ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Jim and Mary Clemmer have been selected by the Tampa Community Association to trade visits with a Tampa, Fla., couple who won their trip to Kansas in a slogan contest sponsored by WLFA, a talk radio station there.
Both couples will fly through Wichita leaving Feb. 11 and coming home Feb. 13.
Jim is mayor of Tampa, and he and Mary are acknowledged by members of the community association as favorites for any perk like this.
Jim said he’s never been to Florida, and he doesn’t know everything he will be doing there.
“All I know is it ain’t going to cost us anything,” he said.
He does know that Mr. and Mrs. Jim Allen of Brandon, Fla., the winners from Tampa, Fla., will be spending Friday night of their trip and Saturday morning breakfast with Jean and Jerry Rziha, who live northwest of Tampa.
They will also visit Hillsboro because both the Florida station and local people have been intrigued to know of a double naming situation-Tampa, Fla., is in Hillsboro County.
Jim wonders about other possible connections, but he doesn’t know how the Tampa in Marion County originally got its name, only that it was originally named “Hackerville” for a prominent settler family.
Even the promoters in Florida didn’t know how their town was named other than it might be a Native American word, Jim said.
Carole Spohn, president of the Tampa Community Association, said she hopes the Brandons have time to attend homecoming activities at Centre High School, view the Santa Fe Trail ruts and learn local history, visit a dairy farm, and feed cattle.
They’ll also receive Tampa mugs and T-shirts from businesses.
Jack Harris, WLFA promoter of the event, said the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will provide the Clemmers with a car and hotel lodging, then “turn them loose” to see the sights on their own.
Jim, who is 76, said he isn’t too sure about being turned loose at his age with a car in Tampa, Fla., after being used to the traffic in Tampa, Kan. He said he might prefer to let someone else do the driving.
That someone else could be his niece, Rita Carlson, and her husband, Dan, who came from here but now live in Winter Haven, Fla.
If not, he has another niece in West Palm Beach. But Jim said Florida is bigger than he thought. It will be a long drive for any of the relatives.
Checking on cable television, he’s been happy to find that the high temperatures in Tampa, Fla., have been running in the 70s.
He considers it a great first local effort at agri-tourism.
Jim Clemmer is probably right because Jim Allen from the other Tampa said he has only driven through Kansas, and has always been curious about what the rural areas might be like.