Dawn Jennings Peterson, known in the kinetic world as Vixen, entertains the audience at the 2016 Klamath Kinetic Challenge Awards.
We all inhabit a subculture of one. None of us are exactly alike anyone else in the world, but there are moments when you find those of a similar mindset with whom you can enjoy special moments.
The Klamath Kinetic Challenge was born of the dedication of Denise Currin. She’d seen the World Championships in Arcata, Calif., and knew Oregon Institute of Technology could provide a place for fun sculptures to be created. There were few better sights on campus than the tall-wheeled vehicle coming across the quad, during my last professional stint there.
Over the years, Denise grew tired of the responsibility and the Challenge was thought abandoned. Dawn Jennings Peterson, then a medical resident, saw the story in the newspaper and didn’t want the Challenge to die a premature death. She recruited volunteers and led the effort for a number of years.
Her leadership salvaged the Challenge and built relationships near and far. She and her family are known to crew for the Bedfords of Medford at the World Championships; Sam and Lily, the children of Peter and Jeri Wagner of Davis, Calif., have grown up together with the Peterson boys along the Challenge course; and the mutual admiration between the Vixen, as Jennings Peterson is known in kinetics, and James Brown is palpable.
Kinetics aren’t for the uptight or stuffy. Anyone who takes themselves too seriously will certainly find themselves alone in the span of a weekend. Run along, if you’re not interested in fun.
What is especially winning about Jennings Peterson is that her professional life could count for her community involvement. She delivers babies, helps families make difficult medical choices, and gently explains complicated information– often all in the course of one day. Her husband, Marcus Peterson, is a dentist who not only helps improve a person’s smile, but is able to encourage patients unto a path of better all-around health through better dental practices.
As Marcus began his own kinetic team, Vixen pulled away from being the local Supreme Organizer, but her contributions are still visible in the friendships and goodwill she’s built.
The 2016 Challenge is over, but the esprit de corps continues.