2018-01-11 / Front Page

Tip-up Town Kick-off features some surprises, plenty of laughs

Sura, LaPaugh elected mayor, marshal
By Cheryl Holladay


DO YOU SWEAR? Longtime volunteer (and husband of Grand Marshal Sue Jacobs) Jay Jacobs (left) swears in Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, otherwise known as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” as Tip-up Town marshal and “Bobcat” Chris Sura as mayor at the 2018 Tip-up Town, U.S.A., Kick-off. The annual event was held Jan. 6 at the Houghton Lake Historical Playhouse. Tip-up Town starts the weekend of Jan. 19-21 and wraps up the weekend of Jan. 26-28. (Photos by Cheryl Holladay) DO YOU SWEAR? Longtime volunteer (and husband of Grand Marshal Sue Jacobs) Jay Jacobs (left) swears in Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, otherwise known as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” as Tip-up Town marshal and “Bobcat” Chris Sura as mayor at the 2018 Tip-up Town, U.S.A., Kick-off. The annual event was held Jan. 6 at the Houghton Lake Historical Playhouse. Tip-up Town starts the weekend of Jan. 19-21 and wraps up the weekend of Jan. 26-28. (Photos by Cheryl Holladay) Tip-up Town, U.S.A., kicked off Jan. 6 with an episode of a Western drama, musical entertainment and some “horse play.”

This year’s Tip-up Town theme is “country western” and serving as mayor and marshal will be Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, otherwise known as “Matt Dil­lon Jr.,” and “Bobcat” Chris Sura. Serv­ing as grand marshal will be Sue Jacobs.


HORSIN’ AROUND’ AT TIP-UP TOWN KICK-OFF Emcees Chris Sura and Tracy Smith (on stage) welcome a Brahman steer “Boomer,” owned by Chris DeBaeke of Triple D Ranch, Markey Township to the festivities. Boomer later dropped a gift on the floor for the crowd – and that’s no bull! HORSIN’ AROUND’ AT TIP-UP TOWN KICK-OFF Emcees Chris Sura and Tracy Smith (on stage) welcome a Brahman steer “Boomer,” owned by Chris DeBaeke of Triple D Ranch, Markey Township to the festivities. Boomer later dropped a gift on the floor for the crowd – and that’s no bull! Queen candidates, Stephanie Eck­storm, Keeley Woods and Kat Haser, were introduced and Hometown Hero Jim Nielsen was honored and given a front row seat to the Kick-off.

Masters of Ceremony Chris Sura and Tracy Smith welcomed a large crowd at the Houghton Lake Historical Play­house, following a rendition by Calam­ity Jane of “Come to Tip-up Town,” written by the late Tommy Durden of Houghton Lake.

Smith said Kick-off organizers knew it would be difficult to find a replace­ment for the late Frank “T-Bear” Thibert, who entertained at the Kick-off for many years, and thanked Theresa Wagner and


QUEEN’S COURT 2018 Tip-up Town queen candidates (left to right) Stephanie Eckstorm, Keeley Woods and Kat Haser accept their jackets, courtesy of Spicer’s Boat City. This year’s queen will be announced at the Outdoor Games Stage Jan. 20, following the Grand Parade. QUEEN’S COURT 2018 Tip-up Town queen candidates (left to right) Stephanie Eckstorm, Keeley Woods and Kat Haser accept their jackets, courtesy of Spicer’s Boat City. This year’s queen will be announced at the Outdoor Games Stage Jan. 20, following the Grand Parade. Kathy McCoy of Calamity Jane for a great opening to the annual event. Smith also mentioned the passing of Kathy Pease, long-time Tip-up Town volunteer. Pease, who died June 20, 2017, served as last year’s grand marshal alongside her husband Gary Pease, who attended this year’ event.

Smith then brought Grand Marshal Sue Jacobs to the stage.

Jacobs said she was going to talk “a little bit” and unfurled a roll of paper. She corrected herself, saying it was just her Christmas list!

Jacobs said she and Tracy Smith had run for queen in 1999, but that Smith had won. She said she and another friend ran against John Fuller in 1994 when he and Harvey Winkler ran for mayor and marshal, and they won. She joked that they all had connections when it came to ballot-counting.


PEOPLE HAVING FUN PARTY (Left to right) Dennis LaPaugh (left) as Matt Dillon, Samantha Miller as Kitty, Gary Richards as Festus and Ed Zielinski as the bartender perform a skit depicting what the final episode of Gunsmoke may have looked like. Kitty proclaimed she was pregnant with Dillon’s baby and that she knew it was a boy. Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, otherwise known as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” and “Bobcat” Chris Sura then appeared on stage to an­nounce their candidacy, running as members of the People Having Fun Party. Turns out, LaPaugh had been writing to the Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” in anticipation of the Kick-off. Sura and LaPaugh garnered the most votes among the audience and were sworn in as 2018 mayor and mar­shal, respectively. (Photos by Cheryl Holladay) PEOPLE HAVING FUN PARTY (Left to right) Dennis LaPaugh (left) as Matt Dillon, Samantha Miller as Kitty, Gary Richards as Festus and Ed Zielinski as the bartender perform a skit depicting what the final episode of Gunsmoke may have looked like. Kitty proclaimed she was pregnant with Dillon’s baby and that she knew it was a boy. Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, otherwise known as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” and “Bobcat” Chris Sura then appeared on stage to an­nounce their candidacy, running as members of the People Having Fun Party. Turns out, LaPaugh had been writing to the Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” in anticipation of the Kick-off. Sura and LaPaugh garnered the most votes among the audience and were sworn in as 2018 mayor and mar­shal, respectively. (Photos by Cheryl Holladay) “This is all about tomfoolery,” Jacobs said, about Tip-up Town.


GOLD FISH PARTY CANDIDATES “Mountain Climber” Marc Milburn and “Buffalo Hunter” Bruce “Buck” Olson, accompanied by Milburn’s son, Warren, competed for the title of mayor and marshal of Tip-up Town. The men read an origi­nal poem, penned by Milburn, touting the fun activities at the winter carnival. GOLD FISH PARTY CANDIDATES “Mountain Climber” Marc Milburn and “Buffalo Hunter” Bruce “Buck” Olson, accompanied by Milburn’s son, Warren, competed for the title of mayor and marshal of Tip-up Town. The men read an origi­nal poem, penned by Milburn, touting the fun activities at the winter carnival. Turning a bit more serious, she asked Tip-up Town volunteers who were in the audience to stand up and be recognized. She encouraged children in the audience to get involved and suggested couples volunteer together as a bonding experi­ence. She also thanked the grand marshal committee for selecting her.

Jacobs was given a grand marshal jacket, provided by Scotteez Apparel. Sura and Smith also presented her with a crown of her own.


HOMETOWN HERO Jay Jacobs (left) introduces Jim Nielsen, 84, of Houghton Lake, as this year’s Tip-up Town Hometown Hero and presented him with his of­ficial Tip-up Town badge at the 2018 Kick-off at the Houghton Lake Historical Playhouse Jan. 6. Nielsen spent 33 months as a POW during the Korean War. After he returned home, he eventually opened a ser­vice station and had five children, all of whom are Houghton Lake High School graduates. Also pictured are Rose Markiewicz (right) and one of his sons, Steve Nielsen (background). HOMETOWN HERO Jay Jacobs (left) introduces Jim Nielsen, 84, of Houghton Lake, as this year’s Tip-up Town Hometown Hero and presented him with his of­ficial Tip-up Town badge at the 2018 Kick-off at the Houghton Lake Historical Playhouse Jan. 6. Nielsen spent 33 months as a POW during the Korean War. After he returned home, he eventually opened a ser­vice station and had five children, all of whom are Houghton Lake High School graduates. Also pictured are Rose Markiewicz (right) and one of his sons, Steve Nielsen (background). Former POW Jim Nielsen, 84, Houghton Lake, was introduced by Jay Jacobs as this year’s “Hometown Hero.”

Nielsen, who spent 33 months in a Korean POW camp in the early 1950s while a member of the Army’s 7th Divi­sion 31st Infantry, will be featured in the Grand Parade Jan. 20. He will also be given the flag that flies over the beverage tent, the last Saturday of Tip-up Town. (Look for his story in the Resorter’s Tip- up Town News, to be published Jan. 18.)


SHE’S GOT SOMETHING TO SAY Tip-up Town Grand Marshal Sue Jacobs warns the audience she was going to talk “a little bit,” but the roll of paper, she said, turned out to be her Christmas list. She joked that she is used to coming in second. SHE’S GOT SOMETHING TO SAY Tip-up Town Grand Marshal Sue Jacobs warns the audience she was going to talk “a little bit,” but the roll of paper, she said, turned out to be her Christmas list. She joked that she is used to coming in second. The 2017 Tip-up Town queen, Taylar Akin, said her time as queen “was a re­warding experience.” She said that with­out the Houghton Lake community, she would not be who she is today. She pre­sented Houghton Lake Lions Club Presi­dent Jim Mueller with $2,881 which she collected for her jump in the 2017 Polar Bear Dip.

Chris DeBaeke of Triple D Ranch, Markey Township, surprised the crowd by bringing in his Brahman steer “Boomer.” DeBaeke let folks have their picture taken with Boomer, who later left a cowpie on the floor for the crowd – and that’s no bull!


THANK YOU Jim Mueller, president of the Houghton Lake Lions Club, accepts a check for $2,881 from 2017 Tip-up Town Queen Taylar Akin. Akin had raised money for her jump in last year’s Polar Bear Dip. “Because of Taylar’s efforts, every penny will go back into the community,” he said, in his thank you to her. THANK YOU Jim Mueller, president of the Houghton Lake Lions Club, accepts a check for $2,881 from 2017 Tip-up Town Queen Taylar Akin. Akin had raised money for her jump in last year’s Polar Bear Dip. “Because of Taylar’s efforts, every penny will go back into the community,” he said, in his thank you to her. Running for Tip-up Town mayor and marshal as Gold Fish Party candi­dates were “Mountain Climber” Marc Milburn and “Buffalo Hunter” Bruce “Buck” Olson, accompanied by Mil­burn’s son, Warren.

Both Milburn and Olson are Free Ma­sons and attend Houghton Lake United Methodist Church. They both serve their communities, Milburn as a Roscommon County commissioner, and Olson as the Lake Township land use officer.

Between the two of them, they have 45 years of military service, Milburn in the Marines and Ol­son in the Navy. The two saluted Nielsen, who returned the salute.

The candidates took turns reading a poem Milburn had written for the occa­sion.

It read, in part, “Tip-up Town, U.S.A., in Houghton Lake, Michigan, it has it all! Especially the ice fishing con­test which all say’s a ball. Polar bear dip­ping, the water, yes it’s cold, but never hesitate, really, you’re just not too old… The fireworks show, they light up the sky. You’ll be amazed with your family and the sighs of “oh my.”

Next up was Dennis LaPaugh (as Matt Dillon), Samantha Miller (as Kit­ty), Gary Richards (as Festus) and Ed Zielinski (as the bartender) performing a skit depicting what the final episode of Gunsmoke may have looked like. Kitty proclaimed she was pregnant with Dil­lon’s baby and that she knew it was a boy!

After the cast exited the stage, Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, otherwise known as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” and “Bobcat” Chris Sura then appeared to announce their candidacy for marshal and mayor of Tip-up Town, running as members of the People Having Fun Party.

Turns out, LaPaugh had been writing to the Houghton Lake Chamber of Com­merce as “Matt Dillon Jr.,” in anticipa­tion of the Kick-off. Sura and LaPaugh garnered the most votes among members of the audience and were sworn in as 2018 mayor and marshal, respectively.

While the results of the mayor and marshal race were announced, the name of the 2018 Tip-up Town queen will not be announced until Jan. 20 at Tip-up Town’s Outdoor Games Stage, follow­ing the Grand Parade.

Queen candidates, Stephanie Eck­storm, Keeley Woods and Kat Haser, were asked questions on stage by Sura.

Kat Haser

When asked where she would like to be in five years, Haser said she would like to be a college graduate, perhaps majoring in music education (choir) or perhaps opening a theater and helping out the Houghton Lake High School drama program.

She said people visiting Houghton Lake should see the Pines Theater be­cause it is a “wonderful monument” of Houghton Lake and the lake itself be­cause “it’s our namesake.”

Keeley Woods

Woods said the person who has in­fluenced her the most at Houghton Lake, other than a teacher, is “my mom,” be­cause she offers her “really good” infor­mation for her now and for the future.

When asked what kind of business she would like to see open at Houghton Lake, she said a recreation center for young people.

Stephanie Eckstorm

Eckstorm said she will miss the peo­ple of Houghton Lake the most when she leaves for college. She said a “sense of community” has prepared her for leaving for school.

Hoping to become a teacher, she said she has met different types of people, which she said would be a benefit “be­cause everybody’s different.”

The young ladies were given sashes to wear, as well as snowmobile jackets, courtesy of Spicer’s Boat City.

The Kick-off, which was followed by a pig roast provided by Greg Rob­inson of Great Lakes Painting, featured other events, as well.

The top 10 Tip-up Town badges, col­lectible lures and places in line for the Polar Bear Dip were auctioned off, led by auctioneer Gary “Punk” Kochenspar­ger. (See “Tip-up Town badges among auctioned items.”)

Dancers from Alyson’s Random Acts Studio, ages five to 16, performed a jazz version of “Cotton-eyed Joe.”

The winner (randomly drawn on stage) of a 1988 Bayliner boat and trailer package, donated by Willis John Cash­man of Houghton Lake, was Ethan Akin.

Winning the evening’s 50/50 drawing was Craig Farr of Houghton Lake.

The 68th installment of Tip-up Town, U.S.A., takes place Jan. 19-21 and 26- 28.

See ya there, pardner!

Auction Items

Auctioneer Gary “Punk” Ko­chensparger led the auctioning of the first 10 Tip-up Town badges, collectible lures and the first 10 places in line for the Polar Bear Dip.

TUT Badges

No. 10, Eric Hamp, $65; No. 9, Jus­tin Akin, $75; No. 8, Amy Langlois, $125; No. 7, Steve Nielsen, $100; No. 6, Parker Seiler, $70; No. 5, Amy Lan­glois, $100; No. 4, Darrell “Double D” LaPaugh, $300; No. 3, Larry Richards, $100; No. 2, Double D, $500; No. 1, Al Cambridge, $250.

TUT Lures

No. 10, Amy Langlois, $75; No. 9, Al Cambridge, $75; No. 8, Steve Nielsen, $115; No. 7, Anne Breyer, $65; No. 6, Eric Hamp, $85; No. 5, Marc Milburn, $50; No. 4, Amy Langlois, $45; No. 3, Jamie Houserman, $45; No. 2, De­nise

Stefanko, $95; No. 1, Cynde Ko­chensparger, $525.

Polar Bear Dip

No. 10, Al Cambridge, $25; No. 9, Al Cambridge, $25; No. 8, Al Cambridge, $25; No. 7, Nichole Towne of WUPS, $35; No. 6, Steve Nielsen, $25; No. 5, Steven Nielsen, $25; No. 4, Kevin Pease, $25; No. 3, Nichole Towne of WUPS, $45; No. 2, Kent Straub, $150; No. 1, Nichole Towne of WUPS, $475.

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