As the winds blew cold, moist air across southwest Kansas this past January, crews from Victory Electric were in the middle of the storm.
Power lines broke and poles were virtually sawed in half. Thousands were without power, yet the crews from the local cooperative — as well as several other coops regionally that had converged on the area — worked tirelessly to restore power and hope to communities in need.
"The work they did was so admirable that we want to honor Victory Electric during this year’s Dodge City Roundup Rodeo," said Dr. R.C. Trotter, Roundup’s president. "Nearly everybody in Dodge City was without power for at least some time, some for days.
"Lines were down; poles were snapped. No matter how cold it got, you could see a Victory Electric crew out there all the time. We had several inches of ice on absolutely everything. We had entire trees down, 25 percent damage to nearly every tree in town."
It was so down that the Federal Emergency Management Agency helped with the cleanup.
That type of dedication deserves special attention. Victory Electric has also partnered with the regional rodeo through its sponsorship with Roundup, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2-Sunday, Aug. 6, at Roundup Arena. That also includes the A Whole Lotta Bull night — with Xtreme Bulls and the Bullfighters Only competition — on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
"This was a small-scale major disaster for Dodge City like we haven’t seen in many years," said Elaine Gall, Roundup’s office manager. "As an example of the community spirit of Dodge City, the vast majority of our residents chose to ‘grin and bear it’ and were very understanding of the work Victory Electric was trying to accomplish."
That’s the pioneering spirit that has served as the foundation for much of southwest Kansas.
"We are very blessed to have such a strong partnership with Victory," Trotter said. "They also help so many other areas that have been hit by disasters. We know they had some of their crews out by Ulysses a few weeks ago, and they were all over when we had the blizzard the end of April that hit so much of western Kansas.
"We are very thankful for the work they do in times that most people don’t want to be out."
Even then, though, community members gathered through the rough weather this past January. Food and drinks were supplied to those crews working so hard to restore power. It served as a small token of appreciation.
The bigger token takes place during the largest event to hit southwest Kansas each summer.
"Considering all that Victory Electric has done this year, this is a very small ‘thank you’ that we as a community can offer," Trotter said. "We’re very thankful for what they provide to Dodge City."