Page Eight (ARK.) STAR Tuesday, October 15, 19t4 Chamber of Commerce promotes giant Hope melons Dub Flowers, Chamber of Commerce Agri Committee chairman is shown presenting a $300 check to Ivan Bright world champion watermelon grower for 1974. His melon was weighed in at 140 pounds with a world's record length of 40 inches. Second place winner was Allison Hembree, $200 for his 126 pounder. Third place winner was O.F. Lloyd, $100. His melon weighed 124 pounds. THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON September 17, 1974 Dear Mr. Butler:: Thank you for your kindness and generosity in sending the gift of watermelon which I received through the courtesy of Congressman Ray Thornton. I appreciated this gesture of friendship on the part of the citizens of Hope, Arkansas, and their goodwill is indeed a source of strength and encouragement. I am particularly grateful to Mr. Mitchell LaGrone who shipped this treat to me, and of course special thanks are due to Mr. Ivan Bright for growing such a superb specimen. With warm regards to you and those who joined with you, Sincerely, GERALD R. FORD Mr. William Butler President Chamber of Commerce Hope, Arkansas 71801 Stan James, Billy Bob White, Ronnie Hooker and Sam McHenry of James Motor Co. proudly display the champion melon, the privilege they received for donating $1 per pound to the grower. Each year they supplement the. Chamber of Commerce prize money in this manner. The Arkansas State Fair also donates $1 per pound with the assurance of the champion being displayed at the State Fair. Secretary of State Kelly Bryant, wife Elizabeth and his staff members are shown in the State Capitol Rotunda, with Pod Rogers, officially measuring the Hope melon for the Guinness World Book of Records. It takes more than a yardstick, so Pod Rogers, Arkansas' Ambassador is giving a 'fish' measurement to the giant Hope melon before a large crowd at the Kansas State Fair. Ivan Bright of Hope grew the 140 pound 40 inch long champion. Charles E. Hamon, in charge of open class agriculture at the Kansas Fair and Charles W. Marr, Extension Horticulturist at Kansas State University appear to be taking the defeat in stride and looking forward to next year's contest. The 117 pound melon in the background gave them hopes of this year's championship until Pod and the Hope melon arrived. Gov. Robert Docking of Kansas was pleased to accept a gift of Brown 'n Serve Rolls from Pod Rogers, made by Meyers Bakery of Hope using flour from the great state of Kansas. HOPE WATERMELON STILL CHAMP The Hope-Hempstead Chamber of Commerce BIG Watermelon Contest came to a close September 20 with Ivan Bright the winner. Bright's entry was a 140-pound giant which measured close to 40 inches in length. The contest is sponsored by the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce, James Motor Company and the Arkansas State Fair. The Chamber paid Mr. Bright $300, James Motor Company $1 per pound, and the Arkansas State Fair ?1 per pound. This year, a new wrinkle was added with a challenge from Gov. Docking and Secretary of State Mrs. E. Shanahan of Kansas to Governor Bumpers and Secretary of State Kelly Bryant of Arkansas as to which state could grow the largest melon. Bumpers and Bryant accepted the challenge. Pod Rogers of the Hope Star was dispatched to Hutchinson, Kansas, with the 140 pound Hempstead County watermelon to meet the challenge. Kansas' best effort was a 117 pounder which measured 35 inches in length. Once again the slogan "Hope, Arkansas,—home of the World's largest watermelon" was challenged and emerged intact. The score: Ark. (Hope and Hempstead County), 140 pounds; the State of Kansas, 117 pounds. Pod brought the winner and the challenger back to the Arkansas State Fair where they were displayed for the entire Fair. Due to Pod's flair for creating publicity, the City of Hope is now well-known from South Arkansas to Kansas City through many news stories along the route. Last word has it that Kansas is preparing for another try at the crown. In fact, the Kansas Dept. of AsHpuJture is involved in research on the large melons. But we in Hope have confidence in our older growers and the new crop of young growers of BIG melons. This was evident in the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Young Growers' Contest which was won by Mark Wright with a fine specimen at 68 pounds. Charlene Gilbert, Miss Hempstead County was Hope's entry in the State Fair parade. She carried a slice of melon, instead of flowers, and threw bubble gum to aU the kiddies along the way. The champion melon was placed on a red carpet in an old fashioned bath tub. Helping the float to be the talk of the parade was the 1929 antique model A truck owned and driven by Richard Rowe of Hope.
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