Hometown: Mitchell

What keeps you in Mitchell? What keeps me in Mitchell is my family and the best job you could ask for.

Who was your Shrine sponsor, when did you join, and why did you become a Shriner? My Shrine sponsor was Denny Robinson, I joined in 1998. I became a Shriner to help give back to my community and most especially to help kids.

What is your favorite part of being a Masonic Shriner? My favorite part of being a Masonic Shriner is the lifelong friends that I’ve had the opportunity to make and the fun I’ve had.

As a famous Mitchell clown, tell us the inspiration for your name “PoPcOrN” and when/why you decided to be a clown? Why would I pick the clown name of PoPcOrN? I’ve worked for the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce in the Tourism and Enterprise division for the last 37 years and for over 20 of those I also ran the concession/food stands. For seven years, before I joined, I also popped all of the popcorn for the circus every year. So popcorn has always been a part of my professional life. 

Decided to become an El Riad Shrine Clown for several reasons…

A. Just being around them during ceremonials I saw how much fun they had and how close they were.

B. After driving a group of them to the hospitals to visit sick kids I saw how they were the “face” of the Shrine.

C. I was challenged by Dick “Buttons” Schlechter when he told me that I would make a good clown.

With the world famous Mitchell Corn Palace dedicating their 2022 maize designs to El Riad and our circuses, what does it mean to you that they chose that theme and that you also personally are represented in one of the designs? Over the years of working at the Corn Palace and having quite a few favorite themes the fact that they chose “Under the Big Top” for 2022 is a-maize-ing (forgive me). Having my picture on the building is almost surreal as over the years there have been many famous people featured in murals. To be in the company of these people (Lawrence Welk, Andy Williams, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bob Hope and Willie Nelson) is pretty cool, but to be one of only two people who grew up in Mitchell and graduated from Mitchell High School and Dakota Wesleyan University to grace the building (George McGovern…whose picture mine just replaced) tends to be a little overwhelming.

What other units and clubs have you been and/or currently are a member? I’ve been a member of the Corn Palace Hillbillies since their inception.

What committees and roles have you been a part of over the years? And what was your favorite memory? Over the years I’ve been active in Resurgam Lodge as a Past Master, the Corn Palace Shrine Club as a two term President, Hospital Representative for 14 years, District Master for the Grand Lodge, Grand Marshall (1 year) and last year as Grand Standard Bearer, and President of the Mitchell Masonic Building Association for the last six years (and apparently for life!!).

What has been your involvement with the shrine and its units/committees meant to you? I have many favorite memories but I would have to say the first time I saw a child that needed our help and was able to tell the parents (a very young couple with not much to their name) that we would cover the transportation and cleft lip surgery expenses and see the relief on their faces. Pretty hard to top that!!! My involvement in the Shrine and the committees I’ve learned how to be a better man and leader.

How does your Lady feel about your Shrine involvement? I’ve been happily single my whole life…apparently I’m high maintenance!!!

Describe El Riad Shrine in five words: El Riad in five words….Brotherhood, Fun, Fellowship, Philanthropy and Love

What would you tell shriners and their families about joining our family, fraternity and philanthropy? It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

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