- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

ST. CLAIR, Mich. (AP) - Mike Dowd thinks it’s fun to get up and sing and play his guitar in front of a crowd of his fellow St. Clair residents.

“We like it,” he told the Times Herald of Port Huron ( https://bwne.ws/1yHWeKr ). “It’s a lot of fun, and we like St. Clair.

“We like to do anything that builds up St. Clair. It’s a great place to live.”

Dowd won the songwriting portion of the 2015 St. Clair Poet Laureate and Bootlegger Balladeer contest recently at LaCroix’s Riverside Pub in St. Clair.

His original composition, “The Chase,” chronicled the story of Ebenezer Westbrook and his half-brother, William, from East China Township. The two Westbrook boys pursued a couple of horse thieves to a small southwestern Michigan town Niles where they recovered the horses.

They financed their way back home with Ebenezer preaching by day and William gambling at night.

Dowd said it took him about half an hour to write the original song - and “I tweaked it over a couple of weeks, fooling around with it.”

Bill Bars, another St. Clair resident, won the title of St. Clair Poet Laureate with a poem about the same subject titled “Stolen Stallions.”

“It’s a great evening,” Barz said. “We all sit out here and entertain each other and support each other.

“It’s a lot of fun.”

Dowd and Barz each received $250 from the St. Clair Rotary Club.

Bob Swain with a poem titled “Westbrook Chase,” was second in the poetry contest; Irene Sharrard was third with an untitled poem read by Brian Moss.

The Sutherlands, last year’s Bootlegger Balladeer, were second with a song called “The End of the Line,” and Still Running was third with “Money is a Shelter.”

Prizes were $150 for second and $100 for third in each category.

In past years, the contest was part of the St. Clair Winter White Out, a winter carnival that is on hiatus this year, said Dan Lockwood, chairman of the city’s Downtown Development Authority.

He said a project to renovate the courtyard at the downtown Riverview Plaza could change that in 2016.

“It’ll be interesting to see with the courtyard and ice skating rink if it comes back next year,” Lockwood said.


Information from: Times Herald, https://www.thetimesherald.com

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