By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Chicken, Flippin’, Toon, Mama, Loopy, Squirrel, and Tigger aren’t their legal names, but like many Delano area residents, nicknames are part of their identity.
“Everybody in our family has a nickname,” said Delano resident Dave “Bibs” Jaunich.
Friends started calling Dave Bibs when he was a child, after former professional basketball player, Henry Bibby.
“We all used to play basketball, but I had no clue who Henry Bibby was, because I didn’t watch the NBA,” Dave said.
Dave’s parents, Eldoris and Wallace “Wally,” had a total of 11 children, eight of whom are still living in Delano and all of whom have nicknames.
Tom Jaunich, for instance, is known as “Beefy” and “Quarterback,” and his brother, Paul, is referred to as “Paulsy.”
Some of the Jaunich nicknames started out one way, and morphed over time.
Steve, for example, owner of Jaunich Tire, is nicknamed Super Sonic Jaunich, which has since been shortened to “Soup.”
Mike Jaunich was originally dubbed “Leon Spinks” after the former boxer, and later became known as “Scrappy.”
His sister Patricia (Jaunich) Czock was called Trish, which turned into “Twitch,” and Peter Jaunich is nicknamed “Playboy.”
“You’ll have to use your imagination with that nickname,” his sister Barb (Jaunich) Scherer noted.
Scherer also has an interesting nickname “Poopy.”
“Grandpa said it meant pretty baby/dolly in Polish,” Scherer noted.
When they were growing up, the Jaunich children lived three blocks from the park in Delano, and spent their days playing sports.
“Some names were given by coaches, friends, family members, and who knows who,” Scherer noted.
Scherer’s son, Patrick, who serves in the military, is nicknamed “Lion King.”
The Afghan army said that in their language, Scherer sounds like “lion” and Patrick sounds like “king.”
Martin “Toon” Bauman of Delano was given his nickname when he was 6 or 7 years old.
“It was my neighbor, who was originally calling me Mar-Toon,” he said. “It was just for fun.”
The name gained popularity when Bauman was in high school, but didn’t become “Toon” until he started working at Industrial Louvers 28 years ago.
“The guys at the shop shortened it to Toon,” he said.
Bauman said most of the people in the Delano Jaycees call him Toon.
“At the state level of the Jaycees, most of them don’t know my real name,” he said.
The Delano Jaycees seem to be fond of nicknames, and many of the participants are given one.
“It comes from a lot of camaraderie,” participant Alex Roeser said.
Roeser got his nickname, “Tigger,” during a Jaycees convention. Everyone else was getting coffee and trying to recover from the day, but Roeser was ready for the next adventure.
“I have lots of energy, and I’m constantly on the move,” he said.
Roeser, an American Family Insurance agent, keeps up with his children (ages 3 and 5), volunteers at Delano’s Fourth of July celebration, and recently joined the Parents in Education (PIE) group at Delano Middle School.
He’s not sure where all his energy comes from, and refers to it as “unbridled enthusiasm.”
“I earned those stripes,” Roeser joked.
Unfortunately, after two surgeries on his right knee, “Tigger doesn’t bounce the same way he used to,” he added.
The nickname “Tigger” is generally only used by the Jaycees.
“Most people don’t even know my secret name,” he said.
Being called Tigger is fun, though, according to Roeser.
“To be honest with you, I could be called worse things,” he said. “It’s an affectionate nickname. I have a tendency to be an upbeat and energetic person.”
Fellow Jaycee Nichole Krause added that he also has a tendency to hop when people are talking to him.
Bauman started calling Krause “Mama” a few years ago.
“It’s because I tend to take care of people. Of all the things I get called during the day, it’s relatively minor,” she said, laughing.
Although many people don’t mind their nicknames, others aren’t so happy about them, including Delano Herald Journal editor Ryan Gueningsman.
Some of the Delano Jaycees began calling him “Squirrel” after they saw the Disney/Pixar movie “Up.”
In the movie, a dog gets distracted by a squirrel and shouts “Squirrel!”
“When a girl walks by, [Gueningsman] is distracted by a girl instead of a squirrel,” Bauman laughed.
Some nicknames just seem to “fit” the person, as in the case of Scott “Loopy” Shoutz of Loopy’s Dollar Store in Delano.
“It does,” Shoutz agreed. “I’m OK with it. I say call me anything you want, just don’t call me late for dinner.”
Shoutz’s partner named the dollar store Loopy’s in honor of a fun place he visited in Mexico.
“People couldn’t remember my name, so they just started calling me Loopy,” Shoutz said.
Mike “Spike” Persons, owner of Spike’s Feed, Seed & Pet Supply in Delano, went about it the opposite way. Instead of being named after his business, his business, which opened in April, was named after him.
Flippin’ Bill Hanson and his brother, Chicken Jon Hanson, also have nicknames related to their livelihoods.
Years ago, Jon and Bill had a burger shack on the corner of Highway 12 and County Line Road. When people saw Bill flipping burgers, he became known as Flippin’ Bill.
The brothers also used to sell a lot of chicken, so in 1987, Jon found a big white chicken statue in Wisconsin.
Bill bought the business a year later and named it Flippin’ Bills, but the colossal chicken remains a conspicuous landmark in Delano.
Another identifier of Delano is its popular Fourth of July celebration. This year, the festivities included a 16-inch diameter rocket.
“We called it the Gilmer,” Roeser said. “If you get really popular, you don’t get a nickname. Other things get nicknamed after you.”