Modern-day Will Rogers really knows the ropes

It all started with a book — “Will Rogers: His Life and Times” — given to him as a travel gift. From there, a trip to a library in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., led John Hock to check out “Roping,” and he’s been spinning one ever since.

“I read about Will Rogers’ roping capabilities, and I wanted to learn how,” Hock said.

Schools may face No Child penalty

Five of Columbia’s 19 elementary schools — Blue Ridge, Derby Ridge, Eugene Field, Parkade and West Boulevard — face sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind Act if new state test scores expected out this week do not show improvement from 2003.

Under the act, any school that does not meet yearly state testing goals for two consecutive years in the same subject must offer parents the option of transferring their children to better-performing schools. This will be the first year that school transfers could be required under the act in Missouri.

Number of pool-goers takes a dip

It was a short day at Pirates’ Landing for the Sillyman family on Monday.

“We’re getting ready to go; the kids were freezing in the water,” Mindy Sillyman said as she and her husband, Bryce, corralled their two kids toward the exit.

Walks of life meet at State Fair

SEDALIA — Bobo doesn’t like you. He thinks you have big ears, bad hair and a bubble butt. Even worse, he’ll tell you right to your face.

Name-calling is all part of a day’s work for Bobo the Insult Clown, whose dunk tank is one of the dozens of Midway attractions at the Missouri State Fair.

Band carries on a bluegrass tradition

SEDALIA — In the Women’s Building at the Missouri State Fair, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources displays maps and models that show the location of state parks and reflect the quality of the state’s air and water. Outside, on the front porch, five musicians demonstrate another Missouri natural resource: bluegrass music.

Under a small tent, listeners sit on benches facing a wide porch and tall white columns. The band, in dark pants and light-blue shirts, plays traditional bluegrass and takes requests from the audience while fairgoers peruse attractions in the building.

Power lifting not for the weak of arm

SEDALIA — Demetrius Davis positions his back on the bench and closes his hands around the bar. His spotter lifts the weight from the rack and centers it over Davis’ shoulders. The crowd gasps as he goes through the motions of bench-pressing 450 pounds: lower, press, pause, rack.

Davis, 27, was one of nearly 35 bench-press competitors at the Missouri State Fair on Sunday. He began weightlifting in high school in Huntsville. Now a resident of Columbia, Davis has been competing in power-lifting events for three years.

Columbia College reveals new commons

With its tall glass windows and metal accents, the Atkins-Holman Student Commons at Columbia College looks more like a trendy shopping center than an academic building. But the new structure is about more than form. It brings together several offices that had previously been scattered across the college.

“It’s a lot easier than having to walk all the way to the other end of campus,” sophomore Rachell Ramirez said while shopping for textbooks.

City CVB requests $248,323

The City Council kicked off its annual budget review with the first of three public hearings Monday night.

Recommendations were heard regarding community services, public support for the arts and federal grant money earmarked for community improvement projects.

TE Rucker receptive to motivation

Whenever Martin Rucker needs motivation for his dream to make the National Football League, he knows whom to call.

Rucker, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound redshirt freshman tight end at Missouri, is the brother of Mike Rucker, a star defensive end for the Carolina Panthers. Rucker said his older brother’s success benefits his work ethic and pursuit of the same goal.

Edwards making move to fast lane

For someone used to traveling at speeds about 160 mph, Carl Edwards never thought he would get so far so fast.

Edwards, a Columbia native, will make his Nextel Cup debut in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Sunday.

Tiger seniors eager to set tempo

The seniors on the Missouri football team aren’t fooling around this preseason.

After Sunday’s practice, the seniors weren’t satisfied with the team’s effort. They met and decided it was up to them to create a better practice environment.

Flipping over silver

ATHENS, Greece — Blaine Wilson paced like an expectant father. Teammate Guard Young sat calmly, scribbling numbers on a piece of paper. Morgan Hamm bounced like a boxer during warm-ups.

Nervous? Naturally. After two decades and too many disappointments to count, the Americans were down to one routine on the high bar Monday to determine whether they would be in the medals ceremony . . . or watch it again.