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Our zoo is famous and other local news
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Tying up a few loose ends on stories that didn’t make the front page:
Great Bend can now call its Brit Spaugh Zoo “nationally famous.” A story about a recent purchase has been published in such sources as The Wall Street Journal and the Sacramento Bee.
The headline reads, “Great Bend Zoo conquers an epic drain cleaning problem.” You could say the bears and other zoo animals are responsible, just for doing what they would do in the woods – or whatever their natural habitats might be.
A few months ago, Zoo Director Scott Gregory purchased a Clog Hog drain cleaner for under 200 bucks. The Clog Hog is a sewer jetter attachment for power washers. A sales representative thought it was interesting that a zoo was buying a product typically purchased by home owners, and asked Gregory for a testimonial. Then someone in the Clog Hog marketing department got PRNeswire to create an “advertorial.”
A disclaimer on the WSJ website where the story appears notes, “The Wall Street Journal news department was not involved in the creation of this content.”
Gregory didn’t know his words would be used in exactly this way, so the staff here at the Great Bend Tribune knew the zoo was in the Wall Street Journal even before he did.
On to other topics, when the men’s soccer season ended at the Great Bend Recreation Commission, the staff asked if women would like to play for a few weeks. Several teams were formed and Sports Director Chris Umphres said more than 350 people came to watch their moms, sisters and girlfriends play.
The games were on Tuesday evenings, so one week I stayed late at the Tribune with plans to check it out for myself. Half an hour before the soccer was supposed to begin, I drove to the Great Bend City Auditorium, only to find the parking lot full. The people I saw walking toward the auditorium were not what I thought typical soccer fans would look like – and they sure weren’t soccer players. Some weren’t even women.
I expected to see people in their 20s, and possibly 30s, and I figured many of them would be Hispanic, but what I saw were gray-hair white people, some middle aged and some senior citizens. It turned out there was no women’s soccer that night because the auditorium was being used by the Golden Belt Community Concert Association.
Speaking of the Great Bend Recreation Commission, it’s baseball season. For the first time in many years, there won’t be an adult men’s team called the Salty Dogs. The names of players have changed, but we’re talking about a team that has played since the 1970s. Last year, most of the teammates were in their 50s or 60s. Even though the team has retired, some of the players aren’t ready to quit and are playing on other teams.
It feels like we’ve had about a week of spring, and although summer is still a month away, Memorial Day seems like a summer holiday. After all, the Wetlands Aquatic Center opens Friday and then next weekend is the June Jaunt, with too many fun things to do and see than can be listed here today.

Susan Thacker is a reporter for the Great Bend Tribune. Send e-mail to