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By Jesse Utz 

Bits and pieces from a busy weekend

Jess Shut Up


I had a busy weekend, just like a bunch of you did, so here is a synopsis of big things that happened over the weekend.

Football was huge this weekend. LR Raiders 5-0 and an epic comeback and win in overtime in Oroville. Huskies win, Cougars win, Seahawks win.

OK, back to the Raiders. Something special is happening in Raider Country. Football is undefeated in its first five games for the first time since Brad Oliver and Levi Seekins put on the colors for LR. Ironically, both have their fingers in the success of this team too, but APX, the workout and conditioning program at LR, gets the bulk of the credit, along with a huge student buy-in and coaches and staff who are passionate and dedicated to the kids. All sports are showing the positive effects of bigger, stronger, faster kids that are dominating their sports. You had better go watch volleyball, football, soccer and cross country while they are still improving, and getting better and better each week.

Speaking of Raiders, the 86ers were in town this weekend and I must say there are some pretty cool cats in that class from LR. I had the privilege of giving them a tour of the new and old school Saturday, and it was fun to watch as they reminisced in the old building and were in awe of the new. As we went by Mr. Darnold’s room and Mrs. Proctor’s, the kids in them returned and they just had to see their old teachers’ new classrooms. They even had to write on the board and leave notes, just like they did back in 1986. Although that was with chalk. I loved hearing the stories as we sat around the fire pits at the Fusion Café. I learned a lot and so did they. This class is a loving, passionate class. That was evident, and as they reminisced about lost classmates and told their favorite stories about them, I was honored to be a part of this celebration.

This was a very difficult weekend for others in the community. With the loss of a young man in Almira, Logan Thompson, in a tragic accident earlier in the week, and his memorial last weekend, many of the area firefighters and community members were in mourning. This is the same young man who not very long ago was down here protecting us from the wildfires that threatened our homes. He is a hero and was honored as one Saturday. Fire trucks and firefighters, along with family and friends, gathered around a rural cemetery and said their goodbyes to an awesome young man. His spirit will live on in those he touched.

Sunday morning I heard more sad news. A local lady who had pioneered rodeo and wrestling in the area lost her battle with cancer. Debbi Achord, a strong lady I considered a friend, will forever be remembered for her passion for helping young men and women in 4-H and in the rodeo arena. She also helped every year with Raider wrestling, especially in their big home tournaments. During the past few weeks, as her battle was winding down, her words on Facebook were some of the most beautiful and inspiring. She was helping others right to the very end. I will never forget her strength and love and kind words.

Also, as I was writing this, I found out that my wife, Karrie, lost an aunt over the weekend. Artie Hale, wife of Pete Hale, passed away suddenly while fighting an illness. She will be remembered as a strong woman. Our hearts go out to her kids, grandkids and Pete.

It is funny sometimes that I forget what I write about. Many times over the weekend someone would come up and tell me how something I wrote touched them, and I would have a hard time remembering when I wrote that. Or someone will come up and try to figure out how they know me, and I think it is because I have lived here in Coulee County my whole life, but inevitably it is because they see my mug in the paper every week. It could be worse, I guess; it could be because they read about me in Coulee Cops. With that being said, thank you for allowing me to come into your lives every week, even if it is just to line the bottom of a bird cage. (Do people even still do that?) I’m just saying.

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