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DADS CELEBRATE SPECIAL DAY

DADS CELEBRATE SPECIAL DAY

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Monday, June 20, 2005
Author/Byline: John C. Ensslin And Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 6A
Matt Condon was the last dad standing Sunday – make that sitting, actually – after 50 fathers took part in a Father’s Day game of musical chairs at Six Flags Elitch Gardens.

Condon, 46, wore a “World’s Greatest Dad” T-shirt and a big grin as he won about $1,000 worth of prizes, including a round of golf, a dinner for eight, two season passes to the amusement park, a personal data assistant and a digital camera.

The win capped the Father’s Day weekend for Condon, who spent Saturday floating along the Platte River near Fort Lupton with his family.

The runner-up dad in the competition seemed just as happy as Condon to get as far as he did.

“You got the gold, and I got what I wanted,” Will Manzanares told Condon as the two men congratulated one another. For finishing second, Manzanares won a digital camera, a PDA and four one-day tickets to the park.

“This is the best Father’s Day I’ve had in 41 years,” said the 41-year- old father of four.

The contest, sponsored by KOSI- FM, began with 50 dads slowly circling the chairs waiting for the music to stop.

“C’mon, you guys are shuffling like old men,” joked KOSI’s Murphy Huston, who served as master of ceremonies for the event. The station has sponsored the event for eight years.

Huston recalled the first year, when they made the mistake of using folding chairs.

“There were pinched butts everywhere,” he said.

The music – the Six Flags theme song – features a lot of false stops, which led some dads to grab chairs too early.

A referee stood by to decide which dad had to go in case two ended up on the same chair.

Jesse Milnes, of Northglenn, looked up at the referee as he and another dad shared a chair.

“We’re Siamese twins,” he joked before leaving the game.

Meanwhile at the Juneteenth celebration Sunday in Five Points, Rain Mudadi said he sees Father’s Day as a reminder of his responsibility to his children, a value that’s stressed in the culture of his native Zimbabwe.

“I look at it as a reminder from God that you have a responsibility for raising these children,” said the 32-year-old father of two who was manning a tent for the Afrikan Resource Center at the celebration.

Mudadi, a structural engineer who lives in Aurora, said that his children – a 9-month-old girl, Vongai, and a 7-year-old boy, Ryen – give him purpose and remind him why he gets up to go to work.

“They bring more positive out of the day for me,” he said. “It just gives you more energy and more to live for.”

The moments that stick out most in Mudadi’s mind are of his children’s births, he said, although he remembers more of Vongai’s birth.

“With the first, I was more in shock and disbelief, and I missed things,” he said.

Mudadi came to the United States in 1992 to study at the University of Colorado.

He said he has noticed that although both the American and Zimbabwean cultures believe the father is the rock of the family, it’s not enforced here as it is back home.

Mudadi’s wife of two years, Colleen, said she knew Mudadi would be a good father because she had observed him with Ryen and serving as a father figure for his 13-year-old sister, Caroline, since their mother died about 10 years ago.

He also coaches Ryen’s soccer team.

Colleen said, “He’s very good with the kids – even better than I am.”

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