Tuscarora Correspondence – April 2016



Tuscarora’s Souper-Man

Master potter Ben Parks opening his kiln in Tuscarora.
             Master potter Ben Parks opening his kiln in Tuscarora.

One of the busiest citizens of Tuscarora is Ben Parks, who divides his time between running the Tuscarora Pottery School and serving as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at the Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital in Elko. Every other year, Ben combines his professions by making soup bowls for the Horizon Hospice Souper Bowl charity event.

The roar of the loaded kiln through a Tuscarora night is a magical sound. Then there’s the suspense when the kiln has cooled down enough to open and reveal its treasures. This year, Ben threw, glazed and fired two hundred beautiful soup bowls for the biennial fundraiser.

The Horizon Hospice benefit held at the Elko Convention Center in early April traditionally raises between $60,000 and $70,000 for in-home care to the terminally ill in Elko County and for the Horizon Center for Grieving Children, Teens and Families. It’s a labor-intensive labor of love on Ben’s part — and for a very good cause.

More than thirty businesses and organizations enter soups for the Souper Bowl. Those in attendance taste different soups donated by local chefs and vote for their favorite. The winning chef receives an award. All the participants take home a beautiful pottery bowl handmade by Ben Parks.

Recently fired "Souper Bowls" made by Ben Parks, yet to be removed from his kiln in Tuscarora.
                                      Recently fired “Souper Bowls” made by Ben Parks, yet to be removed from his kiln.

The Tuscarora Pottery School was established in 1966 by Ben’s parents, Dennis and Julie Parks, now retired. This summer, Ben will hold a two-week workshop from July 9-27. There’s room both for beginners and for advanced students. You will find more information on the summer workshop at the Tuscarora Pottery School website. (www.tuscarorapottery.com/pottery.htm)

It’s a darn good reason to come to Tuscarora this summer!

Nancy Harris McLelland