Kitchen named Ox Roast parade grand marshal

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Jeff Pfeil (left), president of the West Jefferson Community Association, congratulates Pete Kitchen on being named grand marshal of the 2007 Ox Roast parade.

As a former grocery store owner and supporter of local service projects, Pete Kitchen has been a household name in West Jefferson for decades.

On Labor Day weekend, the community will honor Kitchen for his 32 years of service as he rides in the Ox Roast parade as grand marshal.

Jeff Pfeil, president of the West Jefferson Community Association, announced Kitchen’s selection as grand marshal on Aug. 9 during the organization’s annual steak fry.  

"Over the years, Pete has supported West Jefferson in many ways-from allowing groups to have hotdog sales, pork sandwich sales, Boy and Girls Scout sales, school groups and on and on,” Pfeil said.

"Even after closing (Kitchen’s Cardinal grocery store), he continued his support with donations of $1,700 in frozen food and $4,600 in dry goods to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry and $1,520 in videos to the Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library."

The grand marshal designation came as a surprise to Kitchen, who enjoys congratulating others on their accomplishments but accepts his own laurels with a quiet voice.

Kitchen and his wife, Sue, both grew up in the Mount Sterling area and were raised by mothers who were teachers. Kitchen played football and basketball while in high school in South Charleston.

Upon graduation, Kitchen faced a military draft notice. He chose to take a military deferment in order to attend college at Bowling Green State University for four years before entering the service.

"There were 25 kids in our high school class. Eight of them were boys and six of us ended up in service," he said.

Kitchen entered Naval Officers Candidate School in 1957 and served as a supply officer on the USS Elokomin, a refueling tanker, before his discharge from the Navy in 1960.

"We refueled ships at sea. The ship’s deck was as long as two football fields," Kitchen said.

Following his discharge, Kitchen worked for a large supermarket chain for 10 years before taking a job at a Cardinal Foods warehouse in Columbus for five years. Kitchen said his military training in supply was good experience for his career in the grocery business.

Pete and Sue moved to West Jefferson in 1972 as Pete was finishing his time at the warehouse.

"I found a location for a grocery store here in West Jefferson. The landlord built it and I leased it from him. We opened Kitchen’s Cardinal in 1975," he said. The store closed on April 19, 2007.

Kitchen’s years of support to the West Jefferson athletic boosters and athletes are among his favorite memories of giving to the community. His support of other activities and organizations extended to almost very facet of the community.

Kitchen said he intends to continue his support of local sports and events, as well as pursue his favorite athletic pursuit of the moment-golf. He had a hip replacement operation on May 14 and is finally back on the golf links.

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
The West Jefferson Community Association’s officers, trustees and Ox Roast Commission members include: (front row, from left) Rudy Denes, meat; Tom Omen, bike tour; Joan Denes, meat and tractor pull; Debbie Omen, bike tour; Linda Bockey, entertainment; Donna Warner, queens contest; Jack Pfeil, trustee; Arlene Castor, trustee; (back row) Jeff Pfeil, president; Lisa Dulin, queens contest; Greg Miller, bike tour; Cindy Miller, trustee; Don Gardner, trustee; Joe Fox, trustee; Steve Rohner, trustee; Brad Reardon, trustee; and Cory Coburn, Ox Idol contest.

"I didn’t get to play much last year because my hip was bothering me too much. It’s good to be back playing again,” said the man who has proven to be an active player in every path he has taken in life.

West Jeff Ox Roast contests

Every year, the West Jefferson Ox Roast festival sponsors a variety of contests for youngsters. The following are the entry guidelines and deadlines. This year’s festival runs from Aug. 31 through Sept. 3.

• Baby and Sweetheart Contests. The West Jefferson Ox Roast Baby Contest will be held on the main stage on the festival grounds at 10 a.m. Sept. 3. Dress is casual or formal. The age groups, with boys and girls judged separately, are 0-6 months, 7-12 months, 13-18 months, and 19-24 months.

The Ox Roast Sweetheart Contest will be held at noon Sept. 3 for girls only, ages 5-7.

All participants will receive certificates and goody bags. Winners will receive trophies and other prizes.

The application deadline is Sept. 1. Applications will be available at: Jillian’s, 24 S. Main St., London; Flyer’s Pizza, 121 W. Main St., West Jefferson; via download at; or by calling Lisa Dulin at 740-852-9384.

• Oxy Tot Contest. Girls ages 25 months to 4 years old are eligible to participate in the Oxy Tot contest. The contestant who receives the most points will be the winner. Points cost 10 cents each.

Each entrant is required to decorate a money collection can and place it in an establishment of her choice. The can should be labeled with the entrant’s name, parents’ names, address and phone number. Parents will be responsible for maintaining the collection cans.

The contest runs through Sept. 1. Parents must bring their child’s can to the festival grounds by 6 p.m. Sept. 1. A festival representative will count the number of points for each contestant.

Each participant will receive a certificate and goody bag. The winner will receive a crown, trophy, flowers and sash. The winner will be announced at 11 a.m., after the baby contest, on Sept. 3. For details, call Lisa Dulin at 740-852-9384 or Donna Warner at 852-9499.

• Queen Contest. The West Jefferson Ox Roast Queen Contest is set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and will be preceded by the Little Miss contest at 5 p.m. and Junior Miss contest at 5:45.

Queen contestants must be entering grades 9-12, live in Madison County, wear a formal gown, and be available to participate in upcoming parades, luncheons and events as needed. She also would be required to represent the West Jefferson Ox Roast around Ohio.

Junior Miss contestants must be entering grades 6-8, live in Madison County, and wear a dressy dress. No formals.

Little Miss contestants must be entering grades 3-5, live in Madison County, and wear a dressy dress.

All participants will receive certificates. The winners will receive a crown, trophy, flowers and sash.

All contestants will be judged on poise, personality and appearance. Any girl who already represents a festival or event is ineligible to enter the queens contests.

Bicycle tour

The West Jefferson Community Association, in conjunction with the 57th Annual Ox Roast, is hosting the 18th annual Ox Roast Bike Tour on Sept. 2.

Riders depart between 7:30 and 9 a.m. from West Jefferson High School and have their pick of a 25-mile, 62-mile or 100-mile route. All end back at the high school.

The routes will be similar to the ones used last year. Anyone who lives along the routes is asked to restrain their pets on bike tour day.

The 25-mile route includes one food stop; the other two routes include three food stops.

Tim Horton’s will provide dougnuts and bagels, plus there will be granola bars, candy bars, apples, bananas, grapes, trail mix and chips.

The Community Association is sponsoring the middle food stop at Madison Lake State Park. Lunch there will include build-your-own sub sandwiches wtih fresh garden vegetables or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, water and energy drinks.

The bike tour is fully supported by the Madison County Amateur Radio Club which provides emergency communications. If any riders experience mechanical breakdowns,  the  Bike Source will be on hand to help. Riders should be equipped to handle minor problems. such as flat tires, on their own.

The registration fee is $16.75 and includes snacks, lunch, drinks, sag service, map, marked route and an identification number.

The first Ox Roast Bicycle Tour was held on Sept. 2, 1990, and drew 144 entrants from central Ohio. Entries have grown to over 400 and have come from all parts of Ohio, as well as Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, New York, Wyoming, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Ontario, Canada. Participants range in age from 5 to 82.

To obtain more information and download a registration form, go to the Web at, or contact tour organizers at 614-870-1012 or Then, on Sept. 2, join over 400 other bicyclists for a ride in the country.

The tour will take place rain or shine. Embroidered patches will go to the first 300 registrants.

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