Winnie Gators

March Rally 2010

Pictures by Nancy Miller
Pictures by Gies

Pictures by Lee MacDonald

“Welcome To ‘Bago ‘Bago Island” was the theme for the Florida State Rally on March 11 – 14, 2010, held in Orlando, Florida. On Wednesday, March 10th beautiful sunshine welcomed 307 coaches, 211  from Florida, and 96 others from around  the United States and Canada. Our farthest distances traveled were from the state of Washington and Ontario, Canada. The main hall was decorated by the Du-Bol Winnies. They did an outstanding job of capturing the theme complete with island sand, palm trees, sun, lagoon, hammock, beach umbrella and pig roasting on a spit!

Thursday, March 11th at 11:00 am our Opening Ceremonies kicked off the event. Jack Caffrey from the Du-Bol Winnies was the Master of Ceremonies and gave a warm welcome to everyone in the crowd. Jack introduced the officers of the Winnie Gators, and special guests, Bob & Kathy Olson, (Bob is the CEO of Winnebago), Doug & Pat Formanek, (Doug is the WIT Club General Manager), Dick & Mikki Dodge, our Eastern Area Representatives. Other guests from Winnebago were introduced, Steve Hamme, Roger Neaman and Tom Pilgrim. Our charity representative, Alison Evans from Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch, and John Book from the Central Florida Fairgrounds were also introduced.

Nancy Miller, President, was introduced and welcomed the Florida Chapter Presidents as they paraded to applause from the crowd. The participating dealers were also introduced, Suncoast RV, LaMesa RV, Lazy Days RV and Harberson RV. At the conclusion of the ceremonies lunch was served and we were off and running to all the exciting events of the day!

Then the rains came – for 2 days – we were thinking of building arks! However, the weather didn’t dampen our spirits as we all donned rain gear, and just kept moving! The Friendship Walk as held with over 50 baskets donated by our members being given away for a small donation.

Thursday at 4:00pm we held our “Row Party At the Rally”. Each chapter donated snacks and various dishes set up on tables around the main hall and everyone was invited to meet and greet the chapters! Linda & Dan Tuzzolo built a Tiki Hut and served beverages along with their bartender volunteers. The South Florida Winnie Gators entertained us with a skit on stage advertising their games coming up on Saturday. With the tropical music playing and all most everyone dressed in tropical attire, it made for a fun afternoon. Later that evening Bingo was on the agenda and over 90 people participated for the chance to win!

Friday morning breakfast was served at 8:00am and the day began with many thing to do. Seminars, WIT store and vendors to shop, new coaches on display, something for everyone. The Pet Parade was held at 11:00am – what a great group of pets and owners dressed in all sorts of costumes! Friday afternoon the Ice Cream Social was a big hit among the crowd.

Dinner was served Friday evening at 5:30pm, followed by announcements and entertainment. “Rudy And the Tomcats” played 50’s & 60’s music which had us dancing in the aisles! Later in the evening door prizes and various awards were handed out.

Saturday morning again breakfast was served and we were lucky it FINALLY stopped raining! Games were on the schedule, and what great fun we all had taking our  turns at the skills involved! Lazy Days had a fishing tournament on the lake nearby, along with a casting contest. In the afternoon the Wine & Cheese Party was held – always a big hit at our rally!

The evening activities began with dinner, followed by announcements, and Installation of Officers for the next term: Nancy Miller, President; Joe & Ann Loudenslager, 1st Vice President; Ted & Janis Fumia, 2nd Vice President; Kathryn Griffin, Secretary; Jerry Miller, Treasurer. Thanks to Doug Formanek for doing the honors. Next up was our entertainment, a group of young ladies from age 5 – 18 called “Entertainment Revue”. They sang and danced their way through the program and just WOWED us with their talent! For 90 minutes they never stopped and received several standing ovations!

There was a play-off from the games that was decided on stage with The Olsons and Formaneks participating. It was a “Coconut Relay” with the Olson’s as the winners which earned them the “Pink Coconut Award”. You had to be there to see it! Words don’t do it justice!

The rest of the evening many door prizes were given away including our big charity prizes. This year we donated $2117 to Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch. A HUGE THANKS to all the generous crowd who made this donation possible.

Once again we welcomed Bob & Kathy Olson, Doug & Pat Formanek, Dick & Mikki Dodge to address the crowd with some closing comments. The rally was officially closed by President Nancy Miller.

Sunday morning dawned really early with Daylight Savings in effect. Breakfast was followed by Board of Directors and General Membership meetings. The theme for the Rally 2011 will be “Hillbilly Jamboree!” which was introduced by Suncoast Winnies earlier in the week, complete with costumes depicting the theme! The dates will be March 10 – 13, 2011, so save that time to be sure you join us!

THANK YOU to all the Florida State Winnie Gators and chapters who donated their time and talents! We could not have a successful rally without your help and support!

If you are going to GNR Please come by our row and say hello! We LOVE visitors!

Nancy Miller