By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
You might not be able to find a couple more committed to 4-H and the Chase County Fair.
Frank Clements, as a 14-year old, was not only exhibiting as a 4-Her, but was also assisting the Extension Agent with registering the dairy and beef entries at the fair.
Alice Clements is remembered by many in the community as being a 4-H counselor in 1949, making bread, narrating the 4-H style show for 10 years and helping at entry day.
The couple has been chosen as the Fair Grand Marshals for 2010.
“It seemed too good to be true,” Alice cried.
Frank agreed. “This county has treated Alice and me real good. We think a lot of this town. It’s a real honor.”
Alice had listed the many achievements the couple has made in their 61 years of married life. It fills two notebook pages.
They met on a blind date on the Fourth of July during high school. Frank lived on the family farm south of Imperial, while Alice lived with Gladys and Les Smith, as her mother had died at age 33.
Frank’s fraternal grandfather, Frank Clements and wife Nora, purchased the farm in 1917. He sold it to Frank’s father and mother, Homer and Caroline, and Frank was born at home.
Frank’s other grandfather, George Watts, bought the Domino Roberts ranch near Champion. Frank began riding when he was four years old.
Alice (Cummins) and Frank kept trying to get married, but every time they set a date something happened. First, his grandfather died. Then, a house they were moving onto the family place to live in, wasn’t done.
Next a blizzard hit.
Finally, they married on Nov. 23, 1948. Headed to Cheyenne, Wyo. for a honeymoon, they became stuck in Ogallala due to another blizzard. They stayed there for the remainder of the honeymoon.
Frank farmed corn and rye, ran cattle, raised horses and shod horses “on the side for 50 some years in a 100-mile direction.”
Alice taught grades 1-8 in three rural schools for three years before the couple married, then helped on the farm and worked at JC Penney’s.
Frank, 81, was on the fair board, has a 50-year Masonic pin, and has built starting gates and horse walkers.
Alice, 82, has been serving meals at the Imperial Auction Market for 45 years, has waitressed at the Imperial Eagles Club for a number of years and has her 50-year Extension Club pin. She’s currently president of the Family-Community-Education Extension Club.
She took entries to the open division at the fair, because her daughter would say, “What would the fair be liked if nobody brought anything!”
Alice remembers the same daughter, Diane, sitting in a car with a cake to be entered at the fair. A chicken jumped in and ruined the frosting, which Diane fixed with marshmallows. She even won a red ribbon for the cake.
The couple works at the Eagles Club booth at the county fair, and also drives golf carts for the Chase County Stompers during the fair.
They had begun square dancing when first married, and then the club folded. A few years later Alice was helping Frank shuck feed.
“If I can help you shuck feed, you can go square dancing with me,” she told him.
They began square dancing again.
The couple’s children were also heavily involved in 4-H, and the couple enjoyed seeing their accomplishments. All three children rode horses.
“We had good experiences with family rodeo,” Alice said.
“We had Casper, the goat, who jumped into the pickup to go to the petting zoo” at the fair, Alice remembered.
Children are Linda Cummings of Shreveport, La., Diane Cart of Binger, Okla. and Scott Clements in Imperial. The Clements have five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
The Clementses have both survived cancer in the past half year. They are thankful to be alive, thankful to be chosen to represent Chase County, and, as Alice says, glad to be living life one day at a time.