I have to say that this week was truly one of my favorites! We were in St. Louis, MO at the beginning of the week for a few days to re-coop. One of those days happened to be my 26th birthday! We managed to catch a Cardinal’s game and enjoyed a nice dinner 26 floors up in downtown St. Louis. It was a great birthday with even better company!
While in St. Louis, the word spread that we were going to make an appearance at the World’s Largest Catsup bottle outside of STL! The Tater Team and Big Idaho Potato got invited to make a live appearance on Fox Channel 2 in the morning before our event. We brought our spud to the studio and were interviewed by anchor John Pertzborn! Mike Gassmann a rep from the Catsup bottle joined as well. Click here to see our live interview.
We rolled up to the World’s Largest Catsup bottle in Collinsville, IL afterward. The Catsup bottle is an old water tower that is 170 foot-tall! The actual Catsup bottle is 70 foot-long (almost as long as our truck) and could hold over 100,000 gallons of catsup. I’m sure you’re wondering.. what is catsup?! Well, it’s just another way to spell ketchup! We were a little stumped, but soon learned that there’s two different ways to spell it depending on where and who you are. Upon arrival, we met up with Mike and Judy Gassmann who both do the marketing for the Catsup bottle. Judy actually saved the Catsup bottle back in 1993, when she petitioned and raised over $100,000 for it’s restoration. The Catsup bottle is actually privately owned and got a new owner a few years ago. It is even listed as a Historic Landmark! It also has an old factory for Brook’s Catsup, but it is now shut down. I actually met a fan who came by who told me that her parents actually met when they worked at the Catsup factory! Such a cool story!
We had an amazing turn-out that day for our event! Hundreds of people came by to get their spud selfie, play potato hole, get some Idaho Potato recipes, and free post cards. They could purchase Catsup swag including t-shirts, mugs, post cards, and other cool stuff. Two news stations including the local FOX and ABC stations visited as well. We also had a signature board for a local charity called “Homework, Help, and Hoops” which is a local after-school program. The Gassmann’s said that it was one of their most successful events, and that we need to make it an annual event! They were some of the nicest and funniest people I’ve ever met in my life, and I’m so glad they keep having us back!
The team took our tater to Richfield, WI next outside of Milwaukee for the 14th Annual Special Olympics Annual Truck Convoy! The truck convoy went from Richfield fifty miles north on Highway 41 to Oshkosh and consisted of 175+ semi-trucks. It was a celebration to commemorate “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week” and “National Thank a Cop Day” and raise funds for the Special Olympics. Truck drivers are truly essential for our economy and the accessibility of goods in our country. Police officers keep us safe, and both worked together that day to put on this amazing event! Before the start of the convoy, there was a ceremony where the olympic torch was lit and sponsors and drivers were recognized. There was also an auction for the starting positions in the convoy and first place went for $4,000. Last year, over $150,000 was raised and I’m so excited to find out how much was raised this year. In the past 14 years, over 1.2 million dollars has been raised for the Special Olympics Wisconsin. It was truly touching to know just how much of an impact this event makes in the life of those with disabilities.
During the convoy, we had a special guest named Alex who is a Special Olympian! Alex competes in track and field, bowling, and basketball. He was picked as the Athlete Marshall and we were honored to escort him in style! It was his first time riding in a semi-truck and he was a great co-passenger. We were also accompanied in the cab by a State Trooper named Tony. At the end of the convoy, there was an awards ceremony and the Big Idaho Potato won best in show which was voted by SO athletes. I got to give a “thank you” speech to everyone for having us and said that it was one of the best events we’ve ever been a part of! We were truly inspired that day by all of the athletes, SO employees, sponsors, and drivers who care so much about this cause. It was one of the highlights of my potato career so far.
We have another week before we are back in Idahome! It’s crazy to think that this crazy ride is almost finished, but it won’t be long until we are on the road once again! Until next time Potato Peeps!
-Tater Twin Kaylee