By DOUG GRAVES
WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Many farmers will do most anything to keep the general public off their premises. But earlier this month, Janet Niederman of West Chester didn’t bat an eye when asked to open her 200-acre farm to the first Tina’s Angels Dairy Dash.
Nearly 250 runners of all ages converged on this Butler County farm during a 2K family walk and 5K trail competition. The runners, most of them used to running on asphalt or concrete roadways, had to traverse past silos, through barns, alongside hay bales, past tractors, around a pond and eventually to the finish line near the Niederman’s farm house.
The race was named in honor of Tina Conrad, sister of race founder Troy Kehr. Conrad died in 2010 after a 15-month battle with Stage-IV triple negative breast cancer.
“After Tina passed away, I wanted to do something to remember and honor her while helping others who are fighting this awful disease,” Kehr said.
Niederman’s husband, Bob, died of cancer a year after Tina. Both were in 4-H together for nine years.
“I was amazed at the determination, love for life, strength and faith that Tina put into her fight,” Kehr said. “She fought hard while raising three young boys with her husband and never losing a sense of humor.”
Being good friends of the Niedermans gave them the idea of holding such an event on a farm. “We needed a catchy and fitting name,” Kehr said, “fitting because the Niedermans once ran this as a dairy farm.”
Numerous volunteers assisted in this cause, including the Wayne Township Unlimited 4-H Club. Area vendors participated as well. Refreshments included farm animal cookies, and white and chocolate milk.
Niederman and her family opens the farm for a few other public events as well. Each Christmas season it is host to a million-light display of Biblical scenes, which includes a half-mile nighttime walk around a hayfield. In the summer the farm is open to paintball enthusiasts.
Proceeds from Tina’s Angels Dairy Dash go to families in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas who are battling breast cancer.
“We’re already making plans for the second annual Dairy Dash,” Kehr said. To learn more, call him at 513-779-5887 or write to: P.O. Box 1421, West Chester, OH 45071.