Friday, October 10, 2008

The Mayor Of The Ice Cream Capital Of The World

It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it!! He is ruff and tuff and has a “cowboy-ness” about him that could charm the socks off you and, at the same time, convince you that you would consider yourself lucky just for the privilege of being able to live in a place where life is sweet!

Meet Mayor Dick Kirchoff. He is the Captain of Cold, the Master of Mmmmm, the Sovereign of Scoopdom, the Dictator of Dips. He makes sure that things run smoothly in the town where I live, Le Mars, Iowa, the Ice Cream Capital of the World®.

Mayor Kirchoff is like John Wayne. It would seem that he could simply sit around on his duff and enjoy the accolades that any Mayor of a place where more ice cream is made than anywhere else on the planet should receive. But he doesn’t.

Several weeks ago, my kids met him (coincidentally, at the Iowa state Fair where he was managing the turkey-leg booth – don’t ask – even the mayor of the Ice Cream Capital of the World needs a little protein every now and then). After our visit, my youngest asked, “Is he really the mayor? I can’t believe I am friends with the mayor!!”

A few weeks ago, Mayor Kirchoff and I enjoyed sundaes at the Blue Bunny® Ice Cream Parlor and we chatted about his mayoral experience so far…..

Our nation was recently informed by a certain Alaskan Governor that the mayor of a small town is “sort of like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities.”

For Dick, this is true. While one of the highlights of his job is that he can help perpetuate so many community projects, his biggest frustration is government (be it City, County, or State) red-tape. He will be the first to tell you that he is no politician. He is a man who can move mountains but “cannot move a pipewrench from the middle of the road without making forty phone calls and filling out a work order”. Dick refers to this as “The Pipewrench Theory” Dick is a do-business-with-a-handshake kind of leader so I can see why this may be a frustrating process for him.

But in a small town in Northwest Iowa where the sweet smells of vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafers will, occasionally, float on the breeze….Dick Kirchoff manages the official responsibilities that come along with being the Mayor of the Ice Cream Capital of the World….and he is doing one heck of a job!

One thing….in case you were wondering, his favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate.

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