37th Annual Wheeler Chamber 4th of July Celebration
Our wonderful, annual 4th of July Celebration would not be possible without the generous donations of our local community members. Many of these sponsors not only donate some big bucks, but they often donate supplies, labor and materials. Please consider shopping local and supporting our following businesses that make fun events like this possible! They MAKE A DIFFERENCE every day by being a part of community and giving back as often as they can. YOU can MAKE A DIFFERENCE by choosing to shop and support local when you can! TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our community!
RED: Britt Ranch, Cross Country Barn (Dale & Monica Kidd), Koepke Sales, LLC and Koepke Legacy Insurance Group, LLC (Brad & Ashley Koepke), and Market Square Thriftway (Velasquez Family)
WHITE: 7H Angus (Jack Helton Family), Arrow Water Well (Vince & Amy Koelzer), Bob’s Bail Bonds – Pat Childress, Double J Waterwell (Deb Finsterwald, Jace & Lyndi Smith), Happy State Bank, Hyland’s Pharmacy (Randy & Crystal McEntire), Legends 92.9 & 98.9, Moore Insurance Agency (Todd & Tammy Moore), Oneok, Stiles Ranch, Wellington State Bank, and Wheeler Church of Christ
BLUE: Capital Farm Credit, Cornerstone Church, County Star News, Graham Creek Ranch (Tom & Kay Christner), Marshall Auto (Mack & Crystal Marshall), Maxey’s Steakhouse, McCain’s Auto Body, Mel’s Diner, Robertson Funeral Directors, Texas Street Floral, Ware Chevrolet Buick, Wheeler Nursing & Rehabilitation, Wheeler Title & Abstract Co. and Xcel Energy
ACTIVITIES: 2M Cattle Co., Allred-Renner FLP, Amy Zybach CPA, B&G Cattle Co, Bass Farms, Billy & Kara Richardson and Family, Blue Moon Home Furnishings, Bob & Zodell Swift, Canadian Carpet Care, Carniceria Aguilar, Christie Davis Couture, Devin Howard Family, Finsterwald Ranch, Gageby Store, Gage Angeley Construction, Gone Pecan Ranch, Graves Family Dentistry, Greenbelt Electric Cooperative, H&H Tire, HL Guest Handmade, JL Ranch LLC, Kim’s Barber Shop, Meek Club Lambs, Panhandle Handmade Market, Pat & Liz McDowell, Pinion RV Park, Pinion Spraying, Randy/Machille/Rowdy/Lacee/Stratten, Rogue Theater, Sign Gypsies - Wheeler Area, Soto’s Family Restaurant, Steve/Joyce/Caitlynn Walker, Taylor Weatherly - Realtor, Texas Beef Grass to Grill, Texas Hairslingers, The Goad Families, The Rusty Barb, The Woollard Family, Wheeler Land & Livestock, Wheeler Times, Wheeler Vet Clinic, and Y&C Tax Office
SPECIAL THANK YOU to Todd Moore with Moore Insurance Agency for Drone footage/pictures and to Jim Beck and County Star News for some awesome pictures!
Saturday, July 2nd
Wild & Free on 83 QUILT Show
1st Annual MUD Volleyball Tournament – Hosted by: Double J Waterwell
1st Place: The Patriots - Tracy Meadows, Kezi Salas, Courtney and Cole Hathaway, Rachel Stewart and Paige Jones
Runner Ups: Ozzy Arzabala, Jonathan Venzor, Jonathan Engles, Shane Waldrop
1st Annual H.L. OWENS HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT (TA TAYLOR)
Doubles Champions: T.A. Taylor & Cody Watkins plus $320
Doubles Runner-Up: Nathaniel and Levi Darnell plus $240
Singles Champion: Dallas Owens
Singles Runner Up: T.A. Taylor
1st Annual Wild & Free on 83 Car Show
Best in Show CAR: Cody Dupont of Briscoe with his 1974 Chevy Nova
Best in Show TRUCK: Travis Cook of Canyon with his 1970 Chevy c10
People’s Choice: Kirk Clay of Shamrock with his 1958 Chevy Impala
6th Annual Janette Umsted Memorial Scholarship Cornhole Tournament
BEST SHOT: Sumer Jones
1st Place: Randall & Debora Wynn (Advanced)
1st Place: Clay Zybach & Jacob Widener (Beginner)
Runner Up: Flo Zamora & TJ (Advanced)
Runner Up: Johnny Venzor & Ishmael Buenrostro (Beginner)
Featuring: Nate McLaughlin and the Rockin M Band, Comedian Reno Collier, JW Lane & CR X, and Seth Ward & The Silence
North vs South Fireworks POP OFF Competition – SOUTH Side won by LANDSLIDE (again!)
Fun captured throughout the town:
SUNDAY, JULY 3rd
Mr. and Miss Firecracker Pageant
Miss Firecracker (0-2 year) Charlee Sue Hibler
Mr. Firecracker (0-2 year) Jasper Allen Lenz
Miss Firecracker (3-6 year) Karrington Breitenstein
1st Annual “King of the Hill” BBQ Contest
Best Burger: 1st The Cooks / 2nd Spare Parts BBQ
Chef’s Choice Division: 1st Redline BBQ with Shrimp Tacos / 2nd Spare Parts BBQ
Ribs Division: 1st Spare Parts BBQ / 2nd Redline BBQ
Overall Grand Champion with $250 cash prize: Spare Parts BBQ
Featuring: The Wichita Mountain Bluegrass
MONDAY, JULY 4th
1st Lt. Ben Britt Fun Run
Male (10 & under): Nathan Cooper 23:07
Female (10 & under): Ana Cooper 45:40
Male (11-18): Hayden Holwick 14:21
Female (11-18): Harlee Gomez 16:42
Male (19-30): Miles Keith 26:37
Female (19-30): Haley Sparks 15:11
Male (31-50): Josh Britt 16:27
Female (31-50): Starla Whiteley 19:02
Male (51+): Shane Whiteley 19:21
Female (51): Christina Swift 34:05
Oldest Participant(s): Steve Zybach 35:36 / Rose Parker 37:02
Youngest Participant: Emmitt English 21:48
Business: Wellington State Bank
Organization: Briscoe Fire Department
Classic Car: Bob Finsterwald
Church: DV8 Cornerstone Youth
Family: Bradstreet Family
Just for Fun: Wheeler High School Girls Basketball
ATV: Tylee Koepke
Open: Wheeler High School Cheerleaders
Heat 1: Shelby Gather
Heat 2 and Grand Champion: Ozzie
Heat 3: Lily Rimerez
Heat 4: Hoover Family
PUNT / PASS / KICK (Dustin & Taylor Weatherly):
Kindergarten and Younger: Eliza Smith
1st – 2nd Grade: Grant Cooper
3rd – 4th Grade: Nathan Cooper
5th – 6th Grade: Hazen Dorris
7th – 8th Grade: Max Lamar
High School: Aiden Scruggs
Scroll through for Punt, Pass and Kick Pictures:
JULY 4th – Tom Britt Memorial Park
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT Featuring: Hammers Entertainment Dueling Pianos
Chamber of Commerce “____ of the Year” Awards
Wheeler Chamber of Commerce 2022 Volunteer(s) of the Year
The Tom Britt Memorial Park Team of Volunteers. If you take a look around the TBMP, you will see the new baseball/softball fields, dugouts, fences, lights, water, electrical, etc. There is a Kid’s Zone play area, mud volleyball pit. New trees and grass planted. To everyone who has worked tiredlessly on this overwhelming project to make this corner section of our community a gem, we are grateful.
Businesses have donated time and money, equipment and supplies. Individuals have donated time, services and sweat equity!
Our volunteers can’t be narrowed down one, but we want to recognize efforts and extend our gratitude for their willingness to improve one of our greatest assets in Wheeler. We hope the efforts will be enjoyed by many for years to come. We are so grateful.
Wheeler Chamber of Commerce 2022 Employee of the Year
Our employee of the year is described by her co-workers and bosses as one of the best! Her co-workers say she is loyal, an exceptional friend and devoted to her family and God. One co-worker said the business would not run properly without her and every employee has learned so much from her. The example she sets of time and energy dedicated to her job is unparalleled. Her knowledge of the business is endless and she has been a dedicated employee of Market Square Thrifty for the past 23 years. Their longest tenured employee.
Our employee of the year, Charlene Jones, has spent the last 20 years as the company director of pricing. She led the way for this company when they transitioned to a centralized pricing system for multiple store locations. Her boss says she was the perfect choice to help make the transition. She has been employed at Thriftway since April 1, 1999. Let’s just say she may have been hired on April fools Day, but her employees were no fools to hire her. Our 2022 Employee of the Year - Charlene Jones.
Wheeler Chamber of Commerce 2022 Business of the Year
This year’s business of the year award goes to a company that has been serving Wheeler County and beyond since the early 80s. The business started from the ground up in the founder’s backyard when he bought an old rig from a man injured in the line of business. The founder anxiously tapped his toes awaiting phone calls of people who needed his services, which is no the case anymore, if you have ever called needing their services. Since then, they have expanded and moved buildings a few times as they have grown and have employed not only several family members in small business fashion, but many other hard working local citizens. They are on the path for more growth in the near future since Jerry and Barbra Koelzer sold the business in 2009 to their son, Vince. He has since brought in his wife, Amy, to the business. They make sure Wheeler County has water whether it is 100 degrees or 0 degrees - they work among the elements to make sure we are not without water (for long anyways). They have sponsored many Wheeler events over the years and donated time and effort to this ballpark. We are happy to congratulate Arrow Water Well for being the recipients of the 2022 Wheeler Chamber Business of the Year, we are glad to have you as a part of this community and look forward to your growth and continued success.
Wheeler Chamber of Commerce 2022 Teenager of the Year
This year’s Teenage of the Year had fierce competition. There were 4 really close contenders, but this one stood out as some of the words written to describe our Teenager of the Year is dedicated leader, loyal, hard working and devoted to all things Wheeler - and we LOVE that! Our teenager of the year is a 2022 Wheeler High School graduate and a face that is no stranger to anyone in the community. If you have ever been at a community service day or any community activity, then you have seen this kid with his hands willing to work. He was active in football, stock show, and UIL One Act Play. He was a student council officer, a district FFA officer, and Class President. He is an Eagle Scout and has been a part of the scouts for seven years, part of his Eagle Scout projects was completing the fence around the Tball field east of the baseball fields at TBMP. He helped coach a baseball team this year and is always seen helping at the livestock shows to help with the younger kids - always on the edge of his seat willing and ready to help wherever is needed - whether the position is in leadership or simply following instructions. He joined the WVFD as a junior firefighter at 16 adn was awarded the 2021 Junior Firefighter of the Year. He has continued as a full member since turning 18 and received a Fire Department Scholarship as he heads off to Clarendon College in the Fall. We really hope one day he will return to Wheeler County because he has been such a great community member even as a kid. Congratulations, Bryce Richardson!
Wheeler Chamber of Commerce 2022 Man & Woman of the Year
We have a dynamic duo who will receive this year’s Man and Woman of the Year. Both are Wheeler County Natives - He is from Briscoe and she is from Samnorwood. Graduated from High School in 1981 and married each other in 1982. They celebrate 40 years of marriage on July 23rd. Their dedication to the Ag world and future ag world is unsurpassed.
After High School, Kevin and Joan Meek both attended Clarendon College and when finished, they moved to Guymon to attend Oklahoma Panhandle State University where Kevin graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education. After graduation, they spent 10 years in Clinton, Missouri were Kevin managed a commercial sow and row crop operation and Joan was the director of an Early Childhood Education Program at a local church. They have 2 grown children, one son-in-law, and 3 grandchildren that they love to spoil. Kevin is the Agriculture Science teacher at Fort Elliott High School and has been teaching there for the last 23 years. Jona has been his right hand and a driving force behind all their success. Kevin has had a very successful career as an Ag teacher training countless state qualifying teams, 3 area 1 FFA officer, and 2 Texas FFA State Officers. Jona has been there through it all and is known as Momma Meek by FFA members from not only Wheeler County but across the state as well. Kevin is also the Area 1 FFA Leadership Development Coordinator and a inductee into the Oklahoma Panhandle State Hall of Fame. In their time here in Wheeler County they, along with their FFA members and Alumni Association have been huge supporters of everything we do here in Wheeler Country from Toys for Tots to the Labor Day Celebration and 4th of July Celebrations. You can always find Kevin and Joan cooking funnel cakes or serving ice cream at almost any event held here in Wheeler County. Their hard work and deception to this county has impacted so many youth and it would be hard to put a number on it. We are thankful for them and everything they do for us and our community.
Wheeler Chamber of Commerce 2022 Pioneer of the Year
Our Pioneer of the Year is a fourth generation raised here in Wheeler County and has lived on their ranch. He graduated from Wheeler High School in 1968 and attended Amarillo College for two year sand returned to Wheeler in 1974. He quickly became involved in serving this county as he was on EMT and Volunteer Fire Department. He was elected and served as County Commissioner for 16 years (1995-2010). His father was on the hospital board when it was built and our pioneer served on the board in the 1980’s for the first remodel and was President of the hospital board during our recent 2020 remodel. If you don’t know by now, our 2022 Pioneer of the Year is Tom Puryear. Known as Tommy to most of us, he is a huge supporter of the Wheeler Livestock Boosters and 4H. He has donated thousands of dollars of equipment and time to our community. He has a very generous heart and gives with no question. He loves this community and his family. His wife is Karen, their children, Erika and Dustin, and grandchildren. He is devoted to his church and to our country and always willing lend a helping hand. Our Pioneer of the Year, Tom Puryear, reflects a true gentleman and we are proud to present him with the 2022 Pioneer Award and proud to call him our own.
Friends of Veterans Quilt Presentation:
COOPER ELLISON - joined the Army on May 23, 2016. He was sent to Kadena Airbase in Okinawa, Japan and remained there until May 2017. From there he was sent to Suwon Airbase in South Korea for five months before returning back to Japan. He remained in Japan until his contract ended in September 2019. He was discharged as a specialist. Cooper’s quilt was made by Isaac and Abby (Bond) Lenz and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts. It was presented to him earlier today as he had to get back for work on Tuesday morning.
DEBRA FULLBRIGHT - left for basic in Fort Jackson, SC in January 2003. She graduated basic training in April and then went to Fort Gordon, GA for Signal Support System Specialist (31U) AIT, and graduated from there in August. She was able to come home for a month and did hometown recruiting. In October, Debra was sent to Camp Howze, South Korea and was stationed there for just under two years. In 2005, while in South Korea, she was hurt while doing a training exercise and had to have emergency surgery while in country. Debra was officially Honorably Discharged from the US Army in September of 2006. Debra’s quilt was made and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
DOUG ADAMS - committed to the USMC at 17, and after graduation from Shamrock High School, he went to boot camp at Camp Pendleton. He was then stationed at Camp Jejune in North Carolina. During his time, he was in motor transportation assigned to the artillery, teaching other Marines throughout the base how to properly operate and navigate pieces of equipment they used daily. Dough’s quilt was lovingly made by his mother in law, Pam Hibler, and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
DAMON REMY - was an active Marine from January 1994 - January 1998 and left the service as a Sergeant E5. He received the National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal. He was meritoriously promoted out of both Boot Camp and MOS training. Damon graduated with Top Honors from Financial Management School in Camp Lejuene, NC. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA with 1st Force Service Support Group (1st FSSG) and was hand selected to serve directly under the Commanding General as technology advisor and helped create the C2 Lab (Command & Control), which at the time was a revolutionary command center that drastically improved battlefield awareness. Damon and Jackie live in St. Louse with their four, very active children. Wheeler will always be his home and he has brought his family back to many Wheeler functions. This year it just didn’t work out. Damon’s quilt was lovingly made for him by Pam Hibler and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
MARCIE ROSE - (one of our former Lady Stangs) was active duty Army from 1995 - 1998 and was an E4 Specialist. From 1998 - 2003 her status was inactive duty. MOS - 63 Whiskey - Heavy Wheeler Mechanic. Boot Camp was at Fort Jackson, South Carolin and AIT was at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Marcie’s duty station was at Fort Lewis, Washington with the 296th Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, as a 5 ton operator transporting engines and transmissions when needed for Deuce and 1/2s, tanks, etc. Marcie has worked or the US Air Force at Tinker Air Force Base for 15 years. Her career started as a mechanic on small components of all aircraft for 11 years and she has been Quality Assurance for the last 4 years and is currently an auditor. Marcie’s quilt was lovingly made by Pam Hibler and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
GREG BRYANT - Greg served in the Navy from July 1999 - September 2006. He chose the Navy as his place of service because it would support his family while he was serving this country and those of us, he knew and loved. Following boot camp, Greg was assigned to and served on board the naval carrier the USS Carl Vincent. He was the ship’s information Systems Technician. Greg has often talked about how much he enjoyed the camaraderie shared amongst the sailors onboard the ship along with getting to see places of great history, such as Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Just like many of us did, Greg, along with the rest of the ships’ staff and occupants, had to watch the devastating happenings of 9/11 on TV. Then later, when the time came, Greg was the technician that received the message that the US was going to war and it was time for the ship to moved. He then carried and relayed the message to both the ship’s Captain and Admiral. When he retired from the Navy, Greg was ranked an E5 and had the job title of IT2 SW/AW; which stands for Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and an Aviation Warfare Specialist. Greg traveled to Canada, California, Hawaii, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Japan and South Korea. Greg’s quilt was made by his mother, Beverly Bryant.
DAN SAMS - When Dan decided to join the military, he had two goals in mind, getting to fly and to see foreign countries. The Navy was able to guarantee that he had an opportunity to achieve these goals if he was able to pass their A School training after completion of Boot Camp. He enlisted as an ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Operator; choosing this rate in order to get a guaranteed opportunity for flight crew status. In March 1974, a few weeks before his 21st birthday, he went to San Diego, CA to begin basic training, Boot Camp, in the USA Navy. After Boot Camp, he attended A School Training in Tennessee and learned the basics of multiple electronic devices used in submarine detection and tracking as well as a course in marine biology. Upon graduation from A School he received ordered to report to Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, FL for Helicopter training. Training was often intense and involved many hours. Training included Helicopter Maintenance, Search and Rescue Training; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Training; Classroom and Flight Operational training and receive his Wings as a Helicopter Air Crewman. He received orders to HS-7 as a fully qualified “Wet Simmer” ASW Air Crewman. Dan recalls that life aboard a carrier was definitely an experience. There was a crew of roughly 5,500 people, a small floating city. The USS Saratoga was over 1,000 feet long and several stories high above and below the water surface. Moving planes and helicopters, roughly 70 aircraft, around in such tight quarters was like watching a well-choreographed dance of monster machines. There was always some form of training going on to help occur your mind. As a carrier, there were usually flight operations occurring daily at sea. Dan received his Honorable Discharge in 1979, after 2 years and 4 months active duty and 3 years reserve duty. He summarizes his time in the Navy was a true adventure. Fortunately most of it was good and the longer he is out the less impact the bad has had on him. He got to fly helicopters for a living. He saw foreign lands, setting foot in Spain, Italy, France and Yugoslavia. As often as possible, he took leave to sight see and interact with the local people. The experiences of foreign travel and service to country did give him a greater appreciation for the freedoms we take for granted in US. He states how truly fortunate we are to get to openly express our religious beliefs, political opinions, and personal preferences. HE states “We are truly blessed. GOD BLESS AMERICA!” Dan’s quilt was made by his dear, family friend, Tina Lee.
MATTHEW HUFF - enlisted in the Army following his graduation from Allison ISD in 2002. He completed basic training, infantry training and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was then stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He completed two tours in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne as well as supported relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. During his time in the Army, Matthew was awarded: The Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combast Infantryman Badge, and Parachute Badge. Matthew was honorable discharged in 2008 as Sergeant and considers it a privilege to have served his country. Matthew’s quilt was made by our Wheeler County 4H Kids and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
PAUL TOPPER (PD) - was active service from 1983 to 1987 and was stationed at Fort Benning and Fort Stewart. He then was with the 5th 502nd infantry in Berlin until his discharge as an infantry man E4 grade. Paul was a trained weapons and explosives expert and trained to drive all motorized equipment from jeeps to tanks of all brands. He had top secret clearance, but he did tell us that when he was on base he drove the upper echelon around. PD’s quilt was made by his cousin, Judy Woollard and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
TED REEVES - enlisted in the Army on November 16, 1994 and entered service on January 10, 1995. He took basic training at Fort Leonardwood and from there was attached to the 101st Airborne and 326th Engineers at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Ted received the Army Achievement Medal, Army Lapel Button, National Defense Service Medal, Ribbon for Marksman Badge (M 16 Rifle), Badge for hand grenade and air assault badge as well as the driver and mechanic badge. Ted was honorable discharged as. SPC E4 on October 12, 1997 and was in the reserves until November 15, 2022. Ted’s quilt was made by Rae Wheeler and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
MARTIN STEPHENS - joined the Air Force in 1972 at the age of 20. He was a staff sergeant for 4 years and was stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois, as well as an 80b day stint in Guam. Marty worked on electrical circuits with the B52 and began teaching new recruits about these circuits. After his service he went on to for for Exxon and now teaches at Odessa College. Marty’s quilt was made with love by his family and was presented with the quilt this past Saturday afternoon.
JOE VAN ZANDT - Entered the US Army on September 1, 1959 at Fort Bliss, Texas as 2nd Lt. After ROTC at Texas A&M. Ft. Bliss was Air Defense School. After Officers Basic, he was assigned to the school as an instructor but later to the Management Division of the School as a Management Officer. Discharged August 31, 1961 as 1st Lt., then in reserves for 6 years to fulfill his 8 year obligation to the armed services. This was during the Cold War and Russia was a threat to use atomic bombs on the US. Joe’s quilt was made by the local quilters and quilted by Ken and Lanette Hastey with Flying Heart Quilts.
Fireworks presented by the Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department
Awesome DRONE shots from Todd Moore with Moore Insurance Agency:
Bloopers and behind the scenes because it takes a village to pull off such a FUN event. IF you want to be a part of the fun, sign up for chamber info via:
SEE YA NEXT YEAR!!!