Canine Competitions Open Shannock Valley Community Festival

“Most Patriotic Pet” Nominee “Goober” awaits final results from judges during last night’s “Your Pet Contest and Talent Show” at the Shannock Valley Community Festival. After an initial tie vote, “Goober” did win the category.


by Jonathan Weaver

The 25th Annual Shannock Valley Community Festival was all about the dogs Thursday night.

After vendors set up during the afternoon in Shannock Valley Community Park, the re-vamped pet contest and talent show started off the festivities in-front of the main stage.

Co-Chairperson Joe Weister, a resident of Rural Valley for the past 10 years, began volunteering when the festival was held in Templeton and said committee members are always discussing new ideas for the festival.

“We try to change up our events every year – this year, we brought the pet parade back with the talent show, then we’ll have the dog races and we thought we’d try karaoke this year,” Weister said.

Even though he doesn’t claim to be a singer, Weister looked forward to hearing some new voices.

Angie McCauley (who currently lives in New Bethlehem, but grew up in Rural Valley) emceed the competition and the nearly-dozen entries in the five categories, including “Best Matched,” “Funniest” and “Most Patriotic.”

McCauley has been helping alongside her mother – co-chair Pam Steffy – “as long as I can remember.”

“I’ve always been her shadow – I kind-of just jumped right into helping with things,” McCauley said.

She said the pet competition was a tradition before this year, but new categories and the talent portion were added to this year’s contest.

McCauley’s dog, “Kia,” a Malamute/Lab mix rescued from Ohio was too shy to compete – and perhaps would have been a little embarrassed.

“The kids like to try to dress her up but she doesn’t like it too much,” McCauley said.

Of the five winners, Parker McCoy and his dog, “Cole” weren’t too embarrassed though and won the funniest category after McCoy dressed up as a doctor and “Cole” in a hospital gown.
Co-Chair Pam Steffey has been on the committee since the late-1990’s and in the community since she was a child. Her dog – 17-year-old “Spike” was the ‘mascot’ of the dog races.

The 4th Annual Weiner Dog Races pit eight small dogs against each other in a double-elimination race across the already-constructed horseshoe pit – although the first race attempt was stalled after one of the dogs chased after the other instead.

“Dash” – a 3 ½ year old black-and-tan miniature dachshund won first place in the races, with owner Alex Callas of Sarver, along with his wife, Janet, and assistant Jolene.

“We’ll be having steak tonight,” Callas laughed. “Ever since we got her, she loved the tennis ball.”

The best “Dash” finished before was second place – twice.

“This dog was made for racing,” Weister said. “I think he outran them all.”

Donna and Ken McGinnis of Kittanning raced their dogs, five year old “Cooper” and four-year-old “Beamer.”

Although “Beamer” lost in the first round to “Dash,” he won fourth place – while beating “Cooper” in the loser bracket.

“Cooper” won third place in 2013.

A “Cooper” also won second place this year, but he was owned by Ashley McIntire of Elderton.

The trophies for all the competitions were presented by seven-year-old Meghan Barnett, who was named “Queen of the Crown” in Nashville, Tenn. earlier this year.

Steffey looked forward to the rest of the weekend activities and thanked local residents and volunteers for their efforts.

“It is nice to pull the community together. It’s the community businesses and volunteers and people that donate out of their own pockets – it takes the whole community to make this go! It’s not just one person or a group of people – we have a committee and we oversee things, but it’s the whole community and even some outside of the community,” Steffey said. “We are so appreciative.”

Another unique event this year will occur during tonight’s festival parade, when two reality television stars from the TLC “Breaking Amish” series ride in the parade after Weister’s daughter, Stephanie Barnett, messaged the cast on Facebook.

The stars will also sign autographs and be available for photos in the community park following the parade.

Tonight, DJ Eternal Fire begins mixing at 4PM in the park before the parade begins at 6PM. The top fire truck, tractor, float and possibly even band will be announced after.


Bids Opened for New Riverhawks Uniforms

Armstrong School District administrative secretary Susan Ferguson makes a note to Kittanning Senior High Principal James Rummel as he reviews a bid for production of the new Armstrong Riverhawks athletic uniforms.

By Jonathan Weaver

A Texas-based company submitted the lowest total bid to produce the new Armstrong Riverhawks athletic uniforms for the 2014-15 school year.

So that uniforms would be available in-time for the fall 2014 sports season, Kittanning Junior High Principal Kirk Lorigan, Ford City Junior/Senior High Principal Michael Cominos, Kittanning Senior High Principal James Rummel and administrative staff opened bids for the uniforms yesterday afternoon at the district administration office on the West Hills school complex.

BSN Sports – based in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, but with a regional office and sales representative in Collier Township (Allegheny County) bid the lowest at slightly more than $83,600.

Century Sports of McMurray (Washington County), slightly more than $103,100 after a discounted rate and Pacific Athletic Wear, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., bid more than $103, 250.

The three bidders who successfully bid were bidding to manufacture uniforms for nearly 30 district sports teams between the junior high and varsity level – including more than a dozen total in the fall season.

“I was surprised there were only three that bid on all of it, to be honest – I thought there would be more – but overall, the bid came in lower than we were anticipating, so we’re actually very happy with that, Rummel said.

“(BSN Sports) has a very good reputation as one of the biggest suppliers of Nike merchandise,” Rummel said.

Administrators projected the equipment would cost about $100,000.

Although four other companies submitted bids, specifications indicated they were only to manufacture uniforms for certain teams, such as swimming, girls` tennis or cheerleading – a violation of the bid requirements.

“When you can bid on the entire athletics, they can give it to you at bulk-rate: cheaper price – that’s why we decided to go that route,” Rummel said. “If we did that each sport individually, I guarantee you (the final cost) would’ve been a lot more than (BSN’s total bid).”

A bid was also disqualified since the company substituted material from Under Armor rather than Nike. In June, Rummel announced plans to utilize the patented-swoosh material.

“We thoroughly previewed a lot of different uniforms and that’s what we came up with. The quality, the price, everything worked out well with that,” Rummel said. “If (the price for the disqualified bid) had been significantly-less, we certainly would have looked at it, maybe even got some samples in it, but we’re happy to go with the Nike – that’s what we wanted.”

Rummel also showed examples of both custom and stock uniforms to school board directors at the open caucus session, and projected that a cost-savings based on some stock uniforms would allow for the purchase of junior-high uniforms.

Custom-made items will be shipped within 120 days of the order, whereas stock items delivered within 90 days, Cominos said.

“We’ll work with their representative on that closely,” Rummel said.

Administrators are not currently looking to add any additional sports teams.

“We’re not adding any sports we don’t already have – I have boys` volleyball but through a co-op through the two schools (as well as) girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer – this is just what we have,” Cominos said.

Ford City High is also represented with a solo gymnast (who has her own coach and buys her own uniform), as well as a female lacrosse player who competes in Indiana, Pa.

The proposals and a recommendation will all be submitted to Armstrong School District board directors at their August meeting.

A committee will be formed later this school year to decide what to do with Kittanning and Ford City memorabilia. Other equipment might be able to be refurbished as well.

Band uniforms should be completed in early-2015, according to Cominos.

School Superintendent Stan Chapp noted that depending on funds, marching band uniforms for WSHS will possibly be reviewed for the 2015-2016 school year.