After the success of last year’s biker babes-themed calendar, Riley County Senior Service Center project coordinator Deb Nuss wanted to get women’s motors running this time. But she found one problem with this year’s crop of male models.
“We had a hard time getting them to smile,” Nuss said.
More than 95 men above the age of 60 posed for this year’s calendar, titled Man-happiness. The title was a play on the town’s name, although it also came across as a little ironic, given the seemingly more serious approach the male models took to their duties.
Nuss said they recruited men associated with the senior center. Also pictured were downtown Manhattan business owners, former city commissioners, members of the Manhattan Men’s Garden Club, and retired educators.
Last year’s calendar featured senior women on Harleys and was a huge hit. Nuss said the men clamored for their own calendar, and she was more than happy to agree. The calendar is being used as a fund-raiser to help pay for activities and field trips not covered by the center’s general fund.
Advertisements paid for the nearly $10,000 price tag, which included hiring a photographer and printing the calendar. Nuss coordinated the photo shoots during the summer.
“The photographer needed to have good lighting and we tried to do the photo shoots when it was cooler like either early in the morning or in the evening,” Nuss said.
Don Slater, among those pictured on the front of the calendar, was a willing participant. “I’m on so many committees and boards,” Slater said. “I can’t say no to anything.
While Slater enjoyed the final project, seeing his face did provide him with an ugly reminder.
“It kind of reminded me that I’m not a cute kid anymore.”
Karl Kramer, a driver for the center’s meals on wheels program, was willing to show some skin for the photo shoot.
“I suggested we do Speedos,” Kramer joked. “But they didn’t like that idea. We all think we look better than we do and that (the Speedo) would definitely not help.”
Despite having to keep his clothes on, Kramer said he has been showing off the calendar to relatives and friends.
He said the photo shoot was equally memorable for a former meals on wheels driver who has fallen on hard times recently.
“One of the fellas had a stroke and could not drive for us,” Kramer said. “He had been doing it for years. His daughter brought him and he sure enjoyed it. We enjoyed cheering him up too.”
Mike Danenberg, who owns Danenberg Jewelers, said he enjoyed going through the calendar and looking at familiar and unfamiliar faces.
“It’s interesting to see some of the different groups I did not know existed,” Danenberg said, citing the men’s garden club as an example.
Nuss is in a wait-and-see period for determining whether she will do the calendar next year. “We are still trying to sell this year’s,” she said.
Next year’s theme could involve pets, Nuss said jokingly.
If they have one next year, Kramer has a suggestion too. “They should have the wives of the drivers on there,” he said.
The calendar is available at the senior center, Commerce Bank, Danenberg Jewelers and the Chamber of Commerce, and other local business.