OPRY 2010

Congratulations to all that helped make "Opry at the Sami 2" a great success! Despite a weather forecast that would scare an "ice road trucker", More than 600 people joined together to experience a tremendous night of entertainment. To the guest artists, members of the all star band, our own Mini Pearl, ushers, ticket takers and many others too numerous to name, THANK YOU!. To the advertisers in our program, THANK YOU! Please give them your business. A special thanks to Jim Howard for all his work. Without it, "Opry at the Sami" wouldn't happen.

Because of Opry 2, we're more than $6,000 closer to our goal. Also, the Mini-Wakan story has once again been shared. Priceless.



Area musicians played to a packed house of country music fans during the “Opry at the Sami” on January 24, helping in a massive fund-raising effort to restore and renovate Mini-Wakan State Park’s shelter house. Held in conjunction with the University of Okoboji’s Winter Games, the event took place at the recently completed Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake.

“The show was a colossal success,” said Jim Howard, organizer of the event. “This demonstration of community support will really help us with the Mini-Wakan project.”

Restoration and renovation of the shelter house is expected to cost $1 million. The Spirit Lake Protective Association’s Mini-Wakan Committee is spearheading the effort to raise the needed funds through grants and outright contributions. All proceeds from the concert, more than $14,000, will benefit the shelter house project.

“We can’t thank our performers enough for donating their time and talent,” Howard said. “Members of the committee, Sami Center personnel, Spirit Lake School administrators, the Winter Games Committee, students, the media, and the appreciative audience – so many groups and individuals contributed to the success of this project,” he added.

The Grand Ole Opry style country music show featured Emcee Rhonda Wedeking and Opry All Stars band members Steven O. Samuelson, Sr., Don Demers, Maury Muhm, Nate Newhouse, Jon Johnson, Bryon Kittleson and Billye Jane Kruse in company with performers Melinda (Mel) Kimblad, Gloria Wieneke, Wes Mager, Maceylyn Rossow, Harold Van Der Sloot, Dallas Clark, Dennis Wienke, and the Jessie James Band.

In addition to Howard who planned, produced, coordinated and performed in the event, others who were instrumental in its success included Gary Heady and his students Jesse Miller, Alex Waltz, Alyssa Bainbridge and Ethan Wilson; stage sound technician Rob Rickman, on stage assistant Gretchen Graff, prop design and construction engineer Allan Duus, cosmetologist Karen Holst, sales promotion chair Norm Meinking, and Mini-Wakan Committee Chairman Joe Ulman.
School Superintendent Doug Latham and Sami Center Director Terry Miller authorized use of the world class performing arts center.

The Light of the Lakes Friends Church provided the rehearsal site for the performers. Winter Games Chairperson Molly Gildemeister and the Winter Games Committee included the program as an addition to the 29th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games.


Spirit Lake Protective Association
P.O. Box 51 Spirit Lake, IA 51360