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Light-hearted affair for Women’s Ag Night

By Staff | Nov 16, 2018

and even a few men gathered last Friday night at the Rugby Eagles Club for Pierce County Soil Conservation District’s 15th annual Women’s Ag Night.

After the guests finished a supper of chicken and all the trimmings, Diane Eslinger, otherwise known as “The Idiot on the Prairie” took a mic and kept the room laughing with stories from her life as a city nurse who had married into farming.

Eslinger, like most farm wives, wore many hats during her show to illustrate the many roles women fill in agriculture with a comic twist.

She described her surprise at the simple attitude her husband had about fashion in one story:

“He was so shocked that I wanted to get a winter coat,” she related. “‘You have a coat,'” he said. Arms on her hips, she scrunched her face in annoyance as she added, “This is a fall jacket, buster. I can’t wear fall coats in the winter!”

The crowd roared with laughter as she continued, “And you know how it is, gals, you need a spring coat in the spring. It has to be pastels. I can’t wear a fall coat in the spring; everyone will notice!”

Eslinger brought out a red paddle to describe close encounters of the bovine kind as she sorted cattle with her family on the farm near Coleharbor. She put on her “fancy” satin hat she wore to get fuel for the farm’s semi, and told of mishaps with augers and grain bins.

The soil conservation district’s Crystal Martodam said the evening is set aside every year “to honor the women in agriculture.”

“And when you think of areas like Rugby, everybody has a part in agriculture, whether you think you do or not,” Martodam added. “It’s the elevator employee’s wife. It’s the gas station owner’s wife who maybe has to make that fuel delivery a little bit later in the busy season. The grocery stores that get mud tracked through them. Everybody has a part, whether they realize they do or not.”

Martodam estimated more than $1,000 was raised from dinner ticket sales, while a silent auction brought in $1,355.

“That was to help pay for entertainment and food. We usually end up spending money on this. We don’t quite recoup our costs,” she noted.

The night also featured a raffle of a gift bag and art to raise money for Callen Dockter and for cancer patient Haylee Jo Jundt.

Although Eslinger kept the mood light, she included stories of her own cancer battle as she talked to the crowd, and highlighted the importance of mammograms and early cancer detection.

Martodam said plans are underway for a 16th annual Women’s Ag Night, and this year’s “Idiot on the Prairie” show will be “a hard one to follow up.”

“(The women) like to come and laugh and just forget about things for a night, so we’re going to stay along the same lines, anyway,” Martodam added.

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