July−The WIT Club 2017 Grand National Rally officially started on July 18 with opening ceremonies in the amphitheater. But like all Ozark Winnies meetings, the unofficial start was about a week earlier. There were just under 1,000 units attending the rally, with thirty-eight units associated with MO. Sixteen Ozark Winnies found their way to northern IA for the rally. Attending were: Anderson, DuBrock, Eaheart, Kelling, Leeper, Mahaffey, Marlow, Mastis, Murphy, Parsons, Spene, Taylor, Van Meter, and Wollin. And while at the rally, joining the Ozark Winnies were George and Mary Biller, recently of CO and now homeless, and Fred and Jackie Vinci. Welcome to the Ozark Winnies and Winnie-MO Tascas. We are so glad you chose to join us.
Several area restaurants were the beneficiary of the early arrivals. On Friday evening, the Murphys prepared goulash and the Days prepared a salad for the group's enjoyment. The annual Puckerbrush Parade was held on Saturday.
Several attended the parade, collected candy and sponges, and took advantage of the various food venues and the free root beer floats at Bill's Foods. Most attendees were on the rally grounds in time for the first official MO row function—pizza party held on Sunday evening. There were approximately 50 hungry mouths enjoying Shooterz pizza provided by the Winnie-MO-Tascas State Club.
On Monday evening, the 2018 motorhomes were opened for viewing and the MO row enjoyed an ice cream social provided by Winnie-MO-Tascas. There were approximately 40 attendees enjoying the ice cream and just about every topping imaginable.
The Grand National Rally officially started on Tuesday morning with opening ceremonies. On Tuesday evening, the weather forced a cancellation of the parade and moving the Elvis Tribute Artist from the amphitheater to the entertainment tent.
Those who didn't attend missed a great show. In addition to Elvis, a big attraction was watching the bulge in the top of the tent and wondering if a flash flood was imminent.
Wednesday morning found 40 plus hungry individuals at the head of the MO row for the annual MO row breakfast. This activity has become one of the more popular GNR activities for the MO row.
Earl Orr was unable to bring his cart and was planning on carrying his "float" in the parade, but the weather had different plans…maybe next year. Once again our Ozark Winnies/Gateway Winnies angels, Rocky and Vicki, made sure Earl was able to enjoy another rally.
The weather cooperated with rally plans on Thursday and the row parties were a huge success. MO served pulled pork sliders. Six hundred sandwiches were served in a little over an hour. Thanks to everyone who helped with the planning, preparation, and serving. The head of row decorations were a big hit. There were many partiers who had their picture taken at the "Weddings by Winnebago" chapel with Elvis. We even had our own real live Elvis and "Show Me" show girl. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in every aspect of the decorations. Many ''looks great" comments were heard.
Several items were raffled off. The electric bike donated by Tucson Camping World was won by someone from NE and added $171 to the state funds. The 50/50 drawing was won by Marie Wollin and made $69. The wooden vase donated by John Moll was won by Marie Wollin and generated $44. A 3-D painting donated by Vickie Mastis was won by CJ Hazer and generated $71. The painting was great without 3D glasses, but really "popped" when viewed with the glasses. Thank you, thank you, to all who donated items for the raffle.
On Friday, the rain once again dampened activities. Several of the seminar tents were still not usable, so some had to modify seminar and other activity plans. Due to the weather the evening's entertainment, the very talented Dutton Family from Branson was moved from the amphitheater to the entertainment tent.
The week was filled with seminars and entertainment. Many MO attendees volunteered their time to help make GNR a pleasant experience for all, serving in various capacities: people mover, traffic control, and Friendship Hall venues. If you have never done it or haven't for a while, think about volunteering next year.
Some attendees left on Friday to get ahead of the traffic. Others attended the closing ceremonies and volunteer brunch before departing. Eleven Ozark Winnies left the rally grounds on Saturday morning for a long caravan to destinations in WI, MI, and IN.
By Terry Parsons