A 14-year volunteer and a municipality were honored Jan. 9 for their roles in the success of the annual Lost Dutchman Days rodeo and associated events.
The awards were announced at the kick-off dinner for the Lost Dutchman Days volunteers committee. It was held at the Elks Lodge, 2455 N. Apache Trail in Apache Junction.
Funds raised from the annual rodeo --- such as $80,000 last year --- are given to children’s charities.
This year’s Lost Dutchman Days rodeo is Feb. 28-March 1. Go to lostdutchmandays.org.
The Honorary Dutchman Award is given to longtime volunteers.
“Works without being asked, always shows up, just dedicated to the performance of Lost Dutchman Days. It’s a tough selection every year,” Denny Walter, Lost Dutchman Days chairman, said of Honorary Dutchman recipients.
Karla Buckingham received the 2020 Honorary Dutchman Award.
“I was stunned. It’s something that you work for, but you never expect to get the recognition for. Because you’re not doing it for the recognition. You are doing it for the kids,” Ms. Buckingham said after the kick-off event.
She has volunteered for 14 years with Lost Dutchman Days.
Much of that time she has been the person pushing the calves from the pens on the east side of the arena, along chutes next to the stands and to the west side to be used for competitions.
“I usually work for the stock contractor and I am the one pushing the calves for the timed events,” Ms. Buckingham said.
“And you get to sort the calves out. Because you’ve got a herd of 20 cows and you only need three, you’ve got to go in there and get in the mud and the muck and sometimes it’s nice weather and sometimes it’s bad weather. It’s just you do what needs to be done to put on a great show for the community and it’s all about giving back to kids,” she said.
“But whatever, wherever I’m needed is where I go. I’ve helped everybody do anything and everything they ever need done.
She has lived in Apache Junction since 1998.
“Everybody asked me why I moved here and I said ‘I moved here on purpose. I love the lifestyle,’” Ms. Buckingham said.
She works in Gilbert as a surgical assistant at a surgery center.
“It’s something I have been doing for 27 years,” she said.
The City of Apache Junction received the 2020 Heritage Award.
“This is our Honorary Dutchman kick-off dinner. We also have a Heritage Award every year, since 2002. This year I’d like to present the City of Apache Junction as our Heritage Award,” Sandie Russell, a volunteer with the Lost Dutchman Days committee, said, giving a plaque to Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy and Al Bravo, the city’s public information officer.
“Yeah, I am surprised. Such a great partner with the (Superstition Mountain Promotional Corp.) and everything they do,” Mayor Serdy said after the kick-off event.
In addition to being held in the City of Apache Junction, Lost Dutchman Days is promoted by the city, he said.
“We supply the auxiliary police to do the traffic; and then the promotion. And the facilities --- the rodeo grounds --- belongs to the city, of course. Obviously the Event Center,” Mayor Serdy said.
Mayor Serdy later won the Lost Dutchman Days queens-benefiting 50/50 raffle at the kick-off dinner and donated the $165 back to the queens.
“So where does the money go? I mean, the other half? So, they can keep it,” he said.
“We greatly appreciate your donation and it will go to great use,” Marissa Mansingh, 2020 Lost Dutchman Days queen, said.
Previous winners of the Honorary Dutchman Award include: 1977, Kenneth Miller (deceased); 1978, unknown; 1979, Ray Parent (deceased); 1980, Larry Liversedge; 1981, Jim Andrews; 1982, William McDaniel; 1983, Kermit Bressner (deceased); 1984, Ross Greves (deceased); 1985, Earleen Andrews; 1986, Thomas Kollenborn (deceased); 1987, Sandie Smith; 1988, Ruby Forsberg (deceased); 1989, Bob DeBow Sr. (deceased); 1990, Gary Mulholland (deceased); 1991, Bob DeBow Jr.; 1992, Bob Bogart; 1993, Brenda Kirkland; 1994, Jeff Bell; 1995, Ruth Abbott; 1996, Judy Daniels; 1997, Paul Connolly (deceased); 1998, Lanna Mesenbrink; 1999, Doug Dobson; 2000, Shirley Keeton Baer; 2001, Dena Olson; 2002, Sandie Russell; 2003, Sam Buckingham; 2004, Dick Virgil; 2005, Hux Russell (deceased); 2006, Mike Mills; 2007, Bob Lamb (deceased); 2008, Corey Olson; 2009, Robin Williams; 2010, Rocky Govert (deceased); 2011, Ron Knies; 2012, Rich Sterba; 2013, Calvin Williams; 2014, Don Van Driel; 2015, Denny Walter; 2016, Debbie Russell; 2017, Tom Kain; 2018, Lyle and Jan Gallagher; 2019, Dan Buckingham; 2020, Karla Buckingham.
Previous winners of the Heritage Award include: 2002, Buster Webb (deceased); 2003, Ray Harlan; 2004, Bob Bogart; 2005, Gary Mulholland (deceased); 2006, Sue Verley; 2007, Clay Worst; 2008, Greg and Bonnie Carr; 2009, Bob Schoose; 2010, Dick Parks; 2011, Rene Lesieutre; 2012, B&B Feed Store; 2013, Mo Russell, Hux Russell (deceased), Sandie Russell, Yvonne and “Cowboy” Dan Knodl; 2014, Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce; 2015, Paula Smith; 2016, Apache Junction Elks Lodge No. 2349; 2017, Robinson Golf Cars (Wild West Golf Cars); 2018, Brown and Brown Carnival; 2019, Superstition Mountain Rotary Club; and 2020, City of Apache Junction.