Lutheran General Lunch Bunch Hikers assault slopes

The Lutheran General Lunch Bunch Hikers of Chicago, a group of men 55 to 81, will assault the slopes of the Sierra for a week starting Sept. 20.

It's been an annual event for this group of flatlanders ever since one of their members, Don Kengott, along with his wife Shirley, initiated the event in 1993.

The Kengotts, owners of Ken Die Cutting Supplies of Carson City, have lived here on a part-time basis since 1991 to be near their business and their children. Once here, they became so enthusiastic about the Carson City area that they organized this yearly event for friends back East.

Kengott and his comrades belonged to a fitness center in Parkridge, Ill., called the Parkside Fitness Center. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about 30 people, mostly men over 55, would would show up to work out together, and a bond was formed that stretched across the miles once the Kengotts moved to Carson City.

"We really love it here," Shirley Kengott said, noting that they do a lot of entertaining when they're in Carson City because friends from the Midwest like to visit the area. "People love the difference between Chicago and Carson City."

They may be considered members of the senior set, but they are taking moderately respectable jaunts, including the Mount Rose meadow hike to Davis Creek, the waterfall hike at Grover State Park and a short hike near Carson Pass.

"We do a few easy hikes first, just to see who's in shape, Don Kengott said.

Three or four friends came out those first few years but the event has grown, and this year 18 members will hike, go to dinners, shows, and on jeep rides.

The list of events has also expanded to include local haunts like Virginia City, Sharkey's, and the Heavenly Ski Resort tram ride and hike. The week-long event concludes Aug. 27.

The Kengotts, married 50 years, have five children. Sons Brian and D.J. run the company here. Daughter Laura and her husband Al Fernandez own the Carson City Car Wash. Their two other children, Dale Kengott and Cheryl Sasser, live in Chicago.

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