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Aug 27

Nearly 200 people voted to help name western play area’s newest resident

Posted on August 27, 2020 at 1:39 PM by Becky Burnside

Thanks to the nearly 200 participants who voted in our name the horse contest and selected a very Kansas-esque moniker for the new 1,500-pound nearly life-sized concrete statue of a horse which was installed at Antioch Park’s Dodge Town earlier this year.

“Astra” was the winning name, which of course is a reference to the Kansas state motto of "Ad Astra per Aspera" or “To the Stars through Difficulties." 

The successful name was submitted separately by two young buckaroos: Liam J., and Alice B., both of Overland Park. The two winners have been contacted and will receive a pizza party for up to 10 children at Dodge Town featuring Johnson County Park Police Officer Seth Salmans, who will portray the marshal of Dodge Town, including deputizing participants, and being available for photos. Salmans previously portrayed the marshal character during the well-received April 2018 rededication of the play area. 

The name “Astra” received 62 of the 197 votes cast online by the Aug. 16 deadline.  Other finalist name suggestions included: “Spirit” with 53 votes, “Buttercup” with 35 votes, “Dodger” with 31 votes, and “KC Champ” with 16 votes.

As part of the two-month process of selecting a name, area residents suggested a total of 68 name ideas in time for a July 26 deadline. JCPRD staff then voted to par those suggestions down to the five finalists listed above.

Kids on horse

With just 44 acres, Antioch Park, which is located at 6501 Antioch, Merriam, opened in 1958 and is JCPRD’s oldest park. The much-loved Dodge Town play area was originally built in 1967, and has been rebuilt three times. Countless children have enjoyed exploring the western town.