Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great Family, Good Food, and A Grand Function. Kansas City here we come.

We arrived on Monday around noon and our daughter, Jennifer, and granddaughter, Jamie, arrived around 6 P.M. and we went to one of our favorite BBQ restaurants, Bandanas.  We were also joined by Ted the Traveling Turtle.  You can follow Ted and also see some fascinating facts about his travels on his blog.  This was a week of volunteering at the SkillsUSA National Competition held at numerous venues throughout Kansas City: Kemper Arena, Bartle Hall, several hotels and Municipal Auditorium. Over 7,000 students competed in contests ranging from construction (cabinetmaking, residential plumbing, etc.) to automotive (collision repair, aviation Maintenance, Diesel Equipment Technology, etc.) to nursing and culinary occupations and many more.  It is an amazing competition to watch and one that instills pride in the youth of America that still honors hands on skills that built these United States and continues to support its productivity.

Most of the hands-on skill competitions take place under one roof on the 2 floors of Bartle Hall.


To see some more pictures of the competition you can check this website, Skills Pictures.

Jennifer has volunteered to help run the Job Interview Contest for over 15 years.  For several years she was the only one running that contest, getting over 20 judges, organizing the competition, and scoring the contestants.  It is a huge job and we are so proud of her and honored to help her in this endeavor.  We love hearing the responses to the Job Interview questions that these State Gold Medal winners give – inspiring. 

As soon as the final competition for the 2 day Job Interview competition was over, Jenny and Jamie left for California.  Jenny is a licensed pyrotechnic and has several fireworks shows to setup and shoot over the 4th of July holiday starting on July 2nd.  Last year we went home to help with some shows, but this year Jenny has an adequate crew.

We were staying for the Awards Ceremony, picking up our mail, and doing some shopping yesterday. 

We got a surprise phone call when shopping from our son, Jason. Our daughter-in-law, Olivia, broke her leg in 2 places the night before.  We sure wish her a speedy recovery as they have 2 very active boys, Logan, age 9 and a super active Ryan, age 3). 


About 4 p.m. we went to the  American Royal for the VIP reception. 


We received instructions for entering the Kemper Arena and took Ted’s body double stand-in to the ceremony. (Jenny made a photograph of Ted and then cut out around Ted… looks pretty real).  The reverse projection of the SkillsUSA logo is showing because we are actually back-stage going to our special seats in the arena.


There are 97 contests where Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are awarded.  It is very well organized and we were finished in 3 hours even with 2 breaks for installations, recognitions, Harley Motorcycle giveaway, and a presentation by the CEO of Lowe’s who has pledged $5 million in support of SkillsUSA until 2014.

California received 7 Gold medals, 3 Silver medals, and 4 Bronze medals.  California has done better in the past (when Tom was a consultant for the CA Dept. of Ed., but that’s another story.)

Well over 10,000 students, advisors and support people were in the Kemper Arena and the atmosphere was electric.


Whew, the busy week was over and we sighed a great relief when we heard from Jenny that they were experiencing car trouble in Albuquerque.  We hope to hear more soon and hope they find and fix the trouble very soon without too much delay. We’re praying for both our children’s family even more now.  


We will be staying until Monday then heading to Edwardsville, IL, for the July 4th holiday.  We will be halfway between Alton and St Louis, a couple of our favorite places to watch fireworks. This is not even to mention Tom’s very favorite place for frozen custard, Bobby’s.

We may even be Caching on the Road Again real soon, Barbara, Tom & Pansy

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