Ironman: Inspiration in abundance

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It's that time of year ... inspirational stories of the regular folks who've spent months of dedicated effort to prepare for the race of their lives. I love Ironman for the people - the athletes, the volunteers, the cheering sections in neighborhoods throughout the course. If ever an event highlighted personal achievement, community camaraderie and world class volunteerism, Ironman Coeur d'Alene is it.

Two friends who are first-timers - County Commissioner Todd Tondee and Boys and Girls Club Director Ryan Davis - are on my list of athletes to cheer on, as is Copper Basin's Greg Gervais ... a veteran of multiple Ironmans, including Kona.

My Ironman watching tip: viewing the 2,000-plus swimmers as they enter the water en mass at 7 a.m. and being at the First and Sherman finish line the last few hours before the midnight cutoff.

The Idaho Youth Summit, presented by Idaho Drug Free Youth, featured more than 200 incredible young people from all over the state last week at Lutherhaven. I had the pleasure of hearing presentations from a number of groups on their proposals to become agents of change in their schools and communities. High five to a group of Coeur d'Alene High School students, Samira Obeid, Leighann Connif, Shannon Hanson, Donny Sheffield, Sydney Sales, Brandi Rhead and Keven Mack, for reinforcing my belief in the younger generation's commitment to step up and make a difference!

More than $2,000 was raised in a couple of hours at the Singing for Sophie benefit on Father's Day. It was a real celebration of community and caring. Angela Whitaker won the karaoke contest prize of $250 and promptly donated it to the cause. Darling Sophie, recently diagnosed with leukemia at the age of two, was there with her parents, Jake and Nicole Medlock, sporting a pink cap with the words "Cancer Fears Me." Puts everything in perspective, doesn't it?

Love this family story I read about on Facebook from a CHS Class of '70 classmate ... Tim Shepperd's great-grandmother, Rutha Jane (Woody) Shepperd, brought roses from Iowa in 1878 and planted them on the family farm just outside Troy, Idaho. Tim's uncle, Jim Shepperd, has provided start-ups to many of the grandchildren as a living heirloom. Says Tim of the beautiful yellow flowers, "I was lucky, mine have prospered and bloomed each year. I'm not sure what the "official" name is for this type of rose, but we refer to it as the "Shepperd Rose" because of the family connection."

Two-time Olympian and Post Falls High School alum (1995) Ian Waltz is keeping the dream alive. Ian placed in the top six of the qualifying Prefontaine Classic on June 4. He'll give the gold another shot at the USA National Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon this weekend. Throw big Ian!

What recession? A Plymouth Super Bird sold for a whopping $137,500 at the Saturday auction during Car d'Lane. And speaking of cool cars, the 2011 Millard Newman Transcontinental Tour of vintage Rolls Royces has descended on the Coeur d'Alene Resort. The group is making their way from here to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We happened upon them on Monday evening and these are some incredible vehicles they're taking to the open road.

We set sail on the high seas (aka Lake Coeur d’Alene) with the Pirates of the Coeur d’Alenes Monday night and had a great time. The local actors in the roles of Captain Calico Jack (Alex Carey), Mad Molly (Trigger Weddle), Ignacia (Jessi Little) and Paisley Percival (Cory Williamson) put on a show that delighted people of all ages. Our group agreed that a slow-mo segment was the highlight.

Happy Birthday today to Joe Butler and to Scott Shepperd who's turning the big 4-0. Tomorrow Nancy Nick, Ric Clarke and Otis Fencl celebrate and on Friday it's party time for Kathy Bush, Rhonda Redtwin, Laura Lahr, John Phelps, Sr., Sara Wegner and Jim Reynolds. On Saturday Jan Olson is 50!, sharing a birthdate with Mikki Stevens, Megan Ownbey, Joanne Hildebrant, Shanda Johnson, Bill Reagan, Sally Parsons Mackin, Connnie McGee, Jim Guy and Kylie Gibson. Ben Wolfinger, Kit Hoffer, Margi Domme, Cathleen O'Connor, Ernie Hunt, Sheryl Snyder, Sam Davis and Chloe Hunter will blow out their candles on Sunday. Starting the week with birthdays are Curtis Park, John Goodlander and Janet Smith on Monday and Norma Fencl on Tuesday.

THERE'S MORE: New stories and photos almost every day at More Main Street. There's a link also for adding your birthday to the Main Street Birthday Club! Access at, columns tab.

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. She was voted Best Local Writer for 2010 by the readers of the North Idaho Business Journal. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press. More Main Street blog is at Listen to Main Street Monday on KVNI AM1080. Kerri can be reached at

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