140th annual Viola Gopher Count - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

140th annual Viola Gopher Count

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VIOLA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Thursday was the last day of the 140th annual Gopher Count celebration in Viola.

Every year, people head out to Viola on the third Thursday of June to celebrate the event. It originates from a time when local farmers would form teams to see who could collect the most gopher tails. Nowadays, it is really to celebrate community.This year's event was delayed for a couple hours due to weather. But still, the big event offered countless activities. Want a new pig? Guess the weight right and it's yours. Do the kids want to go fast? They have a soap box derby that lets them loose down a ramp and hill.

There's even a little royalty thrown into the mix. This year's king and queen say they've seen mother nature throw worse weather at the event. "40 years ago in 1974 at the 100th Gopher Count, there was some serious flooding," explained King Kevin Hammel as he stood with his wife, Queen Connie Hammel. "We were here! We were a young engaged couple at that time."

The event also has pie eating contests, sawdust digs, a kids parade. The event ended with a street dance under the tent and bingo in town hall.



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