Ozarks Viewpoints

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Back in the early 1970s, there were many pleasant outings between Cassville and Shell Knob business people and interests. Although Cassville seldom won the fishing tournaments or the golf matches on Cedar Creek Course, they would shell out for the meal and enjoy the fellowship between the two communities.

The gatherings originally started with five-men fishing outings with some of the original Shell Knob developers inviting the city boys to an outing. This group included Howard McIlrath, Cecil Davis, Gene Cooper, Stu Stewart and Johnny Roberts. None of these originals are still living. On the Cassville side were: Herschel Stehlik, Jim Patterson, myself, J.C. Kenney and T.J. Smading.


In those events, the Cassville anglers got outsmarted by the lakers furnishing the boats and running them throughout the day. Subsequently, Cassville anglers were not in the most favorable positions for fishing, or at least catching. When accused of this in later years, the group would only provide one of their best grins, with no comment.

At one of the events, some of the boats were not outfitted with live wells. Fish landed in those days were placed on a stringer and placed outside the boat in the water. During a couple of pairs, the stringers became entangled in brush and fish by Cassville anglers, that could have pushed the contest, were dragged off and thus not counted in the weigh-in. Whether this was intentional or not was never determined.

Event grew

The competition quickly grew in popularity until there were not many businesses in Cassville and even fewer in Shell Knob at the time, that were not represented in the spring-time adventure.

Just recently, Corky Stehlik came up with a photo of one early year that was placed with Allen Sparks. This Cassville group included 19 businessmen and fishing enthusiasts from Cassville.

This particular year, which might have been the lone year Cassville won, those in the group were: T. J. Smading, Carter Koon, J.C. Kenney, Marlee Edie, Dr. Richard Cozad, Danny Lynch, Truman Baker, Tom Cardin, Corky Stehlik, Jim Patterson, Bob Mitchell, J.C. Duncan, Allen Sparks, Gary Peters, Steve Burch, Herschel Stehlik, Carol Chenoweth, Bill Easley and Gene Taggart.

Numbers continued to grow for several years until it became a burden for Patterson to arrange, especially when weather would be less than desirable resulting in cancellations at the last minute forcing a hurried search for replacements. For this reason, more than any other, the competition was dropped after a number of successful years of good relations between the two communities.

Turned to golf

Shell Knob's dominance of completion between the two communities continued for a number of years when the then operator of Cedar Creek Golf Course, Skeeter Lewis, invited the city folks to that facility for a competition. Here again, Cassville golfers might have been snookered by the host since his members were well acquainted with the greens and the fairways on the virtual par-three layout.

Any close scores were eventually settled on the putting green, where the Lakers were once again more familiar with the layouts and the breaks. Lewis, who had sight problems, most usually prospered in post match competition at this part of the layout, which pleased him to a high degree. Cassville participants enjoyed his abilities about as much as he did.

Cassville's turn

After taking it on the chin for a number of trips to the lake links, Cassville golfers finally convinced their counterparts to come to the town's course for some competition. On this longer full facility, the town golfers excelled for a couple of years until the event finally came to a close.

At Cassville, as at Cedar Creek, steak cookouts were the order of the day. Mrs. Lewis was in charge of the food at their place, and various members at Cassville did the honors.

It was up to the Lakers to pay the bill at each event on the local links, the first opportunity for Shell Knob to fork-out funds in the gatherings. Unfortunately, some of the anglers who had whipped Cassville for so many years, were not golfers, thus avoiding a payback situation.

About the weather

Remember what the Almanac had to say about the weather this month? Well, according to the latter days of January, the same situation might be in store for at least parts of the country. So, if you have learned anything about existence in cold weather, you might ought to make a note and be prepared for coming weeks.

A reminder about zero cold readings might bring a note from some of the old timers who are still around. They used to predict fewer ticks and chiggers in the summer following severe winter weather, which would freeze the ground where those troublesome little boogers go for the winter.

Cold weather has to have some benefit!