July 30, 2009 at 7:36 a.m.

Triathlon was great, but the volunteers were the heroes...soup at the County Fair?

Triathlon was great, but the volunteers were the heroes...soup at the County Fair?
Triathlon was great, but the volunteers were the heroes...soup at the County Fair?

On Sunday, Midwest Sports Events held their annual Chisago Lakes Triathlon. Over 1,400 triathletes converged in Chisago City early Sunday morning to take part in a grueling day long race.

I was lucky enough to take pictures of the swimmers as they entered Chisago Lake at Paradise Park. It was surprising to me how much comraderie there was among triathletes, even those who did not know each other.

After the swim, I hopped on my scooter to assist with the bike portion of the race. Basically, we drive up and down the course looking for bikers with problems and bikers that are drafting too close to the bike in front of them. I could not believe how thankful and polite the triathletes were. I must have been thanked about 300 times during the race.

After I completed assisting the bikers, I had dreams of coming home and relaxing and maybe read the sunday paper. But when I pulled into my driveway, Bonita Carlson, my wife Cheryl and about six children were absolutely swamped running the water station on the run portion of the race. Needless to say, I jumped right in filling waters for them to hand out to the runners. To my surprise, the runners, who had now been racing for four hours, were still so thankful to all the volunteers for supplying water and cheering for them. When you take time out of your life to volunteer, it all makes it worthwhile when you hear that you are appreciated.

With all of that being said, I think the real heros from the triathlon were the hundreds of volunteers who gave up their Sunday to make this year's triathlon the best ever. Without you the volunteers, none of this would have been possible. And a special thanks to Tangi and the whole staff at the Chisago Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce for their countless hours dedicated to the triathlon. They are probably still sleeping today after all their hard work. That's okay...they deserve a little rest.

I would also like to give some thanks to Beth Heines. For those of you who do not know Beth, she is the chef at the dining hall in the 4H building at the Chisago County Fair. We have been hearing nothing but great things about the job Beth did at this year's fair. She, as always, had lots of veggies for cold salad dishes prepared. But this year as you know, the fair experienced some very cool temperatures. Being the great cook she is, Beth took some of those veggies and turned them into a delicious soup that was devoured by fair goers. Everyone has been raving about Beth's soup ever since.

The County Fair also did something else special this year. Celebrating 30 years of being at the fair, the carnival decided to give away free rides one afternoon. It was quite a surprise for people attending the carnival. Little gestures like that go a long ways.

Sadly, we lost one of our favorite advertisers last week. Bruce Nelson of St. Croix Floral closed their doors last week. A victim of the recession, Bruce and his family have been in business for decades, selling flowers and trees to many of us. St. Croix Floral will be missed, and I am sure Bruce will succeed in his next venture, whatever road he chooses.

This is a good time to remind you that we still have some amazing nurseries around the area. Applewood, Meehan, Wayne's, Abrahamson's and Olympic Trail are all terrific nurseries. I have personally purchased plants and trees from all of them, and I will vouch that they all sell superior products.

Thank you all for the nice birthday wishes recently. I hope you had a chance to really sit back and take in some of the wonderful pictures the staff here decided to put in while I was on vacation. Looking back at those photos, I really can't imagine why I didn't have more girlfriends when I was young. Maybe it was the crazed look in my eyes that frightened them off. No, I think it was probably the caterpillar that crawled up and died on my upper lip. Tom Selleck eat your heart out.


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