‘Freedom rings’ at area chamber banquet

By Tova Fruchtman: Quay County SUn

Someone may have thought they were at a very premature Fourth of July celebration at the Logan-Ute Lake Chamber banquet Monday night.

The theme for the banquet was “Let Freedom Ring,” and the Logan Civic Center was decorated accordingly with red, white and blue balloons on the walls and red, white and blue tablecloths.

Some attendees even dressed the part, wearing red, white or blue. One man even wore and American flag tie.

“Because of our soldiers, with many of them in Iraq, we just want to show solidarity,” said Chamber Board President Jimmy Liles of the theme. “It wouldn1t bother me if we had this theme every year.”

But the banquet was about more than just decorations and patriotism.

More than 100 people attended for a brisket dinner, a night of entertainment and a live auction ‹ all to help support the area chamber of commerce.

City wide awards were also given.

Marie Sims was honored as Citizen of the Year, Gayle Burdick and Cherish’s Restaurant were named Business of the Year and Chase Kulback was named Student of the Year.

The entertainment, Damon Whaley from Dalhart, Texas kept the crowd laughing for much of the time.

With impressions, jokes, stories and music, most of the attendees had their eyes on Whaley during the entire performance.

Whaley — who performed last year at the Rattler Reunion — did impressions of Jimmy Stewart, Walter Cronkite, Forrest Gump, Kermit the Frog, President Bill Clinton, President Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter.

The crowd exploded with laughter again and again at his jokes.

However, Whaley1s show ended on a more serious note.

“I encourage everyone to go and use your gifts in the community,” he said before closing with a song sung in the voice of Jimmy Stuart.

He received a standing ovation from he crowd.

Logan resident Sandy Mapes said Whaley’s performance was her favorite part of the evening.

“This has been a fun evening,” said Mapes, who said she attends the banquet every year,

But the entertainment didn1t stop there. Logan resident Mark Daniel called a live auction that board members said raised about $700.

People bought art by County Commissioner Bill Curry, bobble-head cats and two coconut pies from Cherish’s sold for $70 each.

Dianne Crowley, who was visiting Logan from Lubbock, also said she enjoyed the evening.

“The entertainment was really good. The food was good. The auction was fun. Just the whole atmosphere of the small town,” she said.