Ready to ride

John and Lin Simpson are the 2019 Frontier Days Parade grand marshals

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Lin Simpson, of Fort Dodge, right, tries on her hat at Friendship Haven Wednesday evening. Her husband, John Simpson, also of Fort Dodge, looks on at left. The couple will be the grand marshals of the Frontier Days Parade this year.

When John and Lin Simpson, of Fort Dodge, were presented with their hats to become the grand marshals of the 2019 Frontier Days Parade, John Simpson thought there must be some mistake.

That mistake didn’t have anything to do with the Simpsons being named the grand marshals. Instead it had to do with the size of the hats presented to them.

“John read an article that intelligence was measured in head size,” Lin Simpson said.

“And that’s why Terry gave you the bigger hat,” John Simpson said.

Terry Cook, chairman of the Frontier Days Parade committee, presented the hats to the Simpsons Wednesday evening at Friendship Haven.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Lin Simpson, of Fort Dodge, right, embraces Terry Cook, chairman of the Frontier Days committee, Wednesday evening after she and her husband John Simpson, were announced as the grand marshals for this year’s Frontier Days Parade. John Simpson is shown behind, trying his hat on for size.

They were surprised by a small group of people gathered in the Welcome Center.

“These are beautiful,” Lin Simpson said in reference to the hats.

The Simpsons were selected by the Frontier Days Parade committee to serve as the grand marshals.

They were the lead donors for the nursing facility at Friendship Haven that bears their name — the Simpson Health Center.

John Simpson moved to Fort Dodge in 1955 to work for George A. Hormel and Co. He later opened the Simpson Insurance Agency in 1976.

In 1991, Lin Simpson joined him in the business, which included Kingsgate Health Insurance.

Throughout their time in the community, the couple has become known for their generosity and helping others.

In the 1970s, they began a tradition of “adopting” many Friendship Haven residents.

The Simpsons would often host two to six friends from Friendship Haven for Christmas dinner, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

“Lin and John have given a lot to the Fort Dodge community,” Cook said. “And they have done a lot here at Friendship Haven.”

Lin Simpson just had one question.

“What talent should I do for the talent show?” she asked.

She was referencing the Bill Riley Talent Show, which will be held in Fort Dodge as part of Frontier Days.

The Frontier Days celebration will begin May 31. Acts ranging from Jason Brown, a country music artist, the Avey/Grouws Band, and the Senders, are among the musicians who will perform that weekend.

A chainsaw artist and an artwork raffle will also be included in the fun, according to Cook.

A full schedule of Frontier Days events will be released at a later date.

Cook said the theme for this year’s Frontier Days is “Frontier Days salutes Fort Dodge’s 150th.”

The city of Fort Dodge is celebrating 150 years because the town was officially chartered in 1869.

The Simpsons said they are looking forward to being part of the festivities.

“This was very nice,” John Simpson said. “It was a surprise and we thank you.”