Jerry and Karen Holt of Sidney, are the grand marshals for the 97th Sidney Iowa Championship Rodeo.
Jerry enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 during the Vietnam War. He reported to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and, when it was later discovered that his back would not withstand the requirements of duty, he was medically discharged.
He joined the Sidney American Legion Williams-Jobe-Gibson Post 128 and has been a member for almost 55 years. Jerry’s wife, Karen, is a member of the Sidney Legion Auxiliary and in the past has assisted with the accounting for the rodeo. Karen was instrumental in converting the rodeo books over to the computer from the hand-written ledger.
Jerry was born in Maryville, Missouri, and moved to Sidney in 1960 with his family. He ran a full-service station on the east side of the square. He joined Holt Gas in 1981 with his mother, Nina, and brother, Greg, following the death of his father, Horace Holt. Jerry is now co-owner with his brother, Greg, and he also farms.
Karen was raised in Maryville, Missouri, and moved to Sidney in 1975 to teach high school business classes and in 1990 went to work for Holt Gas Co. Jerry and Karen were married in 1980 and reside in Sidney.
For 25 years, Jerry was in charge of the rodeo beer stands along with the aid of his right-hand man, Duane Ridnour. He has also helped with the food stands when the Sidney Auxiliary was in charge of them. His mother, Nina Holt McClure, was one of the ladies in charge of the stands. Jerry always tried to help where help was needed on the rodeo grounds. He even had a clean-up crew for the grandstands for two years.
Jerry always said that the success of the rodeo was due to the countless volunteers from Sidney and the neighboring communities. As he says “our volunteers make the rodeo happen.” One of the rodeo sponsors, Southwest Distributing, from Creston, has been a huge help to Jerry and his crew over the years. The Sharp Family, who owns the distributorship, along with their salesman, J.R. Lett, has been wonderful to work with and they have gone out of their way to help the beverage stand run smoothly.
The Holt family enjoys the rodeo as well. Son, Larry, is a former steer wrestler and his two children, Kelly and Ryan, have been active at the rodeo. Both Kelly and Ryan participated in the Iowa Jr. High Rodeo and Kelly is part of the Iowa High School Rodeo. Daughter, Renee, works for Holt Gas and she and her husband, Jeremy, help on the family farm along with their children, Charli and Tucker. You will normally see Renee and Jeremy in the rodeo ticket office.
Jerry and Karen thank the Rodeo Board for this recognition and would like to include all of the volunteers over the years that have helped them along the way. You will now see Jerry and Karen in the stands watching the rodeo and enjoying the show. They hope that all of you will enjoy it, too, and come back next year.