Republic Relay helps make Greene top county in US

By: Ronnie Wachter, Republic Monitor editor
June 22, 2005

A louder and brighter Republic Relay for Life awaits its visitors, walkers and distinguished guests Friday. And not just because of the fireworks.

There will be more voices filling the air around the Republic Middle School track, event chair Vickie Hayward said - the 2005 relay has 39 teams, 14 more than last year - and some of them will be cheering (and others jeering) during the new and possibly improved Queen of the Relay contest.

" We're not having swimsuits," Hayward said June 14, but this year's competition among cross-dressing young men will be a beauty pageant instead of the traditional talent show. Contestants will be interviewed, but if Republic has a male who could be called the "winner" of an evening gown competition remains to be seen.

Hayward gave her coworkers the credit for attracting more interest in the event this year.
"Our committees really worked hard to increase it," she said June 15.

Kym McGee, spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society, said Republic was a big help in making Greene County the organization's top money-maker. With a meager population compared to some of the nation's metropolitan counties, she said Greene residents are America's most generous donors.

"Greene County is the number-one county in the nation, as far as per capita is raised," McGee said Thursday. "That is a huge success."

The event will also feature live doves, confetti cannons and aerial explosions, Hayward said. A M Pyrotechnics LLC donated the ordinance for a fireworks show, she said, after the conclusion of the luminaria lighting.

"It's so solemn," and she hoped the display would liven walkers' spirits as the meat of the relay begins.

Still more noise will be made as the top prizes in the silent auction are carried over to a live auction, Hayward said. Each team must donate a basket of goods for the silent auction, and she said the 10 highest bid-getters will be marketed again for a live audience.

All this ruckus will be carried a bit further - the sounds of the on-stage entertainment will be broadcast on 101.7 and 103.4 FT by the Nixa Amateur Radio Club, KADI 95.5 FT and USA 1340 AM.

"We think the changes are going to be good," she said.

The fund-raising goal changed, as it does every year, rising to $95,000. Hayward said she hoped to see America's top relay-supporting county stomp on that figure.

"We really, really want to hear $100,000," she said.