Integrity

Weekend Warriors

Posted February 20, 2013 in Winterset

TGIF — now what?

Winning this race can be quite the coup. John Shaw shows one of his prize Racing Homers.

Winning this race can be quite the coup. John Shaw shows one of his prize Racing Homers.

Typically, the anticipated weekend means some very much deserved “Me Time.” However, the definition of “Me Time” for some Winterset residents can run the full gamut of preferred pastimes, including everything from leisurely weekend strolls through the park, to not so leisurely plummeting through the clear blue skies.

Talking with some of the area businessmen and women shows an insight into the mixed bag of opportunities that Winterset has to offer.

Just when local residents became used to seeing such sights as Dan Madison floating overhead in a colorful hot-air balloon, the skies became home to a whole new set of faces.

Earning his wings
Local dentist, William Keul, had always wanted to fly. And finally, in 1983, his wife Peggy gave him an anniversary gift that he would never be able to top. This gift would put him behind the wheel of a plane for his first flying lesson in a Cessna 152. And now, 30 years later, he’s a flight instructor and owns his own Beechcraft Bonanza airplane.

“It’s my therapy,” says Keul. “The sense of freedom and exhilaration you get from flying is an amazing thing. I’ve always had a passion for it, and now, as a flight instructor, I’ll get to teach others the joy of flying.”

A slightly different form of flying
Dan Ahrens, local grocery manager, would rather jump out of planes than actually fly them.

“Skydiving was actually a birthday gift for my wife Soni,” says Ahrens. “I got to go up with her though, and together we both tandem-jumped with instructors. You can’t believe the adrenaline rush you get from skydiving, and it’s so quiet. It’s just amazing.”

“I’m hoping to get certified this summer,” smiles Ahrens. “I’ve already got my target set for my first landing.”

Ahrens plans to celebrate his first solo flight by landing in the middle of the Fareway parking lot.

Flying with both feet on the ground
John Shaw, local realtor, enjoys flying but prefers his Racing Homers to be the ones in the sky.

“When I was young, I used to catch wild pigeons and raise them and let them fly,” explains Shaw. “And then I had a decorated Korean War veteran give me his Racing Homer that he used in the war to carry messages. That’s when I started racing them, but back then we did it by train. We would crate the birds, send them by rail to depots and then the birds would all be released at the same time and would fly back home. I remember taking second place once with a bird that was released 310 miles away. He was home in 10 days.”

Today Shaw continues to breed, raise and train his homers to race and is a member of the Des Moines Invitational Racing Club (DMI).

“But now, depending on the age of the bird, some of the races can be 100 to 600 miles,” he says. “But with a tailwind, they can fly up to 60-65 mph, so it isn’t that long before you see them again. That’s the fun part — getting to see them circling overhead and coming home.”

Restoring the land
Rick Breeding, business owner, prefers a weekend on the farm.

“I bought some farm ground that was pretty rugged,” says Breeding. “I’ve been working on the weekends restoring it back to the more native Oak Savannah Prairie lands.”

Breeding has worked the abandoned farm by clearing the invasive trees and brush in hopes that the native plant-life will reemerge.

“Our whole family enjoys hunting and fishing, so we are hoping that by improving the land, we will improve the wild life for future generations,” he says.

Setting her sights

Kristi Schirm and her family are avid archers and participate in deer hunting, turkey hunting, bow fishing and 3-D archery shoots. Schirm is pictured with her compound-bow   during a deer hunt, high up in her 20-foot tree stand.

Kristi Schirm and her family are avid archers and participate in deer hunting, turkey hunting, bow fishing and 3-D archery shoots. Schirm is pictured with her compound-bow during a deer hunt, high up in her 20-foot tree stand.

Weekends offer a time for Kristi Schirm to leave her head clerk duties behind at the post office and pick up her bow and join the family for weekend trips to 3D archery shoots.

“We’ve done this for over 20 years,” says Schirm. “We like to bow hunt for deer or turkey, but I’m not such a good shot when we do that.But bow fish, that I can do. I shoot pretty good then.”

Enjoying the land
On the weekends, Patty Weeks leaves the County Assessor’s office behind and hits the open road with her husband Steve. They both have their own Harley-Davidson motorcycles and have traveled all over the U.S. and Canada. When time doesn’t allow for long trips, the couple is content to stay close to home and camp, hike and kayak down the nearby rivers and streams.

We just have fun
Local banker, Kendall Kerns, enjoys his weekends with his family. And since his wife Tricia owns the Sk8-n-Station here in Winterset, that means a lot of weekends playing D.J. or filling sodas or working on remodeling plans for the rink. Regardless, he enjoys being with his family, and he admits there is nothing better than a moonlight skate with Tricia.

Enjoying the snow
Mike Rodgers, businessman, enjoys the snow and the thrill of snowmobiling.

“I always have,” he laughs. “If it doesn’t snow here, I just hook up the trailer and head for the Wisconsin trails.”

He explains that for the past 25 years, he and his sons and friends have enjoyed the sport of snowmobiling, and when time allows, they will even take the 550-mile trip to that favorite little place in Wisconsin where the snowmobiling trails are as endless as the fun.

Kendall and Tricia Kerns, owners of Sk8-n-Staion, pictured here with son, Jaxon, 3, enjoy their “time on wheels.”

Kendall and Tricia Kerns, owners of Sk8-n-Staion, pictured here with son, Jaxon, 3, enjoy their “time on wheels.”

Power tools, it’s a guy thing
Dave Reutzel leaves the pharmacy behind and spends his weekend-downtime drawing and designing patterns.

“I used to be big into softball and baseball. I guess somewhere along the line, I got old,” laughs Reutzel. “I’ve had to take up woodworking.”

Reutzel has actually been dabbling in wood since his seventh grade woodworking class.

“I’ve always been interested in designing and crafting things, especially in wood,” he explains. “I guess I just needed to wait until I had a family to design things for.”

He laughs and explains that he likes to make things and then give them away as gifts.

“Wishing wells, coffee tables, clocks … it’s my de-stresser, I enjoy it, and it seems to work for me,” he says.





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Christopher Blanchard