Killdeer gets ready to rock

KILLDEER -- Rocking takes on many meanings for the 18th annual Hill Top Home of Comfort Foundation Steak Fry event Sunday, Oct. 14, at Killdeer Public School's old gymnasium.

KILLDEER -- Rocking takes on many meanings for the 18th annual Hill Top Home of Comfort Foundation Steak Fry event Sunday, Oct. 14, at Killdeer Public School's old gymnasium.

Not only will rocking chairs, horses and cradles made and decorated by local artists and crafts people be auctioned, but a rock n' roll '50s theme will have you seeing poodle skirts and leather jackets.

The auction begins at 12:30 p.m. The dinner of steaks on the grill, baked potatoes, salad and homemade desserts will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The auction includes rocking chairs, horses and cradles, handmade quilts, a handmade whip made of kangaroo hide and many other items. There also will be a silent auction and Chinese raffle where people can a pay a dollar per entry and see if their name gets drawn.

The foundation event is the major fundraiser for the senior citizen residential facility in Killdeer.


As the supportive base for the facility, the foundation hopes to continue seeing more people participate. The event has a long history of bringing in handmade crafts items by artists to sell and benefit Hill Top.

Foundation board member Kay Schmidt and Foundation Development Director Vicki Pennington are excited about this year's activities and items for sale and believe this to be important to the residents of Hill Top.

"We have built support for Hill Top and now we need help to continue running the place," Pennington said. "We spent $15,000 on much needed things this year such as 40 new beds, a bladder scan, new computer software and technology and starting a nursing scholarship."

Schmidt said some of the rockers are handcrafted and others were bought and then given to different artists to decorate and paint. A few new artists decided to participate this year while most were returning artists who have donated before.

One new, budding artist is Halliday native Anna Hostetler, 14, who decorated and painted two doll-sized rocking chairs. One is blue with vines and roses winding around the chair.

"The other I painted for all seasons with a white flower and some berries in Christmas colors," Hostetler said. "I like to use different things and I like to paint. It's like a hobby for me, but I've never painted rockers before."

Hostetler found this a great opportunity to begin painting wood instead of just glass and was challenged by figuring out what her designs would be.

"Painting on wood is a little different than painting on glass," she added.


Medora's Corinne Davis' artwork was inspired by farm life. Davis decorated a child-size rocking chair with the bright green John Deere style. Davis who owns the Circle C Gallery in Medora knows how popular John Deere memorabilia is around the region.

"It seems to be the rage and we sell an outrageous amount of it," Davis said. "I also wanted the rocker to be something more generic that could be for anyone, boy or girl, kid or big kid."

The key is to make something anyone would like, she added.

On the seat is a farm scene reminiscent of the Badlands and agriculture industry.

"This was my first rocker," Davis said. "The seat scene was the easiest part."

Davis supports Hill Top and is glad to be a part of the fundraiser.

Dickinson's Mylo Dullum also is happy to be part of the event.

"If it's for a place like Hill Top who has a good passion for what they do then I'm glad to help out," Dullum said. "They took great care of my mother, Katie, who passed away in 1995."


Dullum handcrafted two child-sized rocking chairs for the auction made out of pine boards. Dullum is familiar with making unique furniture items, which is a hobby.

"Most aren't for sale and I make a lot of cedar chests," Dullum said. "I enjoy doing this kind of work and I have fun putting things together and they come out looking pretty good."

Rhame artist Marsha Lehmann submitted an adult rocking chair with what she hopes shows the essence of Killdeer.

"The effect I was trying to achieve with this chair is what I think of when I think of Killdeer - the history of the mountain and the rodeo legacy," Lehmann said. "I again chose a rodeo scene to represent the rodeo history of Killdeer, mixed with accents of pine and acorns representing the Killdeer Mountains. I was hoping to achieve a glowing effect like a lantern in a cabin."

The chair has a dark stain on the wood giving it a gilt effect with a bareback rider on the seat.

New contributing artist is Patsy Souter of Killdeer who painted a child's rocking chair. Souter is a self-taught artist who often shares her talents through art lessons for young and old. She enjoys doing all kinds of artwork and had not painted a rocking chair before.

"Whatever I am working with at the time (is my favorite)," she said. "The biggest challenge with doing this was narrowing down what I wanted to do on it."

She began working with oils and has done decorative painting on wood, but often works with stained glass and draws. The inspiration for her chair design came from the shape of the chair and she plans to have some hidden things such as butterflies and lady bugs among flowers done in a yellow color palette.


Another new crafts person contributing is Cindy Bice of Killdeer who is doing a doll cradle.

The cradle rocks independently of the base legs which are solid. Bice has not made one before, but was inspired by a pattern her father Leonard Friedt gave her.

"So far it's going well," Bice said about the rocking cradle. "Everything I do is for benefit auctions, otherwise woodwork is a hobby. It gets me out of the house and I do most of my work in the winter time."

Bice found the rotor work most challenging. She mostly works on birdhouses and picket fence boxes decorated and fixed with lights.

Killdeer Public School Superintendent Gary Wilz hopes to donate a solid oak rocking baby cradle for the auction while Killdeer craftsman Joe Reems has put the finishing touches on a sweetheart rocker made out of cedar with a ranch scene on the back.

Reems said each piece of wood has to be chosen to balance just right and he often uses old fence posts and other odds and ends along with slabs of cut cedar pieces for his furniture. He draws his scene and burns it into the wood to get a rustic look for his furniture.

"Getting artists involved works well and it's a little different thing for them too," Schmidt said. "It is well received by the community."

For Schmidt, being on the foundation is about being a part of something, getting involved and volunteering. Although she is not originally from Killdeer, Schmidt has worked in similar nursing home facilities and has friends and neighbors who have been at Hill Top. The work Schmidt and others put into supporting the place is important to her.


"What I like about doing this event is the sense of community with it and staying involved with things in the area," Schmidt said. "Hill Top is a wonderful place for people and it is nice to see those I know here instead of being far away."

Involving artists and crafts people in donating their time and talents for auction items is a great concept for the foundation. Every year all items are sold and nothing is left and last year the foundation made close to $9,000, Pennington said.

The foundation and volunteers begin planning the event all year and even start brainstorming ideas right after the event ends for the next year's activities.

"There are a lot of details to cover like choosing a date that's fairly open, coming up with another great theme, lining up artists to participate and generating interest," Schmidt said.

Pennington added it's challenging to keep people coming back, but sees Killdeer as a community that likes to have fun.

"Last year we wanted to put the fun back into this and we want to keep that going this year," she said.

The steak fry and auction is not just a fundraiser, but a way to get the word out about Hill Top's integral part in the community, Pennington added.

Other artists donating items include Sheri Lynch, Rosemary Demaniow and Cindy Bice.

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