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Missouri: Ozark Winnies

December 14, 2017

November−Wow!! Did we have a crowd at the Ozark Winnies November meeting in Branson, MO Nov. 3-5. We extended an invitation to the other MO chapters to join us and the Little Egypt Chapter of IL for this meeting. The annual event held at Treasure Lake RV Resort had thirty-six units represented. This meeting could have been called a state club meeting. We had twenty-one units from the Ozark Winnies, ten from the Gateway Winnies, two from the Chief Winnies and joining us for the third time in as many years, the IL Little Egypt Chapter. A couple of units were with us for just a few days at the start of the week. One left us to join the Winnebago Outdoor Adventures Branson Country Christmas. Another had an artist outing to attend; rejoining the group later in the week. A couple of the members that live in Branson didn't camp with us, but joined us for activities.

On Saturday, we were joined by Todd and Susanne Johnson, new WIT Club members, and their grandson, Chris. They joined us for our Saturday and Sunday activities. They were apparently not intimidated by this bunch because they became new Ozark Winnie members. Welcome to our fun loving group. The final count for the weekend was thirty-seven units—twenty-two being Ozark Winnies. What a turnout!

Again this year, Rocky and Vickie organized a group gathering at Donnie's Diner for their Monday catfish special. Fourteen made the trip to Branson West for lunch.

The first official activity was the Halloween party on Oct. 30. The party was held in what is now known as the Cottril Building. In past years, this was the screened room and we had to enclose the building with plastic sheeting to keep out the cold and keep in the heat. Thanks to the insight of the Treasure Lake manager and board of directors, the building was completely remodeled and enclosed this past year. There were thirty-seven attending the party. Thanks to decorating coordinated by Marva Van Meter, the facility was a spooky place.

Games included toilet paper roll on a plunger transfer, mummy wrap, and Lifesaver on a stick transfer. We had a full house and the decorations, activities, and snack foods made for a fun-filled evening with lots of laughs. David Murphy gave a short presentation on the signs of strokes that we should be aware of.

During the weekend before Halloween night, the annual Haunted Trail created by the Treasure Lake staff and volunteers was available to experience. Since most of this group doesn't like cold weather, the participation may have been limited. This is unconfirmed, but there were reports of several of our group going from motorhome to motorhome trick-or-treating. The really scary part is that none of them needed masks or costumes. And the broom riding competition ended in a 36-way tie. Wow!!

On Wednesday, thirty-seven of the group attended the Haygood's Christmas Show. 2017 was the 25th anniversary of the Haygoods performing in Branson and each couple attending the show received a book chronicling the Haygood's history.

On Wednesday evening, the second unscheduled group activity was held in the Cottril Building—a tri-tip/covered dish feast was added. Forty-eight attended this last-minute addition. Everyone brought a covered dish and pitched in $5 per couple for the cost of the tri-tips. Twenty-one pounds of tri-tips were cooked by Bob Wollin. Once again, the Cottril Building was at capacity and the meal was delicious. The amount of tri-tips left over could have been a starvation diet for a gnat. In other words, it was ALL gone. Great job, Bob.

The next scheduled activity, a chili dump, was held on Thursday. The Ozark Winnies provided the chili, a gigantic decorated cake was provided by the Gateway Winnies, Little Egypt provided crackers and other toppings, and Rocky provided hot dogs and buns. The idea of taking numerous batches of chili and dumping them all together doesn't sound like a good idea, but the result is surprisingly delicious. There were also several varieties of soups and stews available for those unable to eat chili. And just like every other eating event this chapter is involved with, there was enough food to have invited the entire RV park. A big Thank You to all who provided the chilies, hot dogs, toppings, etc. And also to all who helped set up the tables and chairs, return the clubhouse to its original configuration, and cleanup after the meal. Everyone pitched in to make this a very enjoyable event.

Late Friday morning, those who didn't get enough chili on Thursday, met at the Mahaffey campsite to feast on leftovers. Then it was on to a full day of shows. On Friday afternoon, a total of forty-three attended the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, thirty-nine as part of the group plus comp and prize ticket holders Kelling and Stone. This show, which is a true family affair, included a cast of four of the five brothers which, over the years, has grown to involve the entire family—a stage full of performers and a great show. After the show, twenty-two of the group ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday.

Friday evening thirty-seven attended another family show, SIX. This show's cast is six brothers who provide their own accompaniment with their voices. A very unique entertainment experience.

On Saturday morning, three joined Joy at the Lodge to have their fingernails done. Now they have an excuse for not washing the dishes or cleaning the house, "Oh, I don't want to ruin my nails."

On Saturday evening at the Lodge, sixty-five enjoyed a catered meal provided by the staff and volunteers of Treasure Lake. Once again, thanks to the decorating prowess of Marva Van Meter, the Lodge looked great. The Vincis distributed Winnebago memorabilia they had collected while working there.

After dinner, President Joy conducted the monthly business meeting. After the business meeting, Carlon Huff entertained us with some song and dance and reflections of the 2017 caravan.

Sunday morning found fifty-one individuals once again gathered at the lodge for another catered meal. After breakfast, Chaplain Stone presented a short devotional.

The Ozark Winnies Executive Committee offers thanks to everyone for their generosity. We presented the catering staff with a tip of $234. Thank you, again.

By Terry Parsons