Bissell Buzz 2016/10

The County Fair has come and gone and as usual a lot of fun was had by all, despite the hot weather.  Congratulations to all the prizewinners and well-done to each and every one for getting a project done and on display there.  The displays were all exceptional.  We also did our bit and decorated a booth in a theme of vintage red, white and blue. County Fair Booth

The closing of the Fair brings the start of Rodeo – such a tradition here in Phillipsburg!  In 2004 at the 75th celebration of the rodeo, Jon Weinman wrote: “The rodeo started months before the stock market crash of 1929. The Great Depression and the Dirty Thirties had hit north central Kansas, but bad times didn’t appear to affect the rodeo’s success. If anything, people wanted to forget their troubles for a while and the rodeo was a good place to do that. Attendance at the first rodeo in 1929 was 4,000, and three years later, attendance had grown to 20,000. During the worst times of the Dust Bowl, in 1935, the Sunday afternoon attendance smashed all records and 17,000 programs were printed and used.” Also: “In the ’60’s and ’70’s, a variety of television stars and recording artists were brought in each year for entertainment. Fess Parker, star of TV’s Daniel Boone, Festus and Sam the bartender of Gunsmoke fame, country music star Lynn Anderson, and Goober from the Andy Griffith Show all entertained in Phillipsburg during rodeo days. Surprisingly, attendance for their shows was poor and the acts were discontinued.”

Rodeo season also brings us the Rodeo Parade.  Sadly we had to withdraw at the last minute last year, but this year we will be back in the line-up.  Be on the lookout for us on Saturday, bringing something from the past on our float.

News on our Blacksmith Shop is that all the work is complete and on Saturday the forge was fired up for the first time.  Unfortunately it took longer than anticipated, but finally it is all systems go and we are ready to have demonstrations or workshops which can be organized for a Friday or Saturday.  If anyone is interested in such a hands-on workshop or demonstration, please make contact with us.  This will be a permanent setup and we hope to encourage more people to take an interest in this dying trade.  We are still in need of some tools used in a blacksmith shop, i.e. tongs, hammers and a post leg vise.Blacksmith shop

August also sees us honoring someone for our Wall of Fame.  To be a nominee, the person has to have made a considerable contribution to and/or impact on the community of Phillips County.  Come and join us on August 17th at 7pm, when we will be hosting a small function at the Fort and celebrate MaryBeth VanRoekel from Logan being our person for 2016.

Come and visit the Fort and see most aspects of the Prairie pioneer life being showcased.  Our hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am – 4pm and Saturday 9am – 2pm.  Closed on Sundays and Mondays.  Regular updates and photos are posted on our Facebook page.

We can be contacted on (785) 543-6212 or on email at

Remember entrance is FREE. See ya at the Fort – hopefully soon!!

Ruby Wiehman – Curator