Family & Friends
By Suzan Rash, F219015
The 29th annual FMCA South Central Area Six-State Rally, dubbed the Roundup At The “OK” Corral, was held October 8 through 11, 2002, at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma. The event took place just a few days after FMCA’s 68th Premier International Motorhome Extravaganza in Hutchinson, Kansas, and many of the 450 motorhomes in attendance were driven straight from the wet, muddy convention. There was some concern that we might have a rainy mess at this rally also, but after a short wet spell, the weather was great.
Will Rogers Downs was once an active horse racing track, but today it is used for other events. The facility is especially nice for a gathering such as the Six-State Rally, because it features more than 400 campsites with electrical hookups, numerous rooms for seminars, and ample space for vendors.
Early arrivals had some free time to visit the sights of Claremore and do some shopping before the rally got started. Claremore has two great museums: the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum. Those who visited these museums found that each took considerable time to tour completely.
On Tuesday, October 8, rally attendees, including John and Norma DeGonia, F13244D, who have attended all 29 Six-State rallies, were treated to a motorhome preview and a block party in the coach display area. Before the Tuesday night entertainment began, attendees were welcomed to the rally by Tony Innocenti, F56315, rally master and senior vice president of the Six-State Rally Association; Jim Ammenheuser, F157201, South Central Area vice president; and Mark Enterline, general manager of Will Rogers Downs. Once the formalities were completed, those gathered in the grandstand were treated to Gene McFall portraying Will Rogers in the “Witty World of Will Rogers.” The audience also enjoyed Indian Stories and Comedy with Will Hill and Geninne Washington.
On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, rally-goers had the opportunity to attend 50 different seminars on numerous subjects that ranged from Nifty Newsletters to Holding Tank Maintenance. You could learn about Healthy Lifestyles, Whole Health, RV Power Plant Engine Maintenance, Towing Safety, Supplemental Braking Systems, or just sit down and enjoy a fashion show. Craft seminars were offered to help attendees make decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. And FMCA executive director Don Eversmann, F240000, presented a seminar that explained the many FMCA member benefits.
The Motorhome Safe Driving Course was offered on two days, as well as the Fire and Life Safety on the Road, and RV Weight and Radial Tire Safety educational seminars. All the seminars were held in one large building — attendees didn’t even have to leave the building for lunch or dinner, since the restaurant was open for meals all three days.
A horse-training demonstration was offered in the outside horse arena by folks with Will Rogers Downs. During the hour-long seminar, they showed how a horse that is bridle broken is trained to be saddle broken. You typically won’t see a seminar like this at other rallies.
Approximately 50 indoor vendors set up their wares in a large building just a few steps away from the seminar area. You could shop for just about anything: ladies’ clothing, nutritional supplements, supplemental braking equipment, propane injection systems, insurance, and medical assistance, and learn more about FMCA member benefits. We had plenty of room in the building to visit each of the booths without being crowded. The building also turned out to be a great place to hold the ice cream social.
The outdoor motorhome display was set up nicely, and we heard that quite a few coaches found new owners during the rally.
At breakfast each day we were treated to music from the Frustrated Maestros. On Wednesday and Thursday the evening entertainment was held at the outdoor grandstand, while Friday night’s performance was moved inside for those who wished to dance.
The Wednesday and Friday shows featured a mother-and-son singing group known as Double Decker. The antics of the son and a friend kept the audience entertained. On Wednesday night, “Batman” was found roaming the audience and talking to people, while on Friday night a clown was caught sitting on people’s laps, as well as leading the Chicken Dance. On Thursday evening the Dale Christenson band performed some great Western music. That night the audience and the entertainers had to brave an invasion of flying ants.
Everyone seemed to have a good time at the South Central Area Six-State Rally. Now it’s time to prepare for the 30th annual get-together in Wichita Falls, Texas, September 29 through October 2, 2003. The planning for this great outing will begin very soon under the capable leadership of the officers of the South Central Area Six-State Rally Association.
Saluting An Empire State Leader
By Albert Falcone, F59879
“Thirty-five years goes by real fast when you are having fun,” noted Dan Relihan, L4874, describing his involvement in FMCA. Dan and his wife, Helen, have been part of the Empire State chapter since its inception and also belong to four other chapters.
“When I first started in 1967, we motorhomed with a few locals,” he said. “Then we rallied with the Northeast Hikers and Campers Association. At a get-together in Vermont, we decided to expand and cover the United States — the vision for the FMCA. We started our Empire State chapter 30 years ago — it’s an honor to say we’re charter members.”
Dan first served as the chapter’s alternate national director. When Frank Perry, L3500, the Empire State’s national director, was elected Northeast Area vice president in 1981, Dan assumed that position. As national director, Dan attended Governing Board meetings and FMCA conventions for more than 20 years.
Dan and Helen still enjoy traveling and visiting with fellow FMCA members. Helen noted, “You meet many nice people at all the rallies, and you see many old friends. We saw many parts of the country never seen before.”
When Dan retired, he was assistant fire chief of the McKownville, New York, Volunteer Fire Department. Later, as a first lieutenant with the Fort Hunter Volunteer Fire Department, he organized the unit’s daytime response team. He used his expertise in this area at FMCA events, and usually could be found volunteering at the first aid station during national conventions and chapter rallies, serving members in need.
A veteran of World War II, Dan participated in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. He has traveled back to the site in France four times, including a visit in 1994 for a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the event. Dan started Purple Heart Post 446 in Albany, New York, and was commander of VFW Post 1019 in Schenectady, New York.
Dan and Helen are members of St. Madeleine Sophie Church, where Helen was active in the PTA and church events. The couple has two daughters and one son, who enjoyed attending FMCA rallies as a family.
Dan stated: “After 35 years, I feel it’s time to give others the thrill of being a national director and get the feeling of how our FMCA reaches into every corner of the U.S.A. It’s been a fun growth.
Apollo Great Lakes Celebrates 25th Anniversary
By Betty Linne, F38770
A weekend of reminiscing, fun, and fellowship was enjoyed by all who attended the 25th anniversary celebration of the Apollo Great Lakes chapter July 19, 20, and 21, 2002, at the Indiana Beach Camp Resort in Monticello, Indiana. The chapter, which was chartered on July 28, 1977, in Indianapolis, Indiana, encompasses the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Of the 20 family members who were on hand to sign the FMCA charter a quarter-century ago, three are still on the roll. Two of those couples, Bill and Ione Clifton, F24976, and Gene and Mary Highland, F26784, were present for the celebration.
The highlight of the weekend was an anniversary banquet held at the Anglers Restaurant, complete with silver decorations; programs; a specially decorated cake; and a collage of pictures from the past 25 years. Jack Linne, F38770, played keyboard music and Gene Highland gave a brief history of the club. Bob Hoover, F31373, presented the Cliftons and Highlands with special silver gifts honoring them as charter members and thanking them for their many years of loyalty and dedication.
Bob and Pauline Hoover and Rich and Twyla Payeur, F2963S, also were presented with gifts by Charles Albert, F162468. Both couples joined the chapter shortly after it was formed and have remained faithful, active members for the past 25 years. Don Crawford, F11012, vice president of the Great Lakes area, and his wife, Kathy, were special guests at the event. Don presented the chapter with a 25-year certificate and coffeepot from FMCA.
The rest of the evening was spent reminiscing about the fun, entertainment, foul-ups, and problems from past rallies. We relived memories of dodging snowflakes in gloves and earmuffs to be together, and enduring 100-degree temperatures that forced resourceful rally masters to set up huge fans — outdoors, no less — so we could congregate. Flooding was a problem on two occasions. But all agreed that rain, wind, sleet, mosquitoes, snow, bad campgrounds, or heat had never deterred us from having fun. The only rally ever canceled was after the September 11, 2001, disaster. For once we weren’t in the mood to party.
We had fun recalling a scavenger hunt, a “come-as-you-are” breakfast, the “Oldyweds” game, and lots of harmless practical jokes endured by many. Unfortunately, Froyd (our goof-up award) was not present for the evening, but it has certainly added to our good times through the years.
We all agreed that during the past 25 years, while we were teasing each other, helping each other, and learning from each other, we formed friendships that are priceless.
Our anniversary committee/rally masters, Bill and Mary Gillis, F208956; Al and Pat Gritten, F289728; Dave and Linda Fryer, F233951; Charles and Alice Albert; and Jack and Betty Linne, gave us a truly memorable weekend.
Empire State Chapter — 30 Years Of Friendship And Fun
By Joan Becker, F105933
On a warm and sunny summer weekend, the Empire State chapter celebrated its 30th anniversary. Forty-eight motorhomes gathered at the Lakeside Cider Mill Farm in Ballston Lake, New York, July 19, 20, and 21, 2002, to enjoy friendship, fun, and food.
After our hosts, Jim and Dolly Hunter, L7790, and Archie and Delores Rose, F27100, parked us in a big field, we spent the rest of Friday getting reacquainted with old friends, some of whom we had not seen in a long time. Some former members and “old-timers” drove in on Saturday just for the day.
Throughout the weekend, music was provided by our own talented Empire State members: Joan Lewis, F14953; Ernie Belanger, F278030; Ruth Mosher, F105957; and first-time Empire State rally attendee Janet Brady, F251409. Friday evening was spent playing cards and games at the pavilion, visiting with friends, and enjoying the music.
After our breakfast on Saturday morning, the games began. Sports coordinator Jack White, F95825, encouraged everyone to participate in some form of competition. Some played horseshoes, while others played holey board. There were four teams of bocce ball players, and later in the day there was an enthusiastic game of bean bag baseball.
Before a lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads, New York State Assemblyman James Tedisco presented outgoing chapter president, Paula Friedel, F72459, with a New York State Assembly citation and spoke to us about how we have the freedom to enjoy the motorhoming lifestyle in this great country.
Even though we had stuffed ourselves at noon, we gathered again at 5:00 p.m. for a delicious barbecue dinner. The food was prepared by the family that owns and operates the Lakeside Cider Mill Farm, and everything was very good. While we enjoyed the barbeque chicken, baked potato, and corn on the cob, our new chapter president, Diane Vaillancourt, F150027, and her helpers delivered rally favors: glasses decorated with the words “FMCA Empire State Chapter 30th Anniversary 1972-2002” and filled with candy. We surprised George Lewis, F14953, by singing happy birthday to him, accompanied by Ernie Belanger on the tuba.
Northeast Area vice president Bill Gowen, F93847, was unable to attend because of a previous commitment. In his stead, Bill Skolfield, F227377, first vice president of the Northeast Motorhome Association, and his wife, Ellen, attended the celebration. Bill presented us with a 30th anniversary certificate and a $150 check from FMCA. The anniversary certificate and the citation from the New York State Assembly were displayed on a table along with the chapter’s original charter, its 25th anniversary certificate, and pictures from years past. Dolly Hunter read a letter from the chapter’s first president, George Beutel, F4577, who was ill and unable to attend.
Dan Relihan, L4874, our national director for many years who retired from the position in 2002 for health reasons, was honored with a beautiful plaque and a gift certificate to a local restaurant that he and his wife, Helen, could enjoy.
The festivities concluded with prizes being awarded for the various sports competitions held earlier in the day, and the distribution of door prizes to lucky winners.
On Sunday morning, after our usual breakfast of coffee, doughnuts, and rolls, we held our chapter meeting. When it adjourned, we waved good-bye as each motorhome departed. As usual, after a delightful weekend, we all returned home with a warm feeling of comradeship, looking forward to our next gathering.
The Moonlight Meow
By Lydia Fairchok
In the July 2002 issue of FMC, we invited children or grandchildren (ages 6-18) of FMCA members to write a story about one of two pictures. Lydia Fairchok, age 9, of Grove City, Ohio, sent in this story about a pair of happy cats dancing under the stars. Lydia is the granddaughter of Richard and Barbara Best, F189036.
Wendy was a pretty white cat who lived in the attic of Mr. Price. Wendy slept in her basket all day, and when Mr. Price went to bed, she got up. She would slink out the window and talk with her friends. Currently, the only talk was of the Moonlight Meow on Saturday night. The Moonlight Meow was a big cat dance held every year on the fifth of May. This year’s Moonlight Meow was being held at the abandoned parking lot on the outskirts of town.
All the cats found partners in the few days before the big night, then they danced and ate and sang all night. When morning came they all returned to their houses to wait for the next Moonlight Meow.
Wendy didn’t have a dance partner yet. The only cat she had wanted to go with was Zach, the baker’s cat, and he had already asked another cat. Wendy yowled in disappointment and leapt through the open window onto the roof.
It was then that she saw the moving van parked in front of the old house next door. Several men were bringing things into the house, but she barely cared about that. What she cared about was a handsome cat. Wendy hadn’t meant to, but she meowed.
The cat saw her and came up on the roof. Then the cat introduced himself as Rufus. Wendy told Rufus all about the Moonlight Meow. And before she knew it, she had a partner.
On the night of the dance, Rufus met her in the alley. They quickly traveled to the parking lot. The dance had already started, and Wendy and Rufus rocked and rolled all night. When morning came they returned to their baskets for a nice nap. They were glad they were neighbors.