Egg tossing is not a varsity sport at Sheridan College where recent Meeteetse High School football and basketball player Anthony Kluesner now attends. But he is working on it.
“This is all I do,” Kluesner deadpanned.
There is no world tour of egg tossing, but residents of Meeteetse highlight it each year at their annual Labor Day celebration.
Coaches would be so proud. Displaying soft hands and agility, Kluesner and current Longhorns quarterback Jace Bennett won Monday’s championship in a very hot midday competition.
Temperature crawling toward 90 degrees, the old adage of it being hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, came into play.
There was an egg-off, a double elimination, leading to the Kluesner-Bennett title since the finalists both fumbled their eggs beforehand.
They have been doing Labor Day in Meeteetse for 107 years, giving it the same happy embrace as other communities apply to July 4 or other national observances that are not too religious or too serious.
Master of ceremonies Shane Ogden, superintendent of schools, said he may have been annointed announcer because he already had access to public address system equipment.
His debut was in 2018 and he said, “If you want me to do it again, I’ll be happy to.
“It’s such a great event. It’s a great way to promote the community.”
As people drive into the community of 327 people, signs read “Town Celebration Ahead.”
WYO 120 from Cody has been chewed up by construction work lately, but there was no labor on Labor Day there.
Businesses in the tiny downtown flew American flags, though they did not ripple in the still air. It is one of those years on the calender if you’ve got ‘em, wave ‘em.
There was a free pancake breakfast, but not everyone walking the street holding Styrofoam cups was drinking coffee. Celery sticks poking up in the air were accoutrements for Bloody Marys.
The theme of the parade and celebration was “Women of Meeteetse,” a link to this being the 150th year of Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming.
Parade marshal Dotsie Bennion Ewart, 93, rode in a vintage car. The Yorgason unicycling family, some 15 multi-generation strong, made its annual appearance in the parade.
All of them sported the same T-shirt, with Ewart’s face on it. Wanda Bennion penned a poem to honor the Women of Meeteetse and her aunt Dotsie. A portion of it read, “The women of Meeteetse; Are a solid part of life; For me and others like me; As we conquer toil and strive.
“I saw these stalwart women; Stand with families by their side; Doing chores and cooking dinner; And doing it with pride.”
The basic rule of the shoe kick is to take one step and extend the leg and fling the shoe high. Nick Anderson, a former football player, but not a kicker, sent his shoe far. Clayton Corbin, an ex-teammate, kicked his shoe quite high, but not quite as far.
This raised the issue of whether the wrong person was the place kicker for the football team the last three years.
“Probably,” Corbin said laughing.
Anderson and Corbin then teamed up in the three-legged race and unlike many other competitors, did not fall down.
The annual tug-of-war between Meeteetse natives and out-of-towners produced a surprise result. The visitors won for the first time in forever, some said, or at least 22 years, Ogden said.
“For the first time in modern history,” he said.
Robert Cvep and wife Karen, essentially passersby from Fort Collins, Colo., pulled in the winning team.
“We came to see what was going on,” Karen said of having no previous Meeteetse connection.
Robert, a large man who added muscle for the victors said, “I didn’t think we had a chance.”
There were no major prizes awarded for this triumph though.
“Bragging rights,” Robert said.
However, free money was given away. Last year, dollar bills were thrown from a roof for different age groups to gather, but the wind blew the paper in the wrong direction. So this year quarters were substituted.
Although the Cveps stumbled upon a good time, they definitely did not travel the farthest.
Lori Ziobro, a Meeteetse native, and her 13-month-old daughter Jovie, whose relatives first came to the community in 1896 and whose husband is in the Air Force, took military transportation from Guam.
They labored 72 hours to fly from Guam to Hawaii to Sacramento to Denver to Cody before driving the last 30 miles.
“I loved we were able to make it for such an iconic day,” Ziobro said.