By Gaye S. Young, F284657
“Welcome Coastal Tarheels!” greeted Sonny Hooks as he and his team scooted around on their golf carts assisting fellow chapter members with parking. It was a special occasion “” the Coastal Tarheels’ 30th anniversary celebration, “Reminiscing Through The Ages,” held September 11 through 14, 2008, at Senator Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center in Williamston, North Carolina. This site, with all of its amenities, is a perfect place to host a rally. The anniversary committee of Sharon Rice, Gaye Young, Sarah Wright, and Frances Garner planned and coordinated this gala with assistance from all members.
On Wednesday evening, early birds enjoyed a hamburger and hot dog cookout. Sprinkles of rain fell but couldn’t interrupt this meet-and-greet picnic.
Official festivities began Thursday night. As attendees entered the hall, they were swept back in time with table decorations that corresponded with past rallies. On other tables were 30 years’ worth of memories in pictures to help folks recall the many events and friends through the years. During all meals, a slideshow of past rallies was enjoyed by all.
After a delicious dinner, we settled in for the opening ceremonies. Chapter president Jerry Young welcomed everyone and thanked Howard RV Center of Wilmington, North Carolina, for being our major sponsor. He introduced Durward Taylor, manager of the agricultural center, and his assistant, Amy Gibbs. Jerry then made a special presentation honoring the firemen, law enforcement, emergency medical staff, and, of course, our military, past and present, who give us the freedom to enjoy our lifestyles.
Next, one of our own members, Otho Tew, the newly elected Eastern Area national vice president, took to the stage for a few words. He presented the chapter with a 30-year recognition certificate and a check for $150. Afterward, Sonny Hooks, Sharon Rice (on the electric piano), Cherry Ragan, Randy Ragan, Frances Garner, Ward Kellum, and the Ragans’ son-in-law (on the guitar), serenaded us with gospel, country, and popular songs. They even had us singing along.
Friday morning, the aroma of coffee lured us to the clubhouse for a wonderful breakfast. That morning several North Carolina highway patrolmen spoke about state laws as they relate to RVing. These guys were informative and entertaining. Following this event, everyone was on their own to enjoy games, sightsee, outbid each other in the silent auction, or visit with one another. That evening we again enjoyed a terrific dinner. Dessert was a delicious cake creation by Nancy Barkalow depicting a motorhome parked around palm trees at the beach. Everyone exclaimed that it was too pretty to cut, but we did anyway, and it sure was good.
That evening Jerry Young introduced Steve and Judy Czarsty, each a past Eastern Area vice president. He also recognized the committees and thanked them for their hard work. Door prizes donated by Hawley’s Camping Center and Tom Johnson Camping Center were awarded, and there were many lucky winners. Evelyn Willis, our chapter’s only active charter member, took us for a stroll down memory lane by explaining how the Coastal Tarheels came into being. Next up was Charlotte Kerr, who shared events of long ago. Mary Lee Curtis, a past member, spoke of exciting times and a bit of nostalgia. Each of these ladies worked hard alongside their husbands (all now deceased) to create such a dynamite chapter. Theirs was a vision of fun times and adventure.
Friday night’s entertainment included a skit depicting a single mom with three little girls (actually three men with their heads “” and their wives’ hands “” stuck through a sheet) who was trying to get them ready for a dance recital. They had such a time eating their snacks, brushing their teeth, washing their faces, applying makeup, and even placing their headpieces on. In addition, Rod Stewart (Dolores Neumann) and Dolly Parton (Bill Neumann) serenaded us with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The Forrester Sisters (Nancy Barkalow and Gaye Young) performed their rendition of “Men.” Then our very own “Geraldine” (Gerry Butts) walked around the room looking for a replacement.
Saturday morning we awakened to a delicious breakfast, followed by a short meeting. Bob and Nancy Barkalow reminded us about Gabriel, the service dog they had trained and brought to several rallies. Gabriel had been placed with a young marine, Ed Salau, who lost his leg while serving in Iraq. Each year the Coastal Tarheels raise money for someone deserving, and we were told that Ed had recommended another young marine and his family for our Christmas benefit. We collected more than $2,000 at the rally alone for this needy marine and his family. (Since the rally took place in September, even more funds were raised later in the year.)
That afternoon we ventured down the road a few county miles to a Western theme park named Deadwood, which is known for its dinner theater. Out on the street we witnessed the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok. After a train ride through the outskirts of town, we entered the saloon and enjoyed a great dinner. Gerry Butts and Gaye Young enjoyed a few dances in the Longhorn Saloon before the “Trial of Jack McCall” began. The jury consisted of Bob Barkalow, Larry Howard, Sonny Hooks, and Ron Franck. After the judge’s own interrogation of the jury, the trial began. After the verdict was returned, we all traveled back to the rally site, where folks retired for the evening or stayed up later to enjoy the company of their friends.
On a bright Sunday morning, we traipsed across the grounds for a continental breakfast and devotion by chaplain Mike Lucas. As we passed out heartfelt farewells and gave good-bye hugs, we realized that more treasured memories had been created during our 30th anniversary, with many more to come.
Badger Chapter Shows Packer Pride
By Lee Ann Leroy, F269999
Members of the Badger chapter gathered May 16 through 18, 2008, at the Brown County Fairgrounds in De Pere, Wisconsin, for our “Mini-Camp” rally in anticipation of the Green Bay Packers mini-camp in June.
Although the weather in Brown County can be iffy in May, the 110 people attending were greeted by sunshine and comfortable 60-degree to 70-degree temperatures.
On Thursday night, members were treated to a meal of Chicken Booyah, which is a staple at all the church picnics in the area. One of the members topped off the meal by providing 24 Belgian pies for dessert.
On Friday morning, 60 football enthusiasts in the group were treated to a tour of Lambeau Field, home to the Green Bay Packers. While there we got to see where the players enter the stadium and also visited the Packers Pro Shop, where we could stock up on our green-and-gold gear.
Saturday morning began with a pancake/porkie breakfast and was followed by a day spent investigating some of the area sights. That evening we enjoyed a catered tailgate party with brats and all the trimmings. Later, we were serenaded by a funny and entertaining barbershop quartet named Something Old, Something New.
Since the theme of the event revolved around Green Bay football, numerous Packer-related items were raffled off after the entertainment concluded. Connie Warden won the grand prize, an autographed 50-year commemorative football signed by members of the Packers. The raffle raised $440, which was given to Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity.
One special treat we were lucky enough to witness during our rally was a family of bald eagles that was nesting near our campsite. Since the fairground is along the Fox River, we were able to see the eagles swoop down for fish to feed their chicks in the nest. If you were up early enough, you could even hear the hungry babies screeching for their food.
If you are interested in becoming a Badger member, contact chapter secretary Lee Ann Leroy by e-mail: [email protected]; or by standard mail: 2311 S. Huron Road, Green Bay, WI 54311. The initial membership fee is $25, with annual dues of $15 thereafter.