Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Celebrating 103 years of booyah

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 7/19/17

The Old Settlers couldn’t have asked for better weather at their annual picnic this past Saturday. As always, a large crowd filled the picnic area at McKinley Park. Jim Charles, 94 years, was the …

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Celebrating 103 years of booyah

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The Old Settlers couldn’t have asked for better weather at their annual picnic this past Saturday. As always, a large crowd filled the picnic area at McKinley Park. Jim Charles, 94 years, was the oldest Settler and Odin Picard, son of Ari and Jason Picard, 15 days old, was the youngest Settler.

Old Settlers began as an Oliver Mining Company summer event boasting up to 1,000 attendees, but is now a membership-based group open to all those who were born or are now living on the Vermilion Iron Range. The group now has between 200-300 members/guests each year.

Guests bring their own bowls and silverware and side dishes if desired. They then line up, pot in hand, to get ladle after ladle of the tasty meat and vegetable stew.

Membership and meal costs $6 if you pre-register and $8 if you pay at the event. The funds go to pay for next year’s batch of booyah. Old Settlers is an all-volunteer community organization.

This year’s officers are Lee Branwall, president; Tom Trucano, first vice-president; Jodi Summit, second vice-president; and Kathy Hoppa, secretary/treasurer. Directors are Jennifer Fredrickson, Muriel Scott, Stephen Tekautz, Pauline Housenga, Matt Tuchel, Mike Korpi, Eric Norberg, and Ari Picard.

Cooks included Chef Nicky Tekautz, Ed Tekautz, Joe Yapel, Conrad Rones, Jerry Chiabotti, and Stephen Tekautz. The chefs were up and at ‘em at 6 a.m. stirring the five giant cast iron kettles filled with delicious booyah. The process starts the night before with a vegetable-cutting party at Nick Tekautz’s home, he has been head chef for over thirty years, preparing the 200 gallons of booyah each year.

Next year’s picnic will be held July 21, the third Saturday in July. Cost will be the same. Lee Branwall, president, during his welcome speech asked the Settlers to bring along their children and grandchildren next year as the group is aging and needs more younger faces in the crowd.

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