A Few Minutes w/Boreas Rex 2009
How he became King: A group of past Kings is always responsible for recruiting the new Boreas Rex. They approached me and asked me if I'd like to go do it, and I said yes.
Carnival lineage: Chris' father, Daniel, was Grand Duke Fertillious on 1969's Vulcanus Rex Krewe, while his Uncle Howie Schletz was 1967's Prince of the Southern Winds. In those days, as now, Chris recalls, the Winter Carnival was always a lotta fun!
About his last name: " 'der Schneeman' is German for ''the snowman'. So, growing up, I've always had this affinity for all things Winter. The winter events and celebrations were the kinds of things I sort of gravitated to."
What he does: Owner and President, SevenHills Benefit Partners of downtown St. Paul, which helps employers purchase and manage their employee benefit programs. The business takes its name, of course, from the Boreas Legend's Seven Hills of Saint Paul. He lives in the suburb of Mendota Heights with his wife Cathy, their four sons and one daughter.
How he enjoys his winters: He and his daughter love cross-country skiing at local golf courses. However, his other favorite pastime is one most Minnesotans --- and, for that matter, the rest of us --- barely tolerate: snow shoveling! "I don't know why, but it just doesn't bother me. When that snow comes down, I just love getting out there and movin' it all around. There's just something crisp and refreshing about the whole thing."
What's King Boreas' theme for this year, Your Majesty? "I've been involved in community centers as a volunteer and board member over the years, particularly the one on the East Side, the one called the Merrick Community Center, and I have been so remarkably impressed by all those volunteers who've worked out of those types of organizations. I think it's time that they should be recognized for all those many ways that they've selflessly donated their time .... because they don't always get a lot of recognition. It's time to make sure that we reach back long enough to recognize that they represent the types of people who've really made St. Paul into the great community that it's turned out to be."
What His Wintry Majesty looks forward to: "I've talked with a lot of the Past Kings, and what they've told me, really across the board, is that some of the most meaningful things that they could do were a few of those one-on-ones they often did with the people. Because it's mostly a role, it's also a chance for you to lift them up a little bit."
And here's the Press Release, right from SevenHills Headquarters itself:
"We are very pleased to announce that SevenHills President Chris Schneeman has been named the 2009 Boreas Rex, King of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival!
"Since 1886, one of the more visible and celebrated traditions of Saint Paul is its annual Winter Carnival. Central to this event is its Royal Family, a cast collection of community volunteers who play out a pageantry of good will and celebration. Sure, it's a little bit hokey, but it's all in fun, a more than one hundred year old tradition which has long had a tremendous positive impact on our entire community!
"It is an honor to be recognized for our dedication to our City in this very special way --- and so, we plan to leave a legacy of service and support to a Royal Community!
"SevenHills takes great pride in St. Paul, its people, and its larger community. Our company's name, after all --- SevenHills --- is an historical acknowledgement of our City's seven hills, and of the neighborhoods nestled within their shadows. We have always believed strongly in supporting people and organizations who are committed to bringing helping hands to those who need help, and to those who make the commitment every day to spread a message of cheer and good will.
"For the 10-day duration of the Carnival, this role will be full-time, ending with the Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade on Saturday evening, January 31st, at which time Boreas, under the advice and counsel of his Queen of the Snows, Miss Sarah Schweich, surrenders to the Vulcans, those purveyors of warm weather, so that Peace and Good Will can be maintained throughout the Realm.
"Officially, His Wintry Majesty's commitments will continue until next year's Carnival. Throughout the year, Chris will be involved in various activities, outreach programs, local parades and assorted other events both in and around Minnesota and in various other parts of the country as Saint Paul's Official Ambassador. It is estimated that Chris may, in all, be involved in more than 300 appearances, occuring mostly on weekends and during off-hours.
"For more information on the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and its various events and other activities, please visit http://www.winter-carnival.com.
"Jane Goss will also be coordinating Chris' busy schedule for this next year, so please feel free to contact her at 1-651/209-9816; or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"SevenHills' commitment to its many clients will, of course, continue, and so will our long-standing tradition of service and exceeding your expectations! We've spent over a whole year preparing for this very special moment! And of course, we'll be happy to answer any questions you might have; and we certainly welcome any advice of feedback you'd like to share.
"Hail! to the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Hail! to its Royal Family, and Hail! to all Community Events! Thank you, one and all!"
And naturally, we offer our own Huzzah! to you, Chris and Sarah! Have fun, rule your Kingdom wisely --- and blow your noses if you need to! You never know, after all, if the winter's chill can touch you in its own magical way! Huzzah!