Bob Liepsner of Kansas City came to Neosho this week to visit the local national fish hatchery.

Liepsner was on his way to Dallas to attend the Missouri/Oklahoma State football game. As he was driving by, he saw the signs to the hatchery and decided to stop — something he had thought of doing many times before.

Liepsner was going to Texas for the Cotton Bowl, but he also had some business to take care of. Liepsner has a company in Kansas City that supplies artwork and mirrors to hospitals and hotels all over the country. On his Texas trip, he was going see a hotel he has contracted with.

When he contracts to supply a hotel or hospital with artwork, Liepsner visits the site and works with an interior decorator. They discuss such things as color schemes, fabrics and color tones in the wood. Then, the styles and color of the artwork or mirrors are chosen.

Liepsner buys art from several suppliers and then orders the correct number of pieces for the facility. Artwork is chosen for the hallways, lobbies, restaurants, and bedrooms in a hotel. Currently, decorators are asking for abstract art and photographs.

Besides fitting the artwork to the facility's decor, Liepsner said another important factor is choosing the work is "regionalism."

"If you build something in Arizona, you probably don't want a scene that might be found in Maine," he says. "You probably want a desert scene."

When the artwork or mirrors come to Kansas City, his company builds and puts the frames on them. When the art is made ready for placing in the facility, it is shipped out of Kansas City to the designated building.

Founded in 1976 in Dallas, the company works all around the country. Recently, the company got a contract in California so Liepsner is looking forward to a visit there to decide what kind of art will fit in.

On his trip to Texas, Liepsner stopped at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. He asked for a full tour as he has a personal interest in fishing. He is a trout fisherman and has visited state and federal hatcheries across the country.

Last summer, he planned a trip to Yellowstone on business and hoped to get in some trout fishing. Before he left Missouri, he checked the Internet to find a good trout stream in the area of Yellowstone National Park. On the computer he contacted a professor from Penn State who is the head of a trout fishing group. This volunteer group helps the government with trout research.

The call to Penn State resulted in Liepsner volunteering to stay another week in Yellowstone to fish for trout. During that week, he fished the trout streams of Yellowstone National Park. Each trout he caught, he measured, weighed and took a DNA sample. Then all his records were then given to the park's research staff.

On his visit to Neosho, he had a chance to see many trout and also learned about the pallid sturgeon, an endangered species that is being protected by the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.
So, thanks to a stranger’s trip to the Cotton Bowl in Texas, the rainbow trout and pallid sturgeon in Neosho have a new fan — Bob Liepsner.