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Neighbors: Remembering 1950s talent contests

Clay County fair in Barnesville Minn. around 1950. Buckskin Harry, his cart and shetland ponies, sponsored by Aamodt’s Clothing, Barnesville. The kids are, left to right, siblings Ronald “Ron” Boone, 4, Leonard “Butch” Boone, 7, and Mary Lou Boone, 6. Special to The Forum

It was an exciting event for the kids in the Barnesville (Minn.) Elementary School that day in 1955. It was the day Buckskin Harry conducted a talent show there.

Harry “Buckskin Harry” Parnell, Moorhead, was a performer who played area towns and on WDAY-TV for many years and who was mentioned in this column recently.

That brought a letter from Mary Lou (Boone) Thompson, Barnesville, because she was in the fifth grade when Buckskin held his talent contest in her school, and she was one of the winners with her acrobatic baton-twirling routine.

Mary Lou says another winner was Jim Furst, who won by playing his guitar and singing “16 Tons” and other popular songs of the day.

“Our award,” she says, “was to join the Buckskin Harry Show and travel with him and other entertainers to different events in North Dakota and Minnesota.”

Mary Lou sends along these pictures of Buckskin and of Mary Lou and others when they were a tad younger.

Fix it or toss it?

Now, here’s a question for you, neighbors: Where do you go these days to have a small appliance repaired?

There used to be many shops where you could bring a radio, a toaster, a CD player, a food mixer to be fixed. But now?

A Forum staffer says we’ve become “a throw-away society.” If it doesn’t work, throw it out.

Do you agree?

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email