of his more well-known ones when he can, and after 7 years playing music in the area, he’s gained a pretty good following.
We all know the music industry isn’t an easy one, and payin’ your dues can be a long road. If you get a chance, show him a little love and head over to his page on Facebook: Cole Rath Acoustic. Check out his upcoming dates and we’ll see you there!
Thanks for being a Pott. County Artist, Cole!
It’s an extended weekend of activities in Pott. Co. this week! Usually I share Friday and Saturday night events, but what a crazy week! It’s not just the weekend this time around!
Tonight, Cole Rath will be playing at Newt’s Place in Shelby. Cole is touring the area and here’s one of your first chances to catch him! He’ll start playing at 8:30.
Saturday is actually pretty bare. If one were to guess, it might have something to do with State Wrestling and District Basketball. Just a guess.
Sunday, you can see Paul Hart play at Prairie Crossing Winery in Treynor as part of their Winter Concert Series. He’ll be there at 1pm. Plus, there’s wine!
Monday, you can avoid cooking by heading to the Treynor American Legion’s Fish Fry! Sounds yummy! It runs 5:30 to 8:30.
Tuesday, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday which I can’t appreciate enough, will be another chance to avoid the kitchen as you can head to the Carson Community Building for chicken and noodles! It runs from 5 to 7 and is a free will donation sponsored by the Carson Presbyterian Church.
Wednesday, you have 2 options. The Ash Wednesday services will be held at the Carson Methodist Church at 7pm or if you are interested in OmniTel fiber optics, they will be hosting an informational meeting from 6 to 7:30pm at the Oakland Community Building.
Like I said, it’s the weekend that just doesn’t end this week, but there are opportunities to eat well and hear some great music! Can’t beat that!
Make your plans!
#PottCounty #SmallTownLifeIsTheBestLife #SupportLocal
You know what’s even better than a fantastic businesswoman succeeding? One that lifts up her hometown and gives back! And that is certainly the case of Niki Ford!
If you don’t know Niki, she’s someone you need to meet. She’s a Pott. County graduate and now co-owns her own business, TiNik, with Tim Craft. They recently put up a 5000 square foot building on Main Street in Oakland where Mrs. Ford graduated. They make truck equipment and it can be seen in many locations across Oakland, and actually the whole United States. But this isn’t really about her being an amazing businesswoman – which she is, by the way. It’s about Niki’s heart.
In full disclosure, I’ve known Niki since we were kids. She has to overcome health issues on a daily basis which she would never point out, but she’s a fighter, and she uses that fight to serve the Riverside community. Her family hosts pool parties for the softball team. She just recently gave pens and can koozies for teacher care packages. However, this week, she did something that went above and beyond even her usual: she started a Facebook page called the Riverside Teacher/Coach Wishlist. The About page says: “This group is being created for teachers and coaches to let the public know what they are needing/wanting for their classrooms or teams. The Riverside community is very generous and willing to help if we know help is needed.” Niki is definitely one of the first on that list! With she and her husband raising 3 kids in the Riverside District, Niki has put her efforts into this community.
Her idea to start the page has already paid off. A couple of days ago, she had #WishlistWednesday and asked if there were needs. Headphones and winter gloves were asked for and in the first week, more than $500 worth of merchandise was purchased to help out the Riverside School District students and staff! Who knows where it will lead, but with Niki at the helm, you can be assured, it will be a success.
Niki Ford embodies the hometown girl made good and is leading the way as a true Pottawattamie County leader! Thanks, Niki, for being that person!
If you'd like to join the group and help support Riverside staff, click here.
#PottCounty #SmallTownLifeIsTheBestLife #SupportLocal #HometownGirlMadeGood
It’s Valentine’s Day and I have your last Pott. County Couple of the week: Al and Stacey Sorensen! A couple of you readers out there told me I needed a couple that told it like it is. Well, here they are!
The Sorensens actually met when Al was Stacey’s Ag instructor and FFA advisor at Walnut High School. It wasn’t until 1994 when they ran into each other through a mutual friend that the two started dating. In fact, their first date was actually to a wedding on July 31, 1994. Less than one year later, the couple themselves were married!
How did it all happen? Well, Al actually asked Stacey to marry him on Valentine’s Day 25 years ago today! They were at Stacey’s parents’ house and he gave her a wrapped clothing box. She opened it up and it was a shirt of his she always liked to wear and he had a typical smart-mouth comment about how he never got to wear it anyway and as she pulled it out, the ring box was in the shirt. Needless to say, she said, “yes” and they started talking wedding plans only to realize her plans of a Christmas wedding weren’t about to happen during his ever-sacred wrestling season! (Do note both are loyal wrestling fans even today.) Next option: summer. So on July 1, 1995, Al and Stacey got married at the Peace Church in Walnut and true to small town gossip, everyone assumed they had a fast wedding because she was pregnant! The joke was on them. It was still another 2 years before they had kids. Now 25 years later with 2 grown children, the Sorensens laugh about all of it, which they do about pretty much everything.
I asked what annoying habits they each had and in their usual joking demeanor, they told me I didn’t have 4 pages for all of them! But Stacey told me the nutshell version is that Al is a packrat, he doesn’t pick up after himself, he doesn’t put the throw pillows back on the bed properly, and he snores. Al told me that Stacey has to put everything away as an excessive neat freak and she used to vacuum 6 times a day when the kids were little to which he threatened divorce. You gotta love those idiosyncrasies!
But when I asked the couple for advice they’d give a new couple, they both turned serious. Al said, “Don’t be in a hurry.” And Stacey added that “sometimes you gotta power-through and give 90% when the other person can only give 10%.” She suggested you need to see each other at your worst and best and that living together isn’t a bad way to go. Both also agreed that you have to be on the same page for raising kids.
When we talked about the secret to marriage, their answer was simple: trust and communication. They said you just gotta put it out there and say what you have to say even if there’s some cuss words involved! Stacey said “It won’t always be rosy. There are tough times and disagreements you have to get through.” Ain’t that the truth?
What does the couple see in their future? Hopefully, a 50th anniversary with family and friends fully celebrating and a slew of grandkids. according to Stacey! Al added in that “maybe we can retire someday, too.”
But as we celebrate this Valentine’s Day, let us appreciate that the Sorensens’ senses of humor have gotten them to a silver anniversary on this day of true love and that is certainly not to be discounted.
Thanks for being a ray of entertainment, Al and Stacey! You are a legendary Pott. County Couple!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!
Do you know Tony and Lindsey Eblen? They are today’s Pott. County Couple! They grew up in Walnut and now reside in Treynor. In fact, they grew up just 3 blocks apart, but they didn’t really know each other till high school, but that all changed with they started dating in 1995.
Two proms and 3 kids later, here they are!
The happy couple got engaged after 4 years of dating and what a night it was! Tony was excited to propose. He took Lindsey to her favorite restaurant and then headed to ConAgra Park. On a warm August night, there were bugs and people everywhere! Tony kept trying to find a good, underpopulated spot to ask her and Lindsey kept trying to leave because the bugs were eating her alive, but frustrations aside, Tony got her asked and it was an emphatic “yes!”
On September 29, 2001, the Eblens got married in the same church Lindsey’s parents were married in. Now 19 years later, the couple still relies on their faith and says that quality time together is what keeps them connected. Tony is a firefighter so his schedule is an interesting one. Because of that, Lindsey chooses to work part-time. In the kids’ earlier days, they would manage their schedules so one parent was always home. Now, they have the pleasure of manipulating their schedules to be off at the same time for things like remodeling their home together. That is a whole ‘nother level of commitment, if you ask me, and they said they enjoyed it! Clearly, they know a lot about marriage!
So I asked them the secret to marriage. They said that it isn’t a 50-50 split. It’s both people giving 100% and although it rarely works out that both can give 100% at the same time, if both people are trying – it will work. Lindsey also told me that putting the other’s happiness above your own helps out, too.
I have to say I was impressed with their responses when I posed the question of what advice they would give to new couples. Lindsey told me that people should become educated on how a marriage works. She said you get training for a job or go to college for a career, so you should prepare for marriage. She said they went to some marriage conferences in their early years and it was extremely helpful in defining themselves as a couple. Tony added that you need to take your responsibility seriously and live your life with a purpose. He told me that he has a motto, “Christian husband and father” in that order. As long as he remembers that, he says the rest falls into place. I sure don’t doubt that for the two of them.
When we talked about the future and what they hoped it would hold, Tony told me the big dream would be to have a private plane (he would be the pilot) to travel the world and Lindsey agreed that retiring and traveling were definitely in the plans. However, the consensus was that their greatest hope would be that they would be “a God-honoring husband and wife that raised God-honoring children.”
Seriously…it doesn’t get much more inspiring than that!
They lead not with words, but by actions. Thanks, Tony and Lindsey, for being another picture-perfect Pott. County Couple!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!
How do Pott. Co. Couples celebrate? Any way they want, but they definitely celebrate! So put those best practices to work even if you haven’t done a thing yet!
What to do? What to buy? How do I give him/her a big surprise? No worries!
Thinking supper out? We’ve got a few options for you.
The Bar’N and Grill in Carson has some great Valentine Dinners for Two – have steak or fettuccine alfredo with starters and sides that sound yum-my!
Silos in Treynor is offering their Valentine’s Dinner – get a ribeye steak with sides or chicken alfredo and wine is a $1 off all night from 5 to 11 pm.
The Palace Event Center in Treynor will be putting on Sweethearts Night Out with ribeye steak and sides but also the comedian, Tyler Walsh. You must make a reservation though!
Or too busy on Friday night? The Back Forty in Macedonia is having prime rib and steak Saturday night and the acoustic band, Open Interest.
And then there’s the idea that instead of waiting forever in line at some place in the city, why not try a local place you always say you’re going to try, but never do! What about The Dew Drop Inn in McClelland for a burger or the new Mexican restaurant in Underwood, Garcia’s, or an old staple like the Pink Poodle in Crescent? You seriously can’t go wrong with that kind of Pott. Co. charm!
The Avoca Flower Shop on Main Street in Avoca will be ready for you, as will Blossoms in Oakland!
Thinking you need a last-minute gift instead? I can cover that, too!
Women’s clothing and accessories? Try The Twisted Sisters Boutique or Side Line Tees in Neola, Blossoms in Oakland, or B Restored in Walnut. Maybe a unique piece of jewelry or heart-shaped pottery? Head to The Painted Camel in Donia! What about a new piece of furniture to make the perfect house even better? Try Amy’s Attic in Carson for refurbished one-of-a-kinds or head to Walnut for an antique one-of-a-kind! Think the Granary Mall or Plum Krazy!
Thinking gift cards?
How about a gift card to Polish’d on Avoca’s Main Street or The Nail Bar in Carson for that mani they crave? What about a gift card to their favorite hair cut place like Shear Designs in Oakland or the Mane Attraction in Treynor? You can’t go wrong with a massage either! You can get her one at Ahh-spirations in Oakland, in Shelby at Bell Massage, at Massages by Monique in Treynor, Taylor’s Trims and Tans in Underwood, or in Crescent at the Compassionate Wellness Center.
Thinking a manly “man’s man” gift?
What about beef jerky from Gress Locker in Hancock? Or some filets from Minden Meat Market? Maybe a box of chocolates from the Oakland Pharmacy or a new leaf blower from AgriVision in Macedonia or some fresh roasted coffee beans from Treynor Java Supply? Maybe a socket set from JP Lumber or a steering wheel cover from NAPA? And you can’t go wrong with new Muck boots for the spring rains at Hildebrand Feed in Oakland!
Thinking a fun night out?
Hit Minden Bowl for a couple of games. Catch a movie at the Dreamland Theatre in Carson or The Phoenix in Neola. Book a night at The Macedonia House AirBnB for the two of you or do some roller-skating at UMBA Hall in Underwood! There are no limits!
Hopefully, that gets you started on making this Valentine’s Day the perfect Valentine’s Day! Wishing you love and Dove chocolate!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today’s Pott. County Couple is Bruce and Ruby Bentley. I love their story!
You have to hear it!
Bruce and Ruby met in 6th grade in Mrs. Lawson’s class. Ruby swears Bruce didn’t even notice her, but by sophomore year, they were dating. I asked about how they got engaged and Bruce told me, “Ruby’s mother told me to ask her!” Here’s the crazy part: they actually got married in March of their senior year!
On March 20, 1966, a Sunday, Bruce, Ruby, and their 2 families headed to Nebraska on a top secret mission to a little white Lutheran church where they got married! They ate supper with the family, got a motel room, and the next day, they went to school! The couple lived at their separate parents’ homes till they graduated from Carson-Macedonia High School. Can you even imagine?
After graduating from high school, they fixed up an old farmhouse in Macedonia, and Bruce continued what he knew best: feeding cattle! According to him, he’s been feeding cattle since he could carry a 5 gallon bucket! Together, the love birds took on farming and raising a family of 5. Neither one is an easy feat but the Bentleys have done it with grace. They currently only have around 800 head in the feedlot but used to run 1900 and have spent the last five years or so, selling manure, which they refer to as their “cash crop.”
Now 5 children, 17 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren later, the couple is still happily married with all 5 of their children living in a 7-mile radius! That is some Pott. County allegiance!
I asked the two of them what the secret to marriage is - Bruce instantly answered, “Love!” Ruby told me marriage isn’t going to be easy. Both added on that communication and telling each other what you’re thinking is important along with faith in God. Bruce told me, “God is our referee!” You gotta love that! They sure know how to finish each other’s sentences.
Ruby told me her piles of stuff might bother Bruce on occasion and Bruce told me his cattle addiction might get old, but both agreed that you just gotta learn to deal with the other’s stuff!
With 54 years under their belt, it seems like they have it figured out! When I asked what they saw for the future, Ruby quickly responded they knew they’d be together and they only hoped they could be healthy, enjoy their family, and their every day.
Sounds like a good way to live, Bruce and Ruby. Thanks for showing us the meaning of a Pott. County Couple.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!
This blog is brought to you by Western Ventures, LLC.
It’s Pottawattamie County Couples Week here on the WIDA blog! I always say there’s a lot to love about Pott. Co. but apparently, there’s also a lot of love in Pott. Co., too!
Do you happen to know Michael and Frankie Knudsen? Frankie is originally from the Oakland area and Michael from Neola.
Their story is super cute!
They met walking down the aisle… at their best friends’ wedding! That’s right! Frankie and Jackie Akers go way back and it just so happened that Michael and Cody were friends, too. The couple was paired up to walk down the aisle for the Akers wedding and the moment Michael saw her, he knew he was going to marry her!
They met in May and had their first date to Longhorn Steak House and the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in June. Frankie’s birthday rolled around in December and Michael re-enacted their first date in order to ask her hand in marriage. It might have been a lot colder and they might have been the only ones crazy enough to be on the bridge at night in December but she said “yes!” On July 28, 2012, the couple was married in her parents’ backyard with a reception at the Carson Community Center.
Michael knows how to get under Frankie’s skin which drives her crazy. He knows she hates being corrected and might be a little bit of a procrastinator when it comes to putting things away which drives him kinda loco, but eight and a half years down the road with a house Michael designed and built in Carson, 2 kids, and a dog, they are still a happy couple! They say their secret to marriage is having a similar sense of humor! “If you can laugh together through the good and bad, what more do you need?” I sure don’t disagree!
From what I’ve seen, the couple is a pretty humble couple that sticks together. In fact, they agreed to host their daughter’s pre-school Valentine’s Day party! How cute is that?
I asked them what advice they’d give to a couple considering marriage and got some sound thoughts. They said to be sure and discuss financial goals and expectations before you get married. The couple agreed “money talk can make or break a relationship.” Perhaps my favorite piece of advice they gave though was that you should always be courteous and have good manners with your spouse. Sometimes, our spouses get the worst of us, when they actually deserve the best! Great words of wisdom, you two!
But at the end of the day, Michael and Frankie are a perfect example of a young couple living the Pott. County lifestyle. In a state where we believe in “Iowa Nice,” this couple truly fits the bill!
Happy Valentine’s Day Week, Everyone!
Food, dancing, and silent auction shopping – it’s all things for all people this Saturday night (Feb. 8) for the Pottawattamie County Fair Fundraiser at the Walnut Community Center.
There’s nothing I love more than helping a cause and having fun doing it! Here’s your chance: The money raised will pay for the new handicap accessible restrooms and concession stand in the grand stand area. Plus, should they raise enough, rumor has it the other bathrooms might get fixed, too! If you’ve been to the fairgrounds lately, you know that the East Pott. County Fair participation numbers are back up thanks to the dedication of a lot of great families and fair-lovers. You also know that these restrooms are a huge necessity for fair-goers, 4-Hers, FFAers, and their families!
The festivities start at 5:00. The Pott. Co. Fair Board will be serving pulled pork sandwiches and homemade sides from 5:00 to 7:00 at the Walnut Community Center, formerly known as Walnut High School. (If you haven’t been in it lately, wait till you see it!)
They’ve also lined up an ENORMOUS silent auction to be going on during the supper and they’re doing a 50/50 raffle. Check out all the stuff they have for you to bid on! And there are still a few surprises to come! Gotta be there to see them!
At 7:30, the dance will kick off with the band, Third Wish, playing till 11:30. The Walnut Community Center will also be providing a cash bar, too. Definitely meant to be a party! So rally your friends, family, and neighbors and head to Walnut for a rockin’ good time!
On a personal note, I ask that even if you can’t make it, consider making a donation. This fairgrounds is about old-fashioned family fun where kids learn responsibility, commitment, work ethic, and how to have fun in an appropriate way. If you want to believe in America again, start with the families on those fairgrounds. It’s where our future leaders come from.