Bob Mitchell: Hillbilly has lasting tenure

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

This Thursday and Friday will be one of the lasting events in Cassville’s activity schedule, the 38th annual Hillbilly Industrial Golf Tournament.

It’s a unique event for Cassville, as other communities have attempted something similar only to have the event collapse after a couple of years. While recent events have strayed somewhat from the original intent, the fact that the lasting feature of the Hillbilly has something to say about its purpose.

With the idea actually originating out of Colorado Springs, the Hillbilly came at the height of Cassville’s manufacturing employment when the City of Seven Valleys could boast of more people working at local industries than there were people actually living in the city limits. Providing emphasis for the event was a situation in Colorado Springs where a substantial industry announced a move to Boulder, and stating it was for lack of appreciation from the people and government of their existing location. This was highly publicized in the newspaper there during one of our visits to Colorado.

IDC-Chamber co-op

Returning home with the intention of this not happening in Cassville, members of the Industrial Development Corp. and the Chamber of Commerce decided to formulate a program to bring community and manufacturing interests together to express appreciation for their plants and possibly give both sides an opportunity to exchange ideas.

Dick Moger and I would head both the idea and eventual event committee and formulate a program to finance the effort. Initial costs were provided mostly from transportation companies who were serving the Cassville plants and also utility firms providing services.

Each industry was given so many representatives that would be given a free ride to the Hillbilly—thought to be an appropriate name—with additional participants permitted at a set fee. To our astonishment, each industry took full advantage to participate, and all those who were asked to, contributed financially, and did so promptly.

Golf course helped

Cassville’s Golf Course played a large part in the success of the Hillbilly. Even when it consisted of only nine holes, the opportunity to play the links had been open to many of the invitees.

To round out a full tournament for two days, local participants were invited, based basically on their contribution and support of the Cassville community. This was one of the more difficult phases of developing the process and was probably achieved with a few hard feelings. Despite any problems, development moved to a smooth stage.

Some phases of the first Hillbilly were covered in a recent column concerning John Justin and his boot company’s tenure in Cassville, which was a significant factor in early continuances.

Some necessary changes

Recent years have seen major changes in both the personnel and participation of the Hillbilly. First was a move from Friday-Saturday to a Thursday-Friday format to give out-of-town guests an opportunity to spend a weekend with their families. As industry participation decreased in following years it became necessary to included more local golfers on the now 18-hole coarse.

There was no problem in making this move as anxious individuals were ready to put on their golf shoes, shine-up their clubs and become a part of the now highly popular event.

Meal preparation also changed with preparation moving from committee members to other providers. One of the most popular of these providers was John Hendricks who was the founder of Jersey’s.

Fishing in August

It was always my opinion to find something else to do during the day in August besides fishing, but there were always those who continued to seek the fish in deep water. Now, fishing at night was a different bunch of sticks as many tournaments and dark-to-dawn outings were on tap for a number of years.

For the sake of the ardent angler, here’s the fishing information for this month: The best fishing is on the 2nd through 6th, 14th 15th and 30th and 31st; and good fishing is on the 16th, 23rd, 24th and 29th.

Notes from the spike

You cat lovers might be interested in knowing that a feline has 32 muscles in each ear. Also, cats have over 100 vocal sounds, but dogs have about 10.

If you are an average American, in your lifetime, you will spend an average of six months waiting at red stoplights.

What is the only English word that ends in “mt”? According to my source, the answer would be “dreamt.”

There had to be a reason for wanting to rid the calendar of the month of February. Only those of you familiar with what goes on in the sky would have known this fact, February is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

If all fish are like goldfish, there is a reason for their getting hooked. A goldfish reportedly has a memory span of three seconds.

Stay safe

Listen to the medical authorities, and those with scientific knowledge, stay safe, and wear a mask!

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.