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Commentary: A few of my favorite things


This month marks one of my favorite editions of Rural Missouri. Every year our members decide what is the best of the best in the Show-Me State. So, I thought I would give you my list of top things in the state as well. 

Favorite Fishin' Hole: Bennett Spring State Park. My friends David Kelly at Missouri State Parks, Sarah Parker Pauley at the Missouri Department of Conservation and their staffs have partnered to create the best honey hole for fishing ever. My dad, brother and I have hosted an opening day fish camp for almost four decades. 

Favorite Farm Equipment: 1951 Allis-Chalmers CA Tractor. I bet I logged 100 hours sitting alongside my dad as he raked and baled hay. 

Favorite Sports Team: 1997 California Pintos Football Team. A bunch of farm kids from Moniteau County went up to St. Louis and knocked the tar out of some private school to win the 3A Missouri State Championship. Don't worry Coach Drinkwitz — your Mizzou Tigers are a close second!

Favorite Dancer: My daughter, Charleston Jones. I would have laughed if you told me 20 years ago I would be sitting for 2 hours in an auditorium to watch my beautiful 8-year-old dance for 5 minutes. I'm her biggest fan.

Favorite Dog: My border collie, Tuffy. While my kids' dogs, Ben and Gus, are great, nothing beats your first dog. I would put Tuffy up against Jim the Wonder Dog. 

Favorite Swimming Pool: Mamie Vaughn gravel bar on the Moreau Creek. Dale Milligan gave my brother and me permission to swim there in the 1980s, and we treated it like it was our own country club. 

Favorite Barber: Roy Simpson. Roy passed away this year after cutting hair more than 70 years. He always had a penny for the gumball machine and a pocketknife to swap.

Favorite Car: 1964 Pontiac GTO. I burned more tires than I care to count and spent more hours under the hood than actually driving it. It is still sitting in my garage. 

Favorite Shotgun: Ithaca Featherlight 20 gauge. My grandpa Carson Teel gave it to me when I was 12. After a month, there wasn't a squirrel, rabbit or quail near our farm. My son, Max, is going to get it soon (don't tell my wife, Lindsey). 

Favorite Place to Work: Missouri Electric Cooperatives. I am the luckiest guy on the planet to work for an organization that represents the great people who chose to live, work, play and raise their family in rural Missouri — just like me. 

Jones is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in Jefferson City. He is a member of Boone Electric Cooperative.