Despite rainout, festival in the black

News editor

A thunderstorm that passed through Marion County on Saturday caused the cancellation of the Saturday night headline concert, Chingawassa Days’ signature event. With the outdoor stage soaked, early-90s rockers FireHouse canceled their concert.

“We were watching the weather all weekend,” Chingawassa Days treasurer Jessie Nikkel said Monday.

She said the forecasts committee members saw said the storm wouldn’t be to Marion until later at night, when the concert would normally be wrapping up anyway. If they had known early in the afternoon that the storm would hit when it did, they could have moved the concert to the USD 408 Performing Arts Center.

Nikkel said longtime committee member Mike Powers had told her no concert had been completely rained out in his time on the committee. Some had ended earlier than expected, but this was the first complete cancellation.

Powers said FireHouse made the decision to cancel the concert, not the Chingawassa Days committee.

The contract with FireHouse didn’t allow the committee to recover any of its costs because of the rainout, she said. By making the trip to Marion and setting up for the concert, FireHouse had already incurred all of its expenses.

Despite the rainout and subsequent missed sales, Chingawassa Days finished in the black for this year’s festival, Nikkel said. The festival didn’t net as much money as the committee had hoped for with two headline concerts, but it didn’t lose money.

“We had a very good Friday night,” Nikkel said.

Powers said walk-up sales are the biggest factor in relative success from year to year. Chingawassa Days can estimate fairly accurately how many buttons will be presold, but walk-up sales vary considerably. With contemporary country music star performing, Friday night’s sales were excellent.

“We are selling at the gate like we have never sold at the gate before,” Powers said not long before Nichols took the stage.

After the festival, he said he thinks Chingawassa Days could have a pair of headline concerts again if the right opportunity presented itself.

Festival is big break for opening act

Country music duo Brooks & Walsh opened for Nichols on Friday, and it was one of their biggest gigs yet. Lucas Brooks and Gabe Walsh of Blue Rapids have been playing together for three years, mostly in bars and at parties.

“This is my first time at Chingawassa Days,” Walsh said. “It is awesome.”

He described their musical style as a blend of mainstream and “Red Dirt” country music. They have about 25 original songs and have released one independent album. They are working on their second album with more of a full-band sound with the help of Walsh’s brother, he said.

He said that opening for Nichols will go near the top of the duo’s musical resume.

Pros help with arm-wrestling tournament

The arm-wrestling tournament Saturday afternoon involved a handful of guest stars: national arm-wrestling competitors. Travis Berggren of McPherson served as referee for the tournament, and Mark Nutsch of Derby gave competitors tips on technique before it began and competed.

Nutsch said he doesn’t distinguish much between strength and technique.

“I think strength is the technique,” he said.

The way to defeat someone is to find the spot where you are stronger than they are. If they have a weak hand or wrist, you should go after that and roll their wrist back right at the beginning, he said as an example.

Most arm-wrestling matches are four to five seconds, Berggren said. A half-minute is a very long match, and the longest match he has ever been in was about a minute.

Berggren said it is better to lose a quick match than to win a minute-long one, because the person who loses quickly still has a fresh arm to compete in the consolation bracket. The winner of a long match will be exhausted, however.

Results

Men’s lightweight division

1. Chris Brewer; 2. Kyle Ogle; 3. Zach Hammond.

Men’s middleweight division

1. Chris Brewer; 2. John Nordquist; 3. Alex Roepke.

Men’s heavyweight division

1. Mark Nutsch; 2. Stuart Stevenson; 3. Thad Looper.

Women’s division

1. Julie Nutsch; 2. Donna Bernhardt; 3. Brandi Lewman.

Women’s age 50-plus division

1. Pam Jones; 2. Judy Tallifron; 3. Marilyn Cook.

Rock-paper-scissors tournament

The rock-paper-scissors tournament attracted 74 competitors. The top four finishers were Erica Johnson of Gardner, first; Michael Brasch of Herington, second; Robin Dicks of Marion, third; and Judy Pendergraft of Marion, fourth.

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