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87-year-old Kathleen Guck enjoying Jammin Country Fest

Kathleen Guck

To Kathleen Guck of Perham, her 87 years is no bar to living life to its fullest.

That's why, when her good friend Dott Wacker asked if she would like to accompany her and her daughter to camp out at a three-day country music festival, she had no trouble making the decision to go along.

Easily the oldest camper at Moondance Jammin Country Fest, Guck said she has accompanied Wacker on numerous trips representing American Legion and Korean War Veterans organizations, but her idea of camping had been the Best Western; not a recreational vehicle in a field of 10,000 country music fans.

"I don't think I've been camping since I was a camp counselor many years ago," she said.

Guck was born near Wadena and was married to a farmer who died 25 years ago.

"My husband was a farmer but I didn't know anything about it," she said. "I barely knew where the barn was, and that's the way I liked it."

She was a high school teacher at Morton, MN until her retirement. But retirement doesn't mean sitting around, she said. She is currently employed at Ma's Little Red Barn, in Perham, and volunteers for the Otter Tail County "In Their Own Words" project and at the county historical museum.

Despite some poor weather, Guck said she has enjoyed being in the company of Dott and two Jammin Country Fest regulars, Luann Peterson and Cindy Hemmelgarn. Their 30-foot camper is by no means large but is comfortable, she said. She just needs a personal three-wheeler to get around.

It may have been a blessing in disguise, she laughed. Had she not come to Jammin Country Fest, she planned to attend a high school reunion in Wadena, where tornados ravaged the community Thursday night.

"We were safer here, camping out," she said.

Although she said she enjoys country music, she said she is really not up on the major country stars of today. She was looking forward to hearing Sammy Kershaw Saturday night and planned to stay up late enough to see headliner Zac Brown Band. And she enjoyed hearing the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Friday, but for the first two nights, she didn't stay up late enough to see the 11 p.m. shows.

For the most part, Guck said she has enjoyed meeting the people, trying new foods offered in the concert area like deep fried Coke and chocolate covered bacon, the music and relaxing with good friends.

"You get older and things get just can't do as much," she said. "But that doesn't mean you give up."

Jammin Country Fest concluded Saturday night with cool but clear skies. Despite heavy rains and strong winds Thursday and Friday, the music went on, said owner and promoter Bill Bieloh, with record crowds.

The older cousin of the Walker country festival, the classic rock Moondance Jam, is set for July 15-17, with REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Sammy Hagar among the major acts.