An inspirational and fun event at Arkansas Valley Fair
The Arkansas Valley Fair Silver King and Queen are Clem Cook and Charlotte Cook - not husband and wife - her husband was James D. Cook. They are both from the Bent County Nursing Center in Las Animas. His wife also came to the party, looking as pert and chipper as she did in their wedding picture. He was smoking a pipe in the picture, which was probably in character, since he was a therapist.
Judges for the event were Donna Abert, Debbie Butler and Jeannie Johannes.
Charlotte Cook loves to collect salt and pepper shakers, remember farm, family, home and fun and embroider. She has 28 great-grandchildren and 16 grandchildren. Her celebrity crush is Tom Selleck. That brought cheers from the audience.
Clem Cook married the pretty girl in the wedding picture in 1952. They moved to Colorado in 1953 with a new baby. In 1956 he became employed as a therapist in Las Animas. Later they moved to Pueblo. With his wife, he raised over a hundred foster children. She also had a daycare. They adopted two of the children and they have adopted grandchildren. “The Arkansas Valley is a good place to raise children,” he said. “That’s the most important job - raising children!”
Describing the color yellow to a blind person, he would say, “It’s the brightest color in the spectrum!” If he won the lotto, they would send him to the pen, because it wouldn’t be his ticket - he doesn’t play the lotto. For his super power, he would choose healing.
Maxine Herrera, first runner-up for queen, told MC Amber Hopkins her talent is perseverance. She has lost a leg and a couple of fingers, but she’s still hanging in there and having fun. She has two sisters and a brother. Her mom and dad were both from New Mexico. Maxine was born in Manzanola. She grew up there. She moved to Rocky Ford when she married Paulo in 1970. Her celebrity crush is her husband, she told Hopkins. If she were a crayon, she would be purple, because that’s her favorite color. She is now at Pioneer Nursing Center in Rocky Ford.
Maxine worked at Dean’s Food in La Junta for 28 years until the doctor told her she couldn’t work any more. Before that she worked for the migrant school as a cook for three years. They have one son, George “Jorge” Herrera. He married Joann Gallegos. She has three grandchildren, Felicia, 30, Paul, 29 and Becca, 28, is involved with Catholic Church groups and has volunteered at church. For her super power, she would walk and get around again.
First runner-up for Silver King was Frank D. Price, who is now living at Crowley County Nursing Home . Price is married to Jan, daughter of Edith and Lloyd Hall., whom he met at the Senior Center Dance in La Junta. They have been married since 2001, and they danced to the music at the party. Frank had two brothers and a sister, but he was 10 years younger than they. The family had a ranch at Trinchera. Frank sang “In the Garden” for his talent. He has a nice clear voice.
Champion dancer, though, has to go to second runner-up Kenneth McMonigal from the Pioneer Center. He danced a very lively country-western version with his partner to the rock n roll song, “Twist the Night Away.” If he could be in a time machine and go anywhere he wanted, he would go back to Indiana.
The entertainer for the event was Melinda Rusher, accompanied by Marilyn Hagan. She sang a great variety of mostly old-time songs, and on some of them, people sang along. McGonigal and his partner jumped up and danced to “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” demonstrating they can waltz, too. Other songs sung by Rusher were “Sidewalks of New York,” “Red River Valley” (popular sing-along), “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain” (another popular sing-along), “Oh, Susanna,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “America the Beautiful.” Her final song was “Somebody Bigger than You and I.”
The luncheon was catered by Frontier Diner at Cheraw. The sandwiches were super-tender pulled pork, with macaroni salad and baked beans. Cupcakes were from Sweet Indulgence in Rocky Ford.