Wayne Bukovinksy shakes the hand of Johnsonville representitive Bob Szumloz while Scott Allard and Ann Woodard look on during Wayne Stock VI on Aug. 3. The Wayne Stock Music Festival won the Johnsonville Best of US Contest grand prize of $10,000 on June 24 for the category of Community Celebrations, dedicated to special events, parades and festivals.
Around 1,100 people attended Wayne Stock VI on Aug. 3, breaking last year’s record. The music festival is a free event held each year at Ski Bowl Park, all the money raised comes from donations, live and silent auctions, a raffle, merchandise, and food.
All profits benefit the North Country Hardship Fund (NCHF) which provides aid to people who have suffered tragic events, such as accidents and serious illnesses, in the form of grants as high as $1,000.
It was after suffering a catastrophic motorcycle accident in 2008 and after being the recipient of the first Wayne Stock benefit, that Wayne Bukovinksy decided along with his wife, and with the encouragement of family and friends, to found the NCHF as a way to both pay back and pay forward the help he received.
At the time of his accident Bukovinksy was not expected to live, then not expected to make a significant recovery.
“When I loaded Wayne into that helicopter I thought that was the last time I would see him alive,” said NCHF board member Scott Allard. “But here is with us today and here we are at Wayne Stock VI.”
The theme of this year’s festival was “Believe.” Wayne explained that he always sets his goals very high and that each year he set a goal for the amount he wanted to raise and that they have always managed to meet and exceed that goal.
“After having met and passed our goals each year, I believe we will again this year,” Bukovinksy said.
According to James Martin, vice president of NCHF, who worked with Wayne for 12 years at Creative Stage Lighting before his accident, the theme of “Believe” is also about the importance of believing in yourself, your family, your friends, your community and your country, especially when tragedy strikes.
“Wayne is a true American inside and out, he was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, served in the Navy. He’s a patriot. Every year we do the Pledge of Allegiance and this year we did the National Anthem as well,” Martin said.
The Wayne Stock Music Festival won the Johnsonville Best of US Contest grand prize of $10,000 on June 24 for the category of Community Celebrations, dedicated to special events, parades and festivals. The Best of US Contest is about celebrating those who help make America great. It was created by Johnsonville, the sausage company from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.
“This year we sold more food than ever before by far,” said NCHF board member Cork Nestle who manned the grill during the event. “I have to give a big thanks to Pete’s Ah, Marcia’s Restaurant, Basil & Wick, Gallup Farms, and Johnsonville Sausage — which donated 1,000 pounds of sausage.”
Representing Johnsonville at the festival was Bob Szumloz, business manager for the New York/New Jersey region. Speaking from the stage, Szumloz said he was happy to be representing Johnsonville at Wayne Stock and that his company was proud to be supporting an event that helps so many people. He was presented with a full complimentary set of Wayne Stock VI merchandise.
The last auction of the evening always features the most valuable items and is called the “Rock Block.” It consists of mostly music related items donated by people who Wayne has worked with in some way. The items sold this year included a football signed by Eli Manning for $750, a reproduction Gibson guitar for $450, a vintage 1960 Accordion for $475, and a Meatloaf Bass Drumhead for $250. The most eagerly anticipated item of the event was a Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster 72 Series that was being raffled. It was won by Andy and Bernadette Winter from Thurman.
Reflecting on Wayne Stock VI, Wayne’s mother, Jan Duell, said, “It just keeps getting bigger every year. We have such a large following now that I can barely fathom it. They just keep on giving and we just keep on helping. I remember going to the hospital the night of Wayne’s accident and the doctors giving me his motorcycle helmet, which was split in two, and saying that they didn’t think he would live through the night. I looked at them and said ‘You don’t know my kid.’”