As you all may or may not know on rodeo Saturday the Convention and Visitors Bureau is again going out on the interstate to "kidnap" a family and treat them to a day filled with activities.
The suggestion to reinstate this tradition came from Shad Old who was then serving as a commission board member for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Old explained that back in the early days of rodeo, Jaycees would ride along Highway 60 on horseback and kidnap a family. They were treated to the rodeo and lodging for the night.
These days, riding a horse along Interstate 55 could be disastrous. Therefore, we have solicited DPS's aid in catching our family.
This year myself along with now Advisory board member Shad Old met up with Sikeston DPS Officer Todd Irwin and Scott County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tom Beardslee at the Clinton Building at 9:30 a.m. to head out to I-55 to locate the fortunate family.
The plan always is to locate a vehicle with out of state plates carrying a family of four. It's a little harder than you might think. We sit in the median and watch for this criteria. With the cars are traveling at 70 miles per hour and several of them having tinted windows it's hard to see exactly what they have in the back seat. Some of the cars that we thought might be the family were actually four adults, or two adults and two dogs.
Even when they meet the criteria, we must meet theirs. The first car we pulled over had plans to be at a 50th wedding anniversary and could not partake in the offer. By 10:30 a.m. we were getting a little worried that we might be out there all day when they drove by.
The DPS car cruised them to check out that they are actually a family of four and signaled to the Sheriff's car. The Sheriff's car pulled up behind this poor little family and hits the lights. It's really exciting to be in the car that hits the lights and not on the receiving end (not that that's ever happened to me).
So at 10:45 a.m. we had snagged our family. This cute little unsuspecting family happened to be from Dallas, Texas.
Actually, we double tagged them!
The DPS officer walks up to the car and the first thing he tells them is that they are not in any kind of trouble. He explains we have a tradition of kidnapping a family and rolling out the red carpet so to speak to them for the evening. They will be treated to activities at the Redneck BBQ the Chamber of Commerce is putting on, box seats at that evening's Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, meet and greet the entertainers, overnight accommodations and gifts from several merchants. All the while, the Chief Deputy Sheriff is watching the traffic.
When they accept the offer, the officers signal and Shad Old and I get out and explain the details of the coming events to them. Our family, Jon, Katie, Ian and Sydney Glass were so very excited and pleased that they were chosen.
We escorted them back to the Redneck BBQ where they were shackled and pictures were taken. Jon, got to be a judge for the barbecue contest and Katie, Ian, and Sydney were taken over to participate in the kids games. The fun begins and doesn't end until late that evening after the rodeo.
This is such a unique and exciting tradition. It would not be possible to offer such a sweet package to these guests with out the cooperation of our businesses and merchants who have so generously donated so many items for the gift basket we put together for the family.
The following businesses and merchants donating to the basket were: Best Western Coach House Inn, Paul's Christian Book Store, Sabona, Falkoffs, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, DJ's, Craftmaster Kidsmart, city of Sikeston, Linda's Western Store, Personal Expressions, Chamber of Commerce, Susie's, Accent Shop, Office Max, US Bank, Vanity Fair, Kitchen Collections, Country Music USA, Scrapbookin', Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores, Lambert's, the Jaycees, Withers Broadcasting and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
If you would like more information about the Convention and Visitors Bureau drop by my office in the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce building, 1 Industrial Drive.