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Wynot to host fundraisers for school ag and industrial tech program

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WYNOT – Wynot Public Schools’ agriculture and industrial technology program is set to benefit from two fundraisers Saturday, Oct. 8.

One of the events is going to the dogs, as in the Wynot Dog & Jog 5K, which will start at 1 p.m. at Wynot High School and travel throughout town.

The other fundraiser will be Music in the Park, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Wynot City Park and feature 888 Road Band, a local group.

Paul Hans, the superintendent of the Wynot school district, said the idea for the 5K came when the producers of the reality TV show “Heartland Docs, DVM” contacted him.

The TV show stars Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder of Cedar County Veterinary Services in Hartington and airs on Nat Geo WILD.

“They wanted to do something for their show and they suggested a fundraiser,” Hans said. He suggested the fundraiser could benefit Wynot’s agriculture and industrial technology program.

Hans said the program went away a few years ago due to a teacher leaving and the school district not being able to find a replacement at that time.

Wynot wants to bring the program back – starting the 2023-24 academic year – with Lee Heimes, the school district’s physical education teacher, possibly in charge for the short term.

“Farming and agriculture – those kinds of things are a big part of our community,” Hans said. “We need to have that.”

The money raised from the 5K and Music in the Park will go toward purchasing the proper equipment and upgrading facilities for the program.

Hans said the 5K will be recorded for “Heartland Docs, DVM” to air on a future episode of the show.

“The intent was that they were going to be there to tape pieces of the event,” he said. “It’s for the show.”

Ben noted when he and Erin were at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Manhattan, Kan., 2000-02, there was always an annual Dog-N-Jog event.

“I organized that my senior year,” Ben said. “We’ve done a couple in the past for the clinic and thought it was time to revive the idea.

“Wynot is a very active community and we are excited to help raise some money for the school ag program, which is where all the proceeds will be donated,” he said.

This will be the first time for a Dog & Jog event in Wynot.

“We held one 14 or so years ago at our former equine facility in Coleridge and another one about eight years ago at the Vermillion, South Dakota, clinic we used to own,” Ben said.

Erin said Cedar County Veterinary Services will donate T-shirts for the 5K and helped get the ideas flowing for the event.

“But really the school and community of Wynot have taken ownership of all of the additional activities and fun events,” she said.

Other activities during the 5K include a chili feed, farmers’ market, bounce house, face painting and ring toss.

The chili feed, which will include cinnamon rolls, will run noon-4 p.m. The farmers’ market will be held inside the school gym.

In addition, representatives from the Heartland Humane Society of Yankton, S.D., and the LifeServe Blood Center of Sioux City, Iowa, will be on hand during the event.

“The Heartland Humane Society will be there with dogs that are available for adoption, so even if you don’t have a dog to jog with, maybe you’ll find your future companion,” Erin said.

As for the 5K, there is a $25 entry fee per person-dog pair. Also, all dogs will need to be on leashes. The rain date for the event is Oct. 9.

Erin noted the “race” is really for fun and “to be a great way to enjoy community, fall fellowship and also celebrate all of our beloved dogs.”

“I think there will be a lot of dogs going for a fun walk with their people,” she said. “The race route is in and around the city of Wynot.”

People who want to take part in the 5K may preregister by scanning the QR code on the event poster or ad, or they may register in person the day of the 5K as well.

Ben and Erin both noted they would definitely put together future Dog & Jog 5Ks if this year’s event in Wynot is successful.

As for the other fundraiser, Hans explained Music in the Park was added to have an event for the whole community.

“It is kind of a continuation of the Dog & Jog,” he said. “The funds go to the same place – but they’re two separate events.”

Hans noted he and Dennis and Deb Kruse are members of 888 Road Band, the group who will perform during Music in the Park.

The band’s name comes from the road where the home of Dennis and Deb is located. The group performs classic rock and country music.

“I’ve been playing drums since forever,” Hans said. “I’ve been in bands with Dennis for years. It’s just something that I like to do and it’s fun.”

While Hans bangs away on the drums, Dennis strums a guitar and Deb plays a keyboard during the band’s performances.

Two of the band’s members – Hans and Dennis – are Wynot alumni, while Deb was the instrumental and vocal music teacher for the school district for many years.

Food will be available for purchase during Music in the Park. Devil’s Den will be open for beverages.

People are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and coolers to the event.

Of the band performing for Music in the Park, Hans said, “We’ll just do it for free and give somebody a reason to come out and listen to music and have some food and spend some time at the park.” Donations to Wynot’s agriculture and industrial technology program will be encouraged during the event. Hans recalled a survey the school district sent out to area parents after he became the Wynot superintendent last year.

The survey asked how important it was to have an agriculture and industrial technology program at Wynot.

Hans noted about 94 percent of the survey’s respondents said the program was an absolute need.

“It became very clear to me that not having it was not good for us,” he said. “We need to get this back.” Bringing that program back to Wynot became an important mission, and the fundraisers are a step toward helping construct that into a reality.

“Kids wanted it, parents wanted it, our community needs it,” Hans said. “That was kind of the impetus to make this go forward.”