history of dobytown Kiwanis

In photo (from left) are Rex Cross, Lt. Governor from North Platte (1978-79); Fred Kempf, Dobytown Kiwanis President; Larry Vaughan, Kiwanis Governor of the NE-IA District; and Dr. Charles Pickens Lt. Governor (1977-78). Photo from The Kearney Hub.

The following historical account of the beginnings of Dobytown-Kearney is taken from

Kiwanis Footprints" by Aneeta Brown.

With Kearney’s population surpassing 20,000 in 1978, Lt. Governor Dr. Charlie Pickens was confidant that two good things could happen: Kearney could surely support a second Kiwanis club; and The Noon club was well equipped to officially sponsor that new club. With momentum and enthusiasm, a group of interested men had their first organizational meeting at 7:30a.m. on September 26th 1978, at the Chef’s Oven Restaurant on Second Ave. Under the guidance of R. Wayne Toonan from Kiwanis International, and several Noon Club members, the new group adopted bylaws, elected officers, and selected a date for Charter Night.  For the next seven consecutive weeks, the organizing group received a “crash course” in how to become a bona fide Kiwanis club. Kearney’s Noon Club worked with committee chairs, provided programs, instructed the group how to conduct proper meetings, and verified that dues were paid and the club was financially sound.

Dobytown the Name

Eventually the subject of naming was raised. What should the new club be called? Bert O’Connor suggested “Dobytown” for its historical significance to the area, and the motion passed unanimously. The name was a guaranteed conversation icebreaker. Even some Kearney residents who had never lived anywhere else were puzzled. “Where did you get that name? What does Dobytown mean?” they asked. Dobytown Kiwanians patiently explained, and some even suggested that the inquisitive person drive a few miles south of town, turn east, and stop to read the large steel sign beside the cornfield.

Charter Night November 17, 1978

The Charter presentation Banquet was Friday, November 17th 1978 at the Kearney Ramada Inn. Musical entertainment was provided by the Kearney Junior High School Swing Choir, and Mayor Francis ("Doc") Richards greeted the guests. In the printed program, the new Dobytown Club thanked the Kiwanis Club of Kearney for their guidance, and the Circle K Club for the centerpieces and corsages. In tiny print was this note: "We're not a large club yet---we can't afford flowers. Please accept the seed of your corsage as a symbol of our future. Watch us grow!"

Rex Cross, Fred and Charlie take a quick break for the camera at the Annual Kearney Kiwanis Pancake Feed 14 February 2009.

First Officers

President: Fred Kempf (Current Member) 1st Vice-President: Ronald Rucker 2nd Vice-President: Gerald Menke (Current Member) Secretary-Treasurer: Myron Haines

Charter Members

Don Atchison, Tom Austin, Mitchel Bean, Larry Butler, Walter Carpenter, Stan Dart, Lyle Garrelts, Myron Haines, Kent Holsten, George Janning, Fred Kempf*, Dennis Long, Nick Longly, Maurice May, Dee Lofgreen, Gerald Menke*, Gordon Morrow, Ken Mumm, Dan Naumann, Bert O'Connor, Ronald Rucker, Don Sangler, Tom Tye, Rod Uhlman