A Mazeppa Muster! Letterheads Paint the Town in Living Colour!

By Janette Balogh


It is said that chicken soup is good for the soul. Well, not even grandmas finest broth can come close to a good old fashioned Letterhead Meet that takes place in a small town setting. Take a few hundred craving souls, mix up some paint, add brushes and stir in a couple Big Ass brewskis and youve got a dandy recipe that leads to the time of your life.

The town was ours! Id say we did a super job of painting it not just red, but every colour under the sun! Heck, just by our personalities alone! From the moment I saw Denise Carsons big grin and twinkling eyes at the airport I knew I was in the right place and that this was going to be a good one! Instantly we were like children with excitement and anticipation. That feeling only intensified as all the other kids showed up and a playground soon unfolded before us!

Mike Meyer, Denise and crew provided us with all the essentials in an atmosphere that was short on boundaries and high on spirit! I broke thru some of my own self-imposed boundaries at this meet. First of all with a project that stretched my capabilities beyond my own expectations.  Im very grateful to the Letterhead spirit for firing up a passion for this craft in me that I had lost sight of, and for exposing me to new ways of emitting creative energy. I encourage others to push past their own barricades and give into the desire to do the same. Just do it!

Each meet brings me closer to the feeling of family between extraordinary friends as it feeds existing bonds and ignites new ones. Consequently another personal boundary was broken for me. I definitely shed some inhibitions at this meet and opened myself up to some good clean and unbridled fun! With this I was in plenty of good company! What a gas, the place was cookin! No one had to ask Are we having fun yet?

The intermix of people at this meet showed absolutely no signs of discrimination. New hands worked with old hands. The experienced drew in the novices as, side by side, with smiles, giggles and between hearty laughs we all reinvented Mazeppa! There was nothing but positive attitudes feeding off each other. Not a sour grape in the batch!

With everyones involvement I watched this sleepy town come to life in a matter of hours. The locals were flabbergasted, but most of all, they welcomed the changes in their routine well! They opened their arms, their homes and their hearts to one Big Ass Letterhead Movement!

By daylight it was like Christmas in August with scenes of Letterhead elves at work and play. At one end of town was the woodshop where the sounds of saws and chisels could be heard, as adorning structures were being built.

Dave Correll led a crew in creating a masterpiece for WDs Bar, Rick Dolphens headed up another for the Lions Park, Dick Boeher  orchestrated one for the Antique Store and Cam Bortz was on it for Leos Sports Bar. When not mixing up another batch of his marvelous bloody marvies,  Marv Renter could be found leading the show on the Laundromat / Car Wash sign. Gary Anderson arrived with another dimensional eye-catcher for WDs bar and Tim Peterson did a bang up job with his crew on the Legion sign.

Many new and familiar faces alike could be seen breaking a sweat in this busy little woodshop. The panel jam building was buzzing with paint flying everywhere, landing with more awesome results than you can imagine! Throughout the town were more elves hanging off walls filling in the colours with scenes of nostalgia. Bill Masters, Nancy Bennett and crew took on the Meyers wall, the CocaCola wall was Dan Millers hangout, The Dam projects team included Steve Estes and Kent Smith. Pat King soared with an eagle on Joes Arcade and Dave Gilsvik got a late start on the Historic Wall, but with a little help from some friends, pulled it off splendidly.

Several enclosed trailers were lettered at the meet by the likes of those including Barry Quakenbush, Dave the Letterman, Jim Straw and Denise Carson. Scott Boeman and crew banged out one bad ass Monster Truck & Trailer.

The air was filled with accents of differing flavors. Scottish, English, Australian, a hint of Finland, a touch of New England, and every so often, some down-home Southern drawl.

By each Nightfall it became New Years Eve all over again! A celebration of life at its finest as though embracing new beginnings. And so it was for many! The first night brought with it the creation of the 23 Carat Gold Dancers headed up by our main barkeep Bill Masters, and including myself with Denise Carson and Colleen Sack. Together we kept the bar upbeat and in sync with the music, and we took this job mighty serious! The whole room was shaking! Hey, someone hadda do it right? Anyone remember the beat to Love Shack? (grin)

Bob Parsons, who came out of hiding after 17 yearsparsons.jpg (11258 bytes) for this meet, was quick on the draw at Ores Bar! Within minutes, he would jot down the faces that encompassed this grand event. Bob and his caricatures were a big hit, and much appreciated by all!

Among the seminars at this meet were one of my favorites given by Dennis Gerathy who showed us how he creates his aged antique replica signs. Dennis also gave us a good pep talk about motivation and positive thinking. Its always good to get a dose of perspective and an occasional attitude adjustment, especially in this business eh?

Robert Freese dazzled us with a stunning glass piece for the billiard hall, Timi Barrows showed us grass painting techniques, and Doug Downey enlightened us with Corel tips. A pinstriping seminar was given by the master himself, Dewayne Connot, and should not have been  missed by anyone there striving to be a Pinhead. Steve Shortreed was ever present with his laptop, and, in open seminar style, was always available to educate us on internet related topics. Ill take this opportunity to thank both Steve and Barb along with the Letterhead Website for introducing many of us to such wonderful Letterhead experiences as this. The Mazeppa Muster was a first for many!

One of the big events taking place was the face off between the US and Canada in a battle on the hockey court. Without giving too much away, Ill say that the US stumbled away from that one with their tails between their legs as the Canucks floated past them with heads held high!

Another main attraction was the Letterhead Parade. Here, if you had anything to show off,  you were invited to strut your stuff down Main Street. Two local radio DJs commentated the event keeping us in stitches with their wit, and candy was flying everywhere. Im still finding tootsie rolls in my suitcase. The entire parade was seen around the World via the HeadTV video cam. Say, Dennis Gerathy, by the way, can you spell rhythm? (wink)catapault1.jpg (54462 bytes)

The catapult, built by Dick Boeher, was a continual source of entertainment during the meet. All kinds of things were being attached and flung from that thing at unsuspecting targets. Mostly, water balloons were a big splash! My personal favorite as the catapult executioner was Stewart McClaren from Scotland! Those Scots get all worked up at playtime!

The last night of this meet was definitely the Grande Finale! Launched by one fabulous band called The Joe Juliano Band, Letterheads hit the streets in the ultimate of street dances! What an opportunity to let down your hair and kick up your heels, and so we all did just that. Not a filled seat in sight and no one could keep from moving! Now thats a good band! Best of all was the feeling of genuine elation, camaraderie, liberation and love seemed to fill the air. Lots of hugs, lots of ear to ear smiles, laughter and all kinds of fancy footwork. It was all so overwhelming. The feeling seems to go beyond words, but it was powerful and all encompassing. Why fight it? And so, we relinquished control and were swept away by the excitement of the experience! Once the band cut out, it was on to Ores for one last hoorah as the evening continued into the wee hours!

lawn1.jpg (19273 bytes)Mazeppa has found a place in our hearts and Mike Meyer,  you have our thanks for paving the way! Ive heard of Letterhead Meets that wind down slowly. Well, Im here to tell you, this one went out with a bang! This one will go down in history and I am sure it will be a lasting memory for all. Id say we are now geared to meet the new millenium head on! What a way to close out the century!

Mike Meyer

Denise Carson


The Project Panels

The Letterhead Parade

The Hockey Game

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