January outing

pictures by Nancy Miller


January 20 – 22, 2012  The Florida State Winnie Gators held the first Friendship Rally for the club at the Central Florida Fairgrounds located in Orlando, FL.  59 coaches participated in the event, with 42 coaches coming in early to enjoy the company of their chapter members and other friends! The weekend theme was “Sports Center”, with many activities involving different sports! It was a nice, warm, sunny weekend for mid-January, and a great opportunity to share in many chapter challenges! We all love competitions, and this weekend was all about friendly competition!


Happy Hour on the early day, Thursday, at 4:00pm brought everyone to the building to share in food and beverages. The chapters were squared off by sections and it was great to see so many smiling faces and guests all enjoying this time together. Most everyone left for dinner at local restaurants, then returned to the building for games and cards.


Friday morning the Executive Meeting took place as the officers discussed plans for the upcoming March Rally.  After lunch, the Board of Directors meeting was brought to order by President Jerry  Miller. Topics for discussion were the Tailgate Party sponsored by Lazy Days RV February 24 – 26, the March Rally details, the financial reports read by Treasurer Walter Feldgoise, and this July Grand National Rally. Everyone was encouraged to make reservations and attend these exciting events! Nancy Miller reported on the rally vendors and seminars as Corinne Wightman, Vendor Coordinator wasn’t able to attend this meeting. The cookbook project is in the final stages of production. Nancy thanked everyone who donated recipes and each goody bag given away at the rally will contain a free cookbook. After the meeting, Jerry & Nancy met with some of the chapters to discuss their rally duties. All the chapters have done a great job in the past and this year will be another good one!


At 4:00pm Happy Hour began with the Winnie Gators “Posse” led by Mike Sofarelli and Frank Cipolla selling tickets for a money raffle! 3 prizes were drawn with Janis Fumia, Bonnie Milligan and guest Joan Regal taking home the money prizes! THANKS to everyone for their generosity! Dinner was served by our catering group, Rainbow Caterers, they did a great job with the Sloppy Joes and all the side dishes. After dinner Nancy recruited “scoopers” to serve ice cream! The line was all around the room – everyone got their choice of ice cream and toppings! THANKS to all the 8 volunteer “scoopers”!


Prizes were given to the chapters based on attendance. Each chapter was judged on the percentage of their members attending and in First Place was Mid - Florida, 37%, Buccaneer Winnies, 27%, and Suncoast Winnies, 25%. Additional prizes were given to Caloosa Winnies and Mid-Florida for a tie of total members in attendance!


  At 7:00pm it was time for the Chapter Challenge Baseball and Bat Relay Game. Chapter teams lined up on 2 sides of the room as teams had to race across the floor with a baseball bat between their legs which had to be passed off, without using hands, to their team mate while holding a baseball in each hand. It was a timed race which was won by the first team to complete 16 trips back and forth! This game brought lots of laughing and cheering! The team that won was Florida Sunshine Winnies! They received boxes of Cracker Jacks as their prizes! THANKS to everyone who participated and for their good sportsmanship!


Saturday morning Rainbow served a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage gravy & biscuits, and fruit. At 10:00am the General Business Meeting was called to order by President Jerry Miller.

Jerry welcomed the many visitors both Winnebago owners and guests with S.O.B.’s. Walter Feldgoise read the financial report and confirmed our club is in a good position. Nancy Miller presented the 2012 Slate of Officers nominations, Jerry Miller, President; Ted & Janis Fumia, 1st VP, Cliff & Ree Spiller, 2nd VP; Christine & Bob Ross, Secretary; Walter & Belinda Feldgoise, Treasurer. There were no nominations from the floor. A motion was made and seconded to accept the slate as read and have the Secretary cast one unanimous vote to a elect the officers. Installation will take place during the March Rally.


Jerry made several announcements about the rally details including the theme, “Realm of Winnebago”, a renaissance faire! Decorations and costumes are underway and this will be a really visual event! Highlights include the usual events, plus seminars conducted by Tom Pilgrim from Forest City, coach driving classes by Lazy Days, garage sale tables, craft classes, day night shade restringing demonstration, great food, entertainment, and even some surprises!


The afternoon many members spent some time visiting the Vietnamese New Year’s Celebration which was taking place in the main building. It was a huge event with food booths, parades, dragons, fireworks, and beautiful costumes.


Saturday Happy Hour got off to a good start with a prize raffle. The table was filled with items one could win if the right ticket was drawn. Our “Raffle Babes” were not able to attend, so we called on our “Raffle Bums”, Butch Crosby and Harley Mays!! They did a great job selling a bunch of tickets while Dan Tuzzolo and Joe Sholtes tended the bar giving out free wine & beer! It was a lively time and the lucky winners went away with some great prizes! Dinner was served by Rainbow, Chicken in gravy and all the trimmings!


The Chapter Challenge Game of “Fanta-Zany Football” proved to be a hilarious time! Each of the 11 chapters represented for the weekend lined up at a grid taped on the floor. Dice were thrown and players advanced a square based on the dice number. Onlookers got into the action as cheerleaders for their team! There was much laughing and cheering and even drum banging to encourage the team members! Scores were tallied and the winners of each round got to play in the “Super Bowl Championship”. The winner was Paula Geng from the Funtimers! Her team joined in the celebration as they accepted their winning ribbons!  Again, it was a fun time and good sportsmanship once again prevailed!


Sunday morning we gathered for donuts, bagels, and coffee before we had to say our goodbyes. THANKS to everyone who attended the weekend – we look forward to seeing you all at the March Rally, March 15 – 18 at the same Central Florida Fairgrounds. Check our website for details on all our chapters and events:  www.winniegators.org. or Who’s Inviting Travelers in the WIT magazine. Plan to join us – we love visitors!


Nancy Miller