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Family up bright and early for deals


The neon green shirts worn by the Werth clan said it all.

In big letters on the front, it said "Black Friday," and underneath it said, "If you don't go home bruised, it ain't 'Werth' it."

More than a dozen members of the Werth family descended upon Hays from Ellis and WaKeeney on Thursday to continue their Black Friday shopping tradition.

Once a female member of the Werth extended family reaches high-school age, she is allowed to shop until she drops on Black Friday. This year, two members of the family were initiated into the tradition, which started many years ago.

"For years, you sit around at Thanksgiving and watch them go through the ads, and you just sit there," said Beth Augustine, one of this year's newbies. "Finally, you get to look at the ads and buy something."

Becky Metzler and Baylee Werth came up with the idea for the shirts this year, which were a big hit.

"When we originally started this, we would go to our grandmother's place and spend the night in Hays the night before," Renee Neff said. "Then we would get up in the wee hours of the morning and go shop all morning, then she would cook us dinner that day."

But grandmother Lucille Coupal is 98 now and can't cook.

"So we have another aunt who comes over and does it," Neff said. "It's just a fun tradition for the family. We just keep going and add something every year."

They wore their shirts for the first time this year. After hitting Walmart Supercenter, 4301 Vine, on Thursday evening, they were at The Mall, 2918 Vine, at midnight, sipping coffee, ready for Round 2. They planned to shop all night; the only thing bruised might have been their pocketbooks.

At Walmart, TVs, DVDs and Blu-ray players were part of their haul.

One bright spot about wearing the brightly colored shirts: You'll never get lost.

Ashley Augustine, another newcomer to the tradition this year, said it's fun to "run around and find each other in our shirts."

Waiting for the clock to strike midnight at The Mall were Heather Weber, Danielle Weber, Mona Coupal, Lori Augustine, Lisa Weber, Ashley Augustine, Beth Augustine, Baylee Werth, Metzler and Neff. Five more family members were set to join them.

While they were checking their shopping lists, Jan Schwab, Hays, was waiting patiently in line at center court at The Mall. The first 100 shoppers received a free gift at midnight. Schwab, who was near the front of the line, had been there since 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Her patience was rewarded with a bottle of cologne from Rue 21.

With free gift in hand, she was off to Bath & Body Works.

"There's some stuff there I want to get for my sister-in-law for Christmas," Schwab said.

Schwab was a first-time Black Friday shopper. She didn't plan to hit the stores later today.

"No, this is it," she said with a laugh.