EDNA — Zed Goodwin, Brian Rexwinkle and Jonathan Bryan remember growing up as kids in Edna.
“Looking back, growing up in Edna, it was your typical small country town. Everyone knew you and all your family before you if you weren’t related to them already,” Goodwin said. “It was a place we all wanted to get away from but have been drawn back to call it home.”
All three men, with their families, currently live outside of Edna in the rural areas within 15 minutes from the town but regularly do business in Edna, have many family members who live and work in Edna, and have children who attend school there.
They have watched as their little community has struggled to maintain. Budgets are tight in many small rural communities as they face dwindling populations, and prioritizing projects leaves some projects deferred for extended periods of time. The men got to looking at their town presently, and began asking themselves what they could do to make things better.
Nowadays, the volunteer fire department hosts an annual pancake supper to raise money for gear, and there are the occasional grade school chili feed fundraisers, but there are really no other communitywide celebrations.
Remembering their childhoods, the three recalled the community hosting a fall festival that included games such as bed races, greased pig contests and traditional children games along with vendors and crafts. They got to thinking that perhaps they could help their community and create something fun for their community at the same time by creating a festival that would serve as a fundraiser.
A fall festival was an event Goodwin and his friends enjoyed as children, and being able to provide that opportunity for their children as well as their small town sounded intriguing. They could give Edna something to be proud of and honor the community, but in the end give back.
The first community project they decided would be to help raise funds to renovate the old Edna Community Building, which at a minimum needs general preventative maintenance and some fresh paint.
“It’s used commonly for community gatherings, class reunions, craft shows, pancake supper, annual B.E.A.R.S youth basketball tournament, practices, Halloween events and has even hosted a Dierks Bentley/Cross Canadian Ragweed concert,” Goodwin said, noting the importance of the building to the community.
After much thought and discussion between the three, the Edna Smoke N’ Motor Show was created.
“We began talking/organizing in early February of this year, but we have tossed around the idea for about a year now maybe,” Goodwin said.
For this first ever Edna Smoke N’ Motor Show, kids events will include tricycle races, gunny sack races, turtle races, a greased pic contest, a football wall and a B-ball shoot. Adult events will include a UTV/car show, UTV poker run, cornhole tournament, bed races and a barbecue contest. The event will be on June 5.
Goodwin said the choices for the contests were based somewhat on their familiarity with some things and what they find enjoyment in when visiting other festivals and events. Rexwinkle, whom Goodwin gives credit for initiating the whole idea, gets involved with barbecue contests, and Bryan has a strong involvement in building and collecting old trucks/cars and occasionally frequents car shows.
“We just wanted to choose events that would appeal to all audiences/ages in the area,” Goodwin said. “Cornhole tournaments are growing events, as well as the barbecue cook-off contests. With the popularity of UTV ownership, incorporating those into the event seemed to blend well with car show and poker run.”
Tying the event in with everyone being ready to get out and do the activities they did for years before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything last spring is their hope for kicking off the first year.
“Several folks I have spoken with are excited to be able to get out and do these things and see their family and friends,” Goodwin said. “We are trying to keep all activities outside to avoid any confinement to small areas. And should those who feel the need to wear masks, we encourage you to do so and follow social distancing guidelines, but we will not personally be enforcing those guidelines.”
Goodwin said sponsors for the event are still being sought.
“We have a handful of committed sponsors but are actively seeking more local support for us to get the best experience for everyone. The more support the better we can make it.
“Our five premium event sponsors this year are Midwest Land Group (barbecue), Jon’s Tire (car show), Allen Vet Services (cornhole), Woodshed Ranch/Stores (bed races) and NoLimit Powersports (UTV poker run),” Goodwin said. “Others sponsoring are The Yoke Bar & Grill, BAW Excavating, Mullers Chop Shop, S&S Lumber, Salon Seven 12, Muller Construction and Brown Deer Media. We hope that list grows over the next 30-45 days if we can provide something that they can be proud of.”
Registration information and rules for the events are posted on www.facebook.com/SmokeNMotorShow.
Anyone 10 and up may participate in the adult events. However, all state and federal driving laws must be adhered to in the UTV event, which may affect age of the participants.
“We are accepting entries up to day of event and plan to accept entry fees day of,” Goodwin said. “Participants are encouraged to send in early entry information to help us grasp an idea of turnout. My plan is to load/post all entry forms, rules on the Facebook page by end of this month, so they can be loaded from there, or they can email us requesting that information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The five primary events will have cash payout prizes to top three places and the bed races will be cash prize to single champion after match race style heats. Cornhole tournament will be double elimination with top three places paid out,” Goodwin said.
There will also be four food trucks offering a diversity of food and desserts.
“Also the event will coincide with the annual citywide garage sale,” Goodwin said.