The one-liner of the week came from a local restaurant employee last Saturday during the 22nd annual Jock’s Nitch Softball Classic.

The one-liner of the week came from a local restaurant employee last Saturday during the 22nd annual Jock’s Nitch Softball Classic.
After walking in and seeing a long line and three, exasperated and overwhelmed employees, I asked what was wrong.
The response was, “It’s been like this all day. We’ve been slammed.”
I countered with, “You were aware there are 70 softball teams in town for a large softball tournament correct?”
All three employees, with a rather blank stare, said in unison, “No one told us.”

8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine
A sincere and special thank you to everyone who voted by paper ballot and online to help the six Crawford County Fried Chicken Restaurants  Chicken Annie’s, Chicken Mary’s, Gebhardt’s Chicken Dinners, Barto’s Idle Hour, Girard Chicken Annie’s and Pichler’s Chicken Annie’s – earn the designation in the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine contest.
Announced last Friday, the Crawford County Fried Chicken Restaurants were joined on the list by several quality dining establishments in Kansas including Bobo's Drive In in Topeka, the Brookville Hotel in Abilene, the Cozy Inn in Salina, the Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, Guy and Mae's Tavern in Williamsburg, the Hays House 1857 Restaurant and Tavern in Council Grove and WheatField's Bakery Café also in Lawrence.
A couple of fun tidbits about the other seven restaurants that earned 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine designation:
• Free State Brewing Company and WheatField’s Bakery Café have the same managing partner, Chuck Magerl.
• Bobo’s Drive In opened in 1953 and still features car hops.
• The Brookville Hotel, established in 1915, relocated from Brookville to its current location in Abilene next to I-70 in 1999.
• The Cozy Inn in Salina opened in 1922, a year after White Castle made its debut in Wichita. The Cozy Inn remains, but to get a slider from a White Castle restaurant, you will have to travel to St. Louis to get one (not counting the frozen burgers sold in stores).
• Doc Severinsen, the last surviving member of the big three from The Tonight Show, loves the ribs at Guy and Mae’s Bare Butt Barbecue in Williamsburg so much that he once sent Johnny Carson 10 slabs for a birthday celebration.
• The Hays House Restaurant in Council Grove opened in 1857 and is the oldest continuously-operating restaurant west of the Mississippi River.
Of the eight honorees, this travel columnist has dined at half of the restaurants – the Cozy Inn, Brookville Hotel, Guy and Mae’s and all six Crawford County Fried Chicken Restaurants – but future business trips to Topeka and Lawrence will make it possible to add three of the other four.
The Council Grove trip will take some planning.
The next contest scheduled to begin July 1 will be the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs. Nominations will be accepted from July 1 through July 31 online.
Local residents need to begin thinking of local and regional customs that are unique to Crawford County and southeast Kansas to nominate for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs contest.

PSU Football Pocket Schedules
Perhaps the most popular, most sought after promotional item distributed by the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau arrived hot off the presses Thursday afternoon.
The 2009 Pittsburg State University Football Pocket Schedules are now available for free.
The pocket schedule features seniors Rashard Pittman, Jay Nunez and Chadd Snyder.
Also available is a complete brochure on the City of Pittsburg’s Independence Day Celebration with a complete schedule of events.
To snag one of the new 2009 PSU Football Pocket Schedules or the Pittsburg Independence Celebration brochure, stop by the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau located at 117 West Fourth Street inside the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
The CVB also features state travel guides for Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, state maps for the four states, visitors guides for large regional destination cities and lakes, baseball pocket schedules, visitor’s guides for a variety of smaller destinations, Kansas State Parks Guides, Kansas Parks and Wildlife Fishing Guidelines and Kansas State Hunting and Fishing Guide Books.

Upcoming events
Basketball, tractors, horse shows, fireworks … a bevy of fun things are taking place in and around Crawford County this weekend and on into next week, be sure to get out and about and enjoy these activities:
• Today and Saturday, the 21st annual Southeast Kansas Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Show will take place at the grounds of the Crawford County Historical Museum between 20th and Atkinson on the 69 Bypass Outer Road. The show will feature operating exhibits, old gas engines, antique tractors, antique farm machinery, antique and classic cars, full-size hay baling demonstration, corn grinding demonstration, and operational old time saw mill, model steam engines, a parade of power and garden tractor pull. For more information, contact the Southeast Kansas Old Time Gas Engine & Tractor Club President Dean Harris at (620) 421-5342, Show Director Joe Winter at (417) 927-3254 or club vice-president Jamie Gull at (620) 724-6051.
• Today and continuing through Sunday, the Mid-America Youth Basketball Tournament will take place at St.-Mary’s-Colgan Fieldhouse and connecting gymnasiums. The tournament features over 20 teams ages fourth grade through high school competing for championship bragging rights. MAYB is designed to allow young athletes in the Midwest the chance to play basketball during the summer months. For more information, contact MAYB Tournament Director Charley Butler at (620) 231-8025, charley@cobb-realty.com or www.mayb.com.
• Sunday, the State Line Horse Show Circuit will conduct its Youth Appreciation Show at the Parsons Arena, one mile west and one mile south of the Travel Plaza in Parsons at 1 p.m. For more information, contact Anita Burgar at (620) 724-6682, (620) 719-0614 or Sherry Bulot (620) 704-2479 or log onto www.statelinehsc.com.
• Wednesday and continuing through July 5, the Premier Baseball Association Incoming Freshman World Series will take place at Jaycee Ballpark in Pittsburg and six other fields in Joplin, Seneca, Carl Junction and Baxter Springs featuring a 22-team field. For more information, contact the Joplin Sports Authority at (417) 625-1006 or log onto www.joplinsports.org.
• Thursday, the Crawford State Park Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration will feature a large fireworks display, food, musical entertainment, games and activities for all ages. The show is free, but a Kansas State Wildlife and Parks Vehicle Permit is required to attend. For more information, contact Crawford State Park Office (620) 362-3671, www.kdwp.state.ks.us, crawfordsp@wp.state.ks.us.
• Friday, July 3 the 22nd annual Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks Display in Girard will feature food, kids games, inflatables, live music, face painting and tattoos, free watermelon and a patriotic program. For more information, contact the Girard Chamber of Commerce at (620) 724-4715, girardchamber@ckt.net.
• Starting on Friday, July 3, the 39th annual Hepler Ruritan Club 4th of July Celebration & Rodeo will feature a large rodeo with bareback riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, bullriding and breakaway roping, mutton bustin’, calf scramble and bull chariot races. A dance follows the rodeo from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on July  3. On July 4, the Hepler 4-H Club sponsors a parade followed by kids’ games, Hillbilly Games and more rodeo. For more information, contact Kim Harris with the Hepler Ruritan at (620) 368-4792.

Craig Hull is the director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is the purpose of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote travel and tourism in Crawford County, Southeast Kansas and the Midwest. He can be reached at chull@pittsburgareachamber.com or at 1-800-879-1112.