Kansas Sampler

Showcase counties for 2019 Big K...

More than 50 people gathered at the Kansas Explorers Club meeting in Greensburg ...

Big Kansas Road Trip a Success!...

Hundreds of people, including a good number of Kansas Explorer Club members, roa...

Activities Galore on Big Kansas ...

The Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) will take place in Barber, Comanche and Kiowa ...

Kansas Explorer Club

Kansas Explorer Club

Members of the Kansas Explorer Club receive 5-6 print newsletters a year full of things to see and do that are off the beaten path.

We Kan!

We Kan!

The Big Rural Brainstorm will be held March 7 in Newton in 2016.

Rural Culture Elements

Rural Culture Elements

The 8 rural culture elements are: architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history and people! They help you see a place with new eyes.

8 Wonders

8 Wonders

Have you seen the 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook? Let it guide you to all 216 Wonders!



Marci and WenDee, of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, are going to every (626) incorporated city in Kansas to research for the second edition of the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers.

Big Kansas Road Trip

Big Kansas Road Trip

The showcase counties are Barber, Comanche and Kiowa. The event will be held over four days, May 3-6, 2018.

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Marci and WenDee have embarked on a journey with ERV!



  • The Kansas Sampler Foundation (KSF) will go to every (627) incorporated city in Kansas to research for the second edition of the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers and to find common issues and grassroots solutions for community sustainability. The guidebook estimated publication date will be 2015.
  • The trip will take place from June 12, 2012 for approximately two years and 40,000 miles. KSF staff, Marci Penner and WenDee LaPlant, will be making the journey and will be on the road approximately 2-4 days each week. They will research a county at a time in no particular order and they will not announce where they will be at any time. Those who follow the trip on Facebook will have a heads up about the whereabouts of ERV.


  • Midway Motors, McPherson/Hutchinson/Newton/Hillsboro, is a family-owned company. They are loaning KSF a 2012 GMC Terrain for the two years of the project!  Meet ERV (Explorer Research Vehicle)!

  • A $100 day sponsor will be featured on each daily blog entry along with a mention of the sponsor's favorite Kansas attraction in Kansas. We'll link to the sponsor or attraction.  Sign up now if you'd like!
  • $500 banner ads will be featured on the blog home page and will include a link. The criteria for the ads is that it feature a Kansas attraction.  The sponsoring organization can be listed below the picture. You must send a high resolution photo to do this ad.  Go here to see the approximate size of the ad.  Scroll down on the right until you see the rows of side-by-side recipes.  You can sign up now!
  • $10,000 sponsors, along with Midway Motors, will be listed at the top of the blog with a link. We are looking for a Kansas-based fuel sponsor!
  • WE KAN! MEMBERSHIP AND KANSAS EXPLORER CLUB MEMBERSHIP: If you have benefited from the work of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, membership to the We Kan! network ($25 and upwards) or Kansas Explorers Club ($18.61 or $30) is always appreciated. This is a minimal, but highly appreciated, way to support.
  • MEDIA & COMMUNITY SPONSORS: Any media outlets or communities that link to our blog on their web site or Facebook page will be listed on our “I (heart) ERV” link.
  • One desire is to help educate the public and support communities now rather than wait until the book comes out in 2015. The Kansas Sampler Foundation will be blogging daily and using Facebook and Twitter to share all that they see and do.
  • If you could link to the ERV blog, then more people could see the information!  Midway Motors will be linking to the blog and they get 15,000 unique visits each month.
  • Everybody linking to the ERV blog makes it more valuable to blog sponsors.  We'll list all of you that link and hopefully people will go to your sites, too!

  • If we all made a concerted effort for the next two years, starting June 12, to share information, pictures, or blogs about Explorer attractions in Kansas communities of every size, we could show the world that Kansas is a rich state for day trippin', especially if you have the Explorer spirit. 

  • We invite you to look at the 8 rural culture elements in your town (architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history, and people) and share them as Explorer attractions on our ERV Facebook page but also on your own Facebook page, blog, print newsletter, or in any other manner.  Our collective effort could help encourage thousands of people to explore Kansas in a way that will help sustain communities and instill pride in all Kansans.  Everyone would be seeing, thinking Kansas and many would go out exploring!


We will be glad to share story leads with interested media. We will also be partnering with Wichita State University and the Regional Institute on Aging to provide leads on Kansans over 70 years that are leading remarkable lives.  We will also be directing PowerUps (21-39s who are rural by choice) to the ruralbychoice.com web site.


The research, guidebook, and education of Kansans is one of the projects of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, an Inman-based non-profit.  The KSF mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture.  Other projects include the Kansas Sampler Festival, the Kansas Explorers Club, the 8 Wonders of Kansas contests and guidebook, the PowerUp Movement, the Big Rural Brainstorm, the We Kan! Conference, Rural Kansas: Come & Get It, more.  The Foundation was co-founded by Mil Penner and daughter, Marci, in 1993.


(The new book will have a similar format)

There were 432-pages in this coil-bound book printed by Mennonite Press, Newton.  Within a couple of years, 22,000 copies sold.  We decided not to reprint due to closures of up to 15% of the 3,597 entries listed.  Five hundred of the 627 incorporated cities in Kansas were represented in the book.  The “ERV” trip will lead to the next edition.  The publisher was and will be the Kansas Sampler Foundation.


Midway Motors, McPherson, Hutchinson, Newton, Hillsboro for the car -- a 2012 GMC Terrain.

Jim Stukey, Burlington, for the cartoon artwork!


Tamara Heitschmidt, technology director, Kansas Sampler Foundation, did the blog design.

Gregory in Buhler did the car wrap.

Stiner Embroidery Works in Burlington added the color to the cartoon logo and prepared it for use.