More than 100 were on hand to enjoy burgers and a viewing of the Rutland Centennial “Pride of the Prairie” video on the evening of Wednesday, July 25, at the Rutland Town Hall. The Rutland Community Club sponsored the event to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the production of “The World’s Largest Hamburger” by the Rutland community back on June 26, 1982. The big burger was just one of many events and activities that kept the community hopping on the weekend of June 25, 26 & 27, 1982, as well as for most of the year preceding the big weekend, but it was the one that drew the most attention, and the biggest crowd. The huge hamburger patty weighed 3,591 pounds, and was fried on a skillet that was 16 feet in diameter and 2½ inches deep. In addition to the hamburger, the community had also manufactured the skillet and the propane burner generating more than 1.5 million BTU’s that were used to fry it. A crane furnished by Bernard Mahrer Construction of Rutland, and operated by a youthful Mitch Mahrer, was used to flip the burger so it could be fried on both sides. Rutland’s creation was certified as “The World’s Largest Hamburger” by the Guinness Book of World Records. Although Rutland’s record for the biggest hamburger patty has been surpassed several times in the past 3 decades, it is believed that the people of the Rutland community are the only ones to have had the chutzpah to flip it and fry it on both sides. One of the giant frying pan plates used in the production of the world’s largest hamburger stands on edge on the northeast corner of Lou Sanderson Field, and is used as a billboard to proclaim the accomplishment. Back in 1982, the Rutland Community Club contracted with Video Arts of Fargo to produce a documentary of the Centennial Celebration, and anyone interested can obtain a digital video disk of the event from Video Arts. The huge burner and the other skillet plate are still on hand, waiting for another use, so, stand by. This is the little city that can, and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Rutland’s special ray of sunshine, Ray Erickson, departed this life last week, on the evening of Wednesday, July 25, while a patient at Essentia Hospital in Fargo. Ray was 88 years old at the time of his death and, as he was fond of informing new acquaintances, he would have been 90 next year. Raymond Hubert Erickson was born on August 13, 1923, in Britton SD to Hubert & Esther (Fredrickson) Erickson of this community. He grew up on the Erickson family farm a mile east and a mile south of Rutland, the same farm he lived on for the next 88 years and 11 months, and attended school at Ransom #4, about ¾ mile from the farm. Ray was well known for his self deprecating humor, and he often claimed to have been the original “Flower Child,” preceding the hippies of the 60’s by at least 3 decades, because one of his teachers at the country school had once referred to him as a “blooming idiot.” He also claimed to have been “the smartest one in the dummy class,” a claim which none of his classmates disputed. Upon completing his formal education, Ray worked on the family farm with his Dad, and also worked for several local businesses, hauling both soft and hard coal for the Rutland elevator, and working on local construction projects. If a volunteer was needed, Ray could be depended upon to step forward, particularly if the volunteer job involved good music, dancing and meeting people. On September 28, 1949, Ray and his sweetheart and dance partner for the next 6 decades, Phyllis Lock, daughter of the late Martin & Tillie Lock of Rutland Township, were united in marriage at Webster SD. The newlyweds were a popular couple, and so many well-wishers crowded into the Lutheran Ladies Aid Hall during their wedding reception that the floor joists broke under the weight of the crowd, providing Ray with his next carpenter job. Ray & Phyllis made the farm in Ransom Township their home throughout their marriage, and Ray boasted that in more than 62 years they had only spent 2 days in which they hadn’t seen each other. He often stated that he had married very well, and that he felt bad for Phyllis because he didn’t think that she had married as well as he had. Ray was active in the community, serving on the Nordland Lutheran Church Council, the Farmers Home Administration Board, as a director of Rutland Housing, as a 4-H leader and as the unofficial morale officer for Rutland and vicinity. Ray and Phyllis were active members of Nordland Lutheran Church, the Rutland Community Club and Rutland Senior Citizens Club. They rarely missed an opportunity to go dancing, and Ray was known to get out on the floor and dance by himself if he couldn’t find a partner. He particularly enjoyed Earl Fust’s rendition of the country classic, “The Wabash Cannonball.” Ray also performed in many of Rutland’s community theatrical productions, plunging into each role with enthusiasm and humor. His performance, in drag, as Miss Sugar Ray in the “Miss Rutland Pageant 1990” spoof was memorable, and still elicits a laugh from those who witnessed it. He also was well known for his huge store of jokes, card tricks, coin tricks, brain teasers and original songs that he made up while on the tractor doing field work. Ray’s songs were usually inspired by actual events, and if they hadn’t happened the way he remembered them, they should have. “It’s my story,” he would say, “and I’ll tell it the way I want to. When it’s your story, you can tell it your way.” Ray is survived by Phyllis, his wife of nearly 63 years, of Rutland; by 1 daughter, Diane (Mrs. Mike) Kulzer of Rutland; by 2 sons Lyle (Ann) Erickson of Rutland; and Larry Erickson of Rutland; by 11 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren;1 brother, Arnold Erickson of Green River AZ; and, by numerous nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and by a sister, Lorraine. The funeral for Ray Erickson was held at 9:30 a.m.on Monday, July 30, in Nordland Lutheran Church, with a prayer service being held at 7:00 on the evening of Sunday, July 29, also at Nordland, with the Rev. Ben Durbin officiating. Price Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Interment was in the Rutland Cemetery. Jeanne Leinen of Rutland wrote the following reminiscence of Ray that was included by the family in the funeral tract.
“She was his “favorite” daughter each time he asked if I had met her . . . and each time Diane would quip, “Dad, I am your only daughter” . . . and the come back was always the same, “but you’re still my favorite!” What a sweet way of letting the whole world know she was so very special in her daddy’s eyes.
When he arrived on the scene you always could be assured there would be NO dull moments until he had departed . . .
I lost count of the times I was asked if I liked chicken? I was only silly enough to say “yes” the first time knowing, full-well from then on “Do you wanna neck” was going to follow an answer, “yes.”
The same was true with asking if I liked bacon? That one came later so was rather unsure if I should say yes, but the mischievous gleam in his eyes always made me want to humor his response . . . and sure enough he’d reply, “Do you wanna strip?”
The great joy he found in all his brain teasers he would taunt me into trying, none of which could I figure out without his help, which in turn, made him feel important.
I shall forever remember the day he said, “You know I didn’t like school. Yep, this one day I was talkin’ and the teacher said, ‘Don’t you get smart!’ So I didn’t!” For a moment I waited for him to finish; then realized he had . . . I spent the remainder of the day giggling each time I thought of it.
His “going home” shall leave a void in our community, while Heaven, for all eternity, shall never be the same thanks to Raymond.
It was an honor to call him friend.”
The Rutland community extends its sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Raymond Erickson, Rutland’s poet laureate and, by his own admission, God’s gift to all beautiful women.
Lauren Kulzer, eldest daughter of Stephan & Ann Kulzer of Brandon SD, visited in Rutland, at the home of her grandparents, Norbert & Beverly Kulzer, from Thursday, July 26 to Sunday, July 29. Lauren and Beverly took Norbert out to dinner at the Pizza Ranch in Wahpeton on his birthday, Friday, July 27, also touring the zoo at Chahinkapa Park and taking a ride on the carousel as part of Grandpa’s big day. Norbert reports that he was particularly impressed by the orangutan and the 2 tigers which are part of the zoo’s menagerie. Lauren will be a high school sophomore this coming school year.
A wedding supper honoring Mr. Rick Bosse of Brampton and Ms. Sherry Swanson of Britton was held on the evening of Saturday, July 28, at The Rutland General Store. Rick is an employee of the farming and ranching business operated by Steve, Mike & Mark Wyum of this community. The bride is employed in Britton. The couple were married in an afternoon ceremony in Lake City SD, then enjoyed a reception banquet in Rutland and concluded the evening with a dance at The Hunters in Britton. The couple’s many friends here extend their congratulations, and wish them a long and happy life together.
Silver Lake Park manager Dennis Goltz reports that the number of campers utilizing the Park’s facilities is heading for a record in 2012. Due to the early Spring, and the decline in the number of lake resorts in neighboring States, campers started arriving in big numbers back in May, and usage hasn’t let up, yet, states Dennis. Silver Lake Park is located 3 miles west and 2 miles south of Rutland.
On the late afternoon and early evening of Sunday, July 29, the Lariat Bar hosted a mid-summer community picnic on Rutland’s Main Street. The Lariat furnished burgers, bratwursts, potato salad and other picnic fare to the crowd, and also organized games, such as: potato sack races; water balloon toss; and, cherry seed spitting contest, among others. Shannon Bergh won the cherry seed spitting contest with an effort of nearly 40 feet, reports Rebecca Christensen of the Lariat’s staff, and his cousin, Nathan Bergh, was a close second. The north half of the 100 Block on Main Street was blocked off for the event, a warm-up for the Fourth Annual Rutland Rib Fest, scheduled for Saturday, August 25 at the same location.
Calvin Jacobson had his backhoe in action on the south side of Rutland on Tuesday, July 31, repairing a break in the water main just south of Cooper Street. Calvin reports that the plumbing, heating and excavating business has been brisk this year.
The Rutland Sportsmen’s Club’s Annual Youth Day is scheduled for Sunday, August 19, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at The John Narum Memorial Trap & Rifle Range 3 miles west and 1½ mile south of Rutland. Youngsters are invited to join Sportsmen’s Club members for an afternoon of experience with the shooting sports, archery and angling. Prizes will be awarded to participants, and lunch will be available on the grounds. The entire event is free for participating youngsters, with the Sportsmen’s Club and other sponsors picking up the tab for ammunition, food and other expenses. All participants should be accompanied by a parent or some other responsible adult. Professional trap shooter Tom Knapp is tentatively scheduled to give a shooting exhibition during the event. Mr. Knapp has been sponsored by Federal Ammunition and Binelli Firearms in the past, and has had a regularly scheduled show on the Outdoors Channel on the local cable TV system.
Some upcoming events in Rutland include: Rutland City Council meeting at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, August 6, at the Rutland Town Hall; Rutland Sportsmen’s Club meeting on the evening of Thursday, August 9, at the Club’s grounds north of Silver Lake; and, Rutland Community Club meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 13, at the Rutland Town Hall.
As of August 1, 2012, the United States Postal Service defaulted on its obligation to pay an unnecessarily excessive amount in to the USPS Employee’s Retirement Fund. Back in 2006, the then GOP dominated Congress imposed the burden on the Postal Service, possibly as part of some devious plan to wreck the Postal Service, but more likely as the result of just plain old blundering incompetence. In April of this year, the U. S. Senate passed legislation to fix the Postal Service’s financial problems, retain post offices and deliver the mail, but the U. S. House of Representatives has failed to act, leading to the current debacle. Fortunately for the Employee’s Retirement Fund, its coffers are already full, with assets sufficient to fund the retirement of Postal Service employees who have not yet been born. If the current leadership of the U. S. House of Representatives is incapable of acting to preserve a service that is essential to the American economy, their bosses, the American people, should probably consider replacing them with more pragmatic, rational leadership that can get the ball rolling. The current Congress seems to have been on a 2 year Tea Party break. It’s time for them to stop the Tea Party, and get back to work.
This coming Tuesday, August 7, will mark the 70th anniversary of the day that U. S. Marines of the First Marine Division landed on the South Pacific island of Guadalcanal, taking America’s first offensive action against the Axis powers since the nation had been blasted into World War II eight months earlier by the Japanese surprise attack on the U. S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was a tough fight on Guadalcanal, and success was often in doubt in the early days of the contest. The U.S. Navy suffered a defeat at the hands of the Japanese Navy a few days after the initial landing, and had to withdraw from the area before all troops and supplies had been landed, leaving those Marines ashore to fend for, and defend themselves, against superior numbers of enemy soldiers for several weeks. When the Navy returned with reinforcements in September, the 164th Infantry Regiment, the North Dakota Army National Guard, became the first U. S. Army unit to engage in offensive action against the enemy in World War II. Several local men, including Dennis Prindiville and Ben Thornberg of Rutland, served in that unit. The exploits of the 164th Infantry Regiment are recorded in the annals of the United States Marine Corps, and Marine General A. A. Vandegrift, commander of U. S. forces on Guadalcanal, referred to them as “the 164th Marines,” quite a compliment from a Marine Corps General to an Army unit. Very few of those men, strong men armed, now survive, but 70 years ago they took the fight to the enemy, turned the tide of war and started America down the road to victory. For that, they deserve our remembrance, our recognition, our thanks and our praise.
Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. For more information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook pages while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to keep the pressure on North Dakota’s Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.