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Stafford County elevators part of national show background

Fran Brownell

Kanza Cooperative Association’s Stafford County grain elevators and storage facilities got national television exposure Sunday night. On May 17, the Stafford location was one of the featured background locations in the “American Idol” finale that included a “We Are The World” montage.

An aerial view photo of the Kanza Cooperative Association Stafford County grain elevator, showing four contestants’ faces on the massive structures, was posted on the Kanza Co-op Facebook site.

Kanza Co-op communications and marketing manager Jackie Mundt said the pictures may have been gleaned from a 2017 online video of wheat harvest in the rural area.

“We were so excited to have our Stafford location featured in the ‘We Are the World’ montage,” Mundt said. “It’s not every day we have a local cameo on national TV, but when we do, it looks good.”

Mundt said Monday afternoon that she checked with ABC Affiliate KAKE – TV to see what they might know about how the Kansas site ended up on the “American Idol” 2020 finale Sunday.

“They might have found some stock footage somewhere that they used and superimposed the contestants’ faces,” Mundt said.

Mundt also conjectured that the “American Idol” photographers -- or photographers hired by “American Idol” -- may have shot the aerial-view footage since Kansas is the current home of Arthur Gunn, who was one of the seven finalists, capturing second place to winner “Just Sam” on Sunday night to close out the 2020 competition.

“It’s a recent picture from the past few years, based on the configuration of structures,” Mundt said.