Admiral Windwagon Smith XLV
Meet Your Admiral
After 29 years in retail and 29 years in public service Tim Norton has embarked on the next phase of his public life as Admiral Windwagon Smith XLV, the official ambassador of Riverfest 2018.
“The River Festival has been part of the Family Norton's life since we landed here in 1980,” said Norton. “Almost instantly we started attending the parade and fireworks, and for several years built floats in our garage for the parade.”
As Target Store manager, Norton took on the Senior Celebration, supplying prizes for bingo and a chicken dinner for seniors, and later sponsored the Arts in the Park event. “But my best memory was years of leading the Target Shopping Cart Brigade in the Sundown parade with my golden plunger. Our employees loved it and the crowd went crazy. I am glad the crowd didn't realize how un-organized the weaves and intricate routines really were!”
Norton served on the festival’s merchandise committee and was instrumental in bringing retail expertise and new marketing ideas to the table when white T-shirts were the only offering. As a Sedgwick County Commissioner, he ensured that the county had a presence in the parade and participated every year greeting parade watchers and handing out his County coins.
Norton's other commitments to the community include years of service to the United Way of the Plains, the Salvation Army, Communities in Schools, Goodwill, Exploration Place, and the Wichita Chamber along with many other non-profit boards. He presently serves as the board chair of the WATC foundation and has recently accepted board positions for the Pando Initiative, the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County, and Grace Med. He has been recognized for his volunteer work and humanitarian work over the years.
“To say I am honored by this selection is an understatement,” Norton said. “I have been extremely blessed with a supportive wife, wonderful kids and their spouses, and eight precious grandkids – not to mention work that I loved, a community that embraced me and now this, the 'cherry on top.' I hope everyone joins me in celebrating what makes our community so special: a sense of place, great people AND a nine-day-long party!!”
Admiral XLV “At a Glance”
* Raised in Northeast Arkansas. Moved to Wichita in 1980 with Target Stores.
* Graduated high school in 1965. Received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Arkansas State University.
* Received a Masters in Adult Education from Newman University in 1996.
* Tim and wife Susan have five adult children (Laura, Tim, Scott, Anne, Sam) and eight grandchildren.
* Store team leader and master trainer for Target Stores for 22 years. He left Target when the 1999 tornado hit Haysville while he was presiding as mayor.
* Served for nine years on the Haysville City Council, four years as Haysville Mayor, and 16 years as District 2 Sedgwick County Commissioner.
* While a County Commissioner he was deeply involved in the completion of the Intrust Bank Arena, the National Center for Aviation Training and
* A Wichita Wagonmaster since 1996.
* Chili Potentate for the Wagonmasters Chili Cook-off in 2010.
Admiral Windwagon Smith XLIV
Meet Your Admiral
Riverfest 2017’s ambassador is a skilled communicator and a passionate advocate for education, the arts, the community and, of course, Riverfest. Wendy Johnson, division director of marketing and communications for the Wichita Public Schools, grew up in Wichita and graduated from Wichita High School East. Her Shocker pride runs deep, having earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Public Administration from Wichita State University.
“When I was a kid rolling down the hillside in A. Price Woodard Park during Riverfest, I never thought I would experience this amazing community event as Admiral Windwagon Smith,” said Johnson. “I am honored to represent more than 7,000 dedicated volunteers, and I hope to help Wichita families build their own life-long memories of Riverfest.”
Johnson received Wichita Festivals’ Galaxy Award in 2013 recognizing more than 20 years of outstanding volunteer service. She served on the WFI Board of Directors for six years and was its chair in 2006. She has been a proud member of the WFI operations committee (the “red shirts”) since 2003, including serving as Riverfest general chair in 2011. Johnson is also an active supporter of WFI’s Autumn and Art at Bradley Fair.
“Riverfest has long been an important part of my life,” said Johnson. “My dad volunteered with the Coleman Company during canoe races. My mom graciously gave up her Mothers’ Day celebrations to watch the East High Band perform in Sunday afternoon concerts, and there was nothing like leading the Blue Aces marching band in the Sundown Parade.”
Johnson’s commitment to the community includes service to organizations such as Tallgrass Film Association, Girls on the Run, Boy Scouts of America Quivira Council and the American Red Cross. She has received numerous honors for her volunteer and professional achievements including the Alumni Award for Outstanding Public Service from the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at WSU, the Distinguished Service Award from the Kansas School Public Relations Association and the Excellence in Public Service Award from the DeVore Foundation.
Admiral XLIV “At a Glance”
* Attended Wichita Public Schools and graduated from Wichita High School East
* Graduated from Wichita State University with bachelor and master degrees.
* Division director of marketing and communications for Wichita Public Schools since 2001.
* Wendy and her husband, Terry Wiggers, have three sons – Tyler Johnson, Thomas Johnson and Brandon Wiggers.
* A die-hard WSU Shocker fan, she has adopted the Kansas State Wildcats during football season thanks to her husband.
* Grew up playing clarinet, and is an advocate for the arts and a lover of all types of music.
* Avid collector of Mickey Mouse memorabilia.
* Completer of four half-marathons, and cheerleader to all those who “don’t consider themselves runners” but have the courage to try.
Admiral Windwagon Smith XLIII
Meet Your Admiral
This year’s admiral is president and a co-owner of Pickrell Drilling Company, Inc., an oil and gas exploration, production, and drilling company where he has worked since 1981. A member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, Admiral XLIII has also served at the appointment of governors and the legislature on energy committees, including the Kansas Energy Council and Kansas Commission on Natural Gas Policy.
Actively involved with Riverfest for 22 years, Steve served on the board of directors and presided as chair of Wichita Festivals in 2004-2005. Dillard joined the Operations Committee in 2006 and has contributed his talents in a number of areas, including button sales, food service, River Run, and in recent years, the Safelite AutoGlass Sundown Parade. A member of the Wichita Wagonmasters since 1994, he has served as Captain, as well as in many other roles for the organization.
A longtime member of the Wichita Petroleum Club, Steve was its president for the 1986-87 fiscal year. He is a 35-year member (and noontime regular) at the Downtown YMCA, where he was a board member for several years. The Admiral is a graduate of the University of Kansas, and an active member of the KU Alumni Association, serving as board chair for the Wichita Chapter.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as this year’s Admiral,” Dillard said. “It’s a tremendous privilege to be chosen. I look forward to the opportunity to represent the festival and our community, and to the challenge of living up to the example set by so many excellent Admirals that have preceded me.”
Admiral XLIII “At a Glance”
* Born July 8, 1952 in Baltimore, Steve moved to Wichita when he was four-years old via Lyons, Kan.
* He attended Wichita public schools and graduated from Wichita West in 1970.
* He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1974.
* Steve and his wife, Gena, have been married for 38 years.
* President and a co-owner of Pickrell Drilling Company, Inc.
* The couple has two children: daughter, Britt, of Wichita, and son, Brad, of Avon, Colo.
* The admiral has been a Wichita Wagonmaster since 1994.
* A die-hard KU sports fan, he is a longtime football and basketball season ticketholder and a perennial tailgate host at KU football games.
* Steve served as the Chili Dipper (aka chair) of the Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff for three years.
OUR ADMIRALS WINDWAGON SMITH
Admiral Windwagon Smith XLI
Admiral Windwagon Smith XLII