SHERIDAN — In 1975, Kiwanis member Jim Ross cooked pancakes and sausage for the first-ever Sheridan WYO Rodeo pancake breakfast. Forty-three years later, a group of around 10 members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 117 cooked and served pancakes and ham to thousands of hungry rodeo fans Friday morning. Later in the afternoon, ducks floated down Goose Creek in Kendrick Park at the hands of new event organizers — Philanthropic Educational Organization Chapter BI.
Sheridan’s local Kiwanis group has slowly passed down and shared these long-standing traditions that kick off Sheridan WYO Rodeo’s weekend events. Boy Scouts of America promotes adventure, family, fun, character and leadership. P.E.O., an international women’s organization, helps promote women’s education through scholarships, grants and loan opportunities. Both organizations focus on helping young men and women learn essential skills necessary for adulthood.
One of Kiwanis’ missions focuses directly on children and providing better qualities of life in places both near and far. Key Clubs fill high schools throughout the country, and The Eliminate Project helps eradicate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
What remains among each of these organizations is a sense of tradition, and by the new organizations hosting the pancake breakfast and duck race, tradition continues into a new generation.
“It’s exciting (to be a part of this tradition),” Boy Scout Gaige Vielhauer said while flipping pancakes Friday morning. “It’s fun to interact with the community, and eating pancakes is a morning thing that people like.”
Next to him on the griddle was troop leader Trey Gill. He felt the camaraderie among troop members Friday and for the last two years as a troop leader.
“It builds a lot of team spirit and it’s a big money-maker for them,” Gill said. “All the money made from this goes directly to the boys, and the boys get it apportioned according to how much work they do.”
Boy Scout camps usually cost a couple hundred dollars, and the fundraising efforts by the boys with the pancake breakfast and the group’s fall fundraiser pay the majority, if not all, of their way to those camps.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun,” Gill said.
Donors play a large part in the yearly success of the pancake breakfast fundraiser each year. Perkins has and continues to provide 25 5-gallon buckets of pancake batter. Walmart, Ridleys and Albertsons help provide other materials, which helps the troop with costs. The troop goes through around 60 gallons of orange juice and 30 gallons of milk during the fundraiser.
As Sheridan’s local Kiwanis club hands off one fundraiser and partners with another, they hand off opportunities for young adults. Specifically, Kiwanis gives these young adults opportunities to work toward futures of success, responsibility and leadership.