Outside Looking In
I've signed up for thousands of drawings at local events, vendors shows, county fairs, store promotions and more during my lifetime. I've also purchased enough raffle tickets during that same time to wallpaper every room in my home.
You see, I'm the type of person that if I had to close my eyes and draw a number out of a hat to see what prize I had won, I would probably grab the hat size tag by mistake.
And despite all those years of writing my name, address and phone number down on a piece of paper, folding it up and dropping it into a box, glass jar or ice cream pail, the only thing I had ever won was a 12-pack of Mt. Dew nearly 20 years ago.
I was fortunate enough to have been selected as one of the three winners of the Visit Marshall Shop Hop recently. I was in Minneota working on some stories for the paper and decided to participate in the event to help promote local businesses.
Those participating in the event, which was designed to also celebrate Lyon County's 150th anniversary this year, had to pick up a passport at any number of business locations in communities throughout Lyon County. Each shopper was then required to patronize at least eight of the 25 businesses in at least two of the six communities participating in the Shop Hop and have their passport stamped.
I visited a few more than the required number of businesses, had my passport stamped at each one and then turned in my passport at the Lyon County Historical Museum in Marshall.
Surprise did not even come close to my reaction when I was informed I had won. I finally was able to find out what winning tastes like. It was like sinking my teeth into a thick New York strip.
For the long-awaited end to my prize drought I received several nice prizes, including a Lyon County Images book, a commemorative Lyon County Sesquicentennial t-shirt and two gift cards from local businesses.
I thought of having them all bronzed and saved for posterity sake, thinking this will be the one and only time I win anything. But then I started thinking about raffles and drawings and why businesses really have them. They are all designed with one purpose in mind; to raise money for a certain cause. So purchasing a ticket is really benefitting others.
And it's the feeling of helping others that is as good as winning a physical prize. And it took me until I had actually had my name drawn to realize that.
Mascot getting new look
Those coming into the Mascot to renew a subscription or to place an ad may have noticed the office is getting a little bit of a facelift.
Three walls have been given a fresher look with white paint, while the north wall and the trim have been splashed with royal blue.
A large "Mascot" has been stenciled on the west wall of the office.
More changes are in the works that will make the office area much more inviting to customers. We will have a few large intriguing photos from Mascot photographers that have appeared in the paper over the years. Eventually, the front of the counter will also get an interesting and historical makeover.
We've already heard a lot of positive things about the new look. We're hoping the next step will be just as appealing.
As I was leaving the Mascot on Thursday, Countryside Golf Club General Manager Tony Esping spotted me and told me about a new Junior Golf League he had formed. With golf participation having waned in recent years, I was skeptical that there would be enough participants for a competitive league.
With the first day of the league just an hour away, I let Esping know that I would run over to the golf course and get a photo.
What I soon found out was how sick and tired the athletes are of not getting to compete. While Esping figured 10 to 12 teams would sign up (I guessed less than that), the clubhouse was flooded with kids in grades 7-12 to play (see separate story on another page). A total of 30 teams, or 60 kids, signed up to play in the league.
What was even more fun to see were all the fun they were having laughing and joking. It was as it they all got paroled and allowed to get outside and compete again.