In January 2015, a great event was born: the annual chamber dinner. The goal was to raise funds for the Little River Area Chamber of Commerce with the purpose of enhancing local businesses and the community. What it has become is the embodiment of what the community is all about: support for family, friends and neighbors, in good times and bad.
While the Kentucky Derby is called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” the 2016 Little River Address with the Kentucky Derby theme was the most exiting four hours in town March 12. Once again, business and community leaders gathered for a sold out steak dinner and raised a whopping $1,505 for Help for Hope, a special fund for friends and neighbors who face tragedies or unforeseen circumstances.
Erik Pederson, vice president of entrepreneurship for Network Kansas, presented the keynote address about the importance of community support in small towns. Emcee Kipp Cordell, dressed like a jockey, rallied the crowd throughout the evening and raced through the hall on a stick horse. There were Mint Juleps and those oh-so-famous derby hats.
The grand prize of the evening, best hat, went to Betsy Lafferty. Hers had a plume of iridescent peacock feathers and she was easy to spot all night. Jean Oswalt won the inaugural Grocery Dash In two short minutes, she blazed down the straightaway in the Garden of Eden and grabbed $420.51 worth of groceries, including 21 pounds of sugar. Jean also received a $100 credit to the meat counter!
The inaugural event dubbed “The State of Little River” updated community members about the phenomenal work of area non-profit agencies. With only two months between the idea and folks standing in line for a steak dinner, the planning committee had to work fast! In true Little River fashion, nearly every item at the dinner was purchased from local businesses.
About 105 people – 20 percent of Little River’s population – attended the dinner where representatives from 10 agencies spoke. Emcee Kipp Cordell conducted a lively auction. Items included a flat screen TV, an amazing print by video powerhouse Matt White, founder of Rockhouse Motion, and a one-of-a-kind handcrafted cutting board by local artisan Scott White, owner of SAW Creations. The evening ended on a great note thanks to local band, Rice County Line.
Auction items & winners
- Corporate table Yeti cups donated by Pride Ag Resources ACE Hardware – Will Godfrey
- Hand-crafted rocking horse donated by Herb Steineke- Randy Burdick
- Interior & exterior vehicle detail donated by Cody Luck – Will Godfrey
- Hackberry tray & cheese board donated by Jack Perry – Robyn Galyon
- Scenery print donated by RockHouse Motion – Bob Sadowsky
- $250 tree planting gift certificate donated by Erickson Custom Building – Royce Bruce
- Burger Basket-a-Month deal donated by Oliver’s Beef & Brew – Gary Miller
- Pizza-a-Month deal donated by the Garden of Eden – John Tietjens
- Hand-crafted cutting board donated by SAW Creations – Mike Richards
- Yeti cooler donated by Raleigh Insurance & Little River State Bank – Chet Cordell
- KC Royals getaway donated by Blue Sky Salon & GT&R Storage – Randy Burdock
- Rocking Bar B retreat donated by Tim & Terri Bornholdt – Trey Look
- Ruger Mark III Hunter 22 Long Rifle donated by Rice County Builders, Miller Plumbing & Rice County Rural Watershed District – Will Godfrey
This event could not have been possible with our corporate sponsors. A big Little River thank-you to: Oneok, Blue Sky Salon, MTC, Accelerated Mortgage Solutions, Sandstone Heights, Galyon Brothers Construction, Two-Twelve Main, Raleigh Insurance, Rice County Builders and Little River State Bank.