Group works at keeping Tampa residents connected

TampaDogRighty418.jpg
TampaDogRighty418.jpg

Movie fans young and old got the chance April 17 to met Righty, one of the dogs owned by Tampa-area resident Jonas Frantz that appeared in the DVD ?All Roads Lead Home.? The evening was planned by the Tampa Community Association and drew the largest crowd yet.

When the town of Tampa, with a population of 150 people, lost its post office in 2003, it created the Tampa Community Association as a way to keep its citizens connected.

Carol Spohn, president of the association, said the group has raised more than $6,500 by sponsoring street dances, softball tournaments, Santa Fe Trail festivities, dinners and movies.

The group even sells T-shirts, Spohn said. ?In fact, we are getting ready to order T-shirts for the third time.?

Since it began, the association has set it sights on pouring a basketball slab, buying new playground equipment and setting up a shelter. Whatever else might become a future need will be added, she said.

?We want to enhance what is already here and it?s our way of providing a community service,? she said.

Spohn thought forming an association would be good for the community.

?If you keep thinking (about an idea), then be the one to do it,? Spohn said, and she has chaired the group ever since but depends on the 20-member board.

She also credits Carla Hajek and Michelle Berens as two people among many in Tampa with unlimited enthusiasm.

For Spohn, it takes everyone to make the community a success and there?s no lack of commitment in making that happen.

?Two years ago, we had the movie, ?Flicka,? and all the organizations in town got together to make it a great success,? she said.

The Lions Club had pop and popcorn and the Tampa Fire Station used its door as the screen. People brought lawn chairs and everyone watched the movie outdoors, she said.

Recently, the association sponsored a movie night featuring a local canine celebrity.

?Righty,? a border collie, owned by Jonas Frantz of Tampa, was one of the ?super cute, scene-stealing puppies? in the movie, ?All Roads Lead Home,? an independent film released on DVD in January 2009.

In keeping with the theme of dogs, the association made people?s ?Puppy Chow? and spectators were treated to a demon?stration by 4-Her Kyle Riffel and his dog, a Jack Russell named Ruff.

Marion County 4-H Dog Project coordinator Beth Riffel brought four of the 14 obstacles that dogs would be required to use in training and competition.

Lauren and Lisa Geis of Durham also helped with the obstacles.

?We have about 30 participants in the 4-H Dog Project,? Beth said. ?The kids must teach their dogs showmanship, obedience and agility.?

Lisa and Kyle tested dogs with the closed and open tunnels, high jump and log jump as more than 75 people watched from the Tampa Senior Center.

The other highlight at the April 17 event was in explaining how Righty became an overnight star. Frantz said he placed an ad in the Wichita newspaper to sell his four border collie pups in 2008.

Not long after he placed the ad, he got a telephone call from a movie scout who said he was interested in all four pups for a movie. ?I thought it was a scam at first,? Frantz said. But after checking it out, he realized the movie and production company were for real.

Within weeks after the call, Frantz and a friend packed up the pups and headed for Weston, Mo., for one day of filming.

Righty got his name because of the white patch on the right side of his face. His brother, Lefty, had a patch on the left side.

When Frantz received a copy of the movie, one thing led to another and the Tampa Community Association asked if he would mind showing the movie in town. Once the word was out, almost 100 people attended the movie.

Not only was the movie ?awesome,? Spohn said, ?it was the biggest crowd we ever had (for an association event).?

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