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Yukon Czech Festival stirs pride in heritage for Oklahoma man

The 47th annual Yukon Czech Festival will play out on the streets of Yukon this weekend and feature music, food and dancing.
BY MATT PATTERSON Published: October 3, 2012

— When Milo Shedeck talks about his Czech heritage, he does so with pride. But when he wants to truly express that pride, he picks up a saxophone.

Shedeck plays in the Bohemian Knights, a band made up of folks proud of their Czech heritage. The Knights will be playing at the Czech Hall during Yukon's annual Czech Festival, which starts Friday.

The Knights play country and western, polkas, waltzes, swing, Italian, the schottische and kids' favorites the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey.

But polka is in Shedeck's blood. He has played in a band since he was 14, beginning with the Charlie Belsky Orchestra. He also played in the Vitek Polka Band and the Jerry Kaplan Polka Band.

“I think it's more or less a pride thing with my heritage,” Shedeck said. “My son and my wife and our granddaughters carry that on, too. They've been contestants in the Junior Princess contest. They make their costumes, and much of the material is from Czechoslovakia.”

Shedeck knows virtually every detail of his heritage, but he has never been to the Czech Republic. It's one of those things he's always been meaning to do.

“My ancestors came from a small town on the border, and they came over here during the potato famine and started farming wheat,” he said. “I know so much about my family history, but I've never been there. Going to Prague is definitely on my bucket list.”

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