TWO STATES – ONE CITY on the ROCK AND ROLL HIGHWAY

South Central Area Rally

Texarkana, Arkansas hosted the 44th South Central Area Rally, October 25-28 at their Four States Fairground. Texarkana is unique as it straddles the state lines of Texas and Arkansas. The courthouse stands in both states with a line down the center of the building.  It is the most photographed building in the U. S.   Its City Auditorium is on Rock and Roll Highway 67, and the town is proud of its beautiful Perot Theater and Scott Joplin murals.

This fall rally attracted 318 coaches, 48 exhibitors, 38 seminars, and 22 crafts sessions and the over 600 people enjoying all the events.  Among the first activities was the First Timers Gathering to welcome them and help them navigate the rally.

VOLUNTEERS APPRECIATED

Since this was the first time for individual volunteers, rather than chapter volunteers, all those working were treated to a Volunteer Burger, Dog and Brat Dinner to thank them for their hours contributed to make the rally a success.  A special treat was added this year by entertainer, Rusty Rierson, who sparked many smiles and some great dancing as he portrayed several vocalists, such as Johnny Cash and Roger Miller.  Volunteer Coordinator, Louise Guidry, was recognized for her tremendous effort in matching the over 160 volunteers with all the needed jobs.  In addition, all volunteers including Captains and Lieutenants for each area were recognized before evening entertainment.

LEARNING, SHOPPING AND SHARING

Exhibits opened with a crowd surge and 15 new coaches were open and ready for inspection and sales. Product specific seminars and informational seminars were offered the four days of the rally. You could learn about Workcamping, data security, technical repairs, fuel savings and products for all needs.  Craft Projects were presented by professional artists and enjoyable craft artisans.  Craft Captain Debra Heath   topped off the week with a great Craft Sale featuring jewelry, knives, art works, wreaths, models, and ornaments and a generous amount of door prizes.

EVENTS FOR ONE AND ALL

There was something to do every minute.  Prior to the opening of the rally, a Golf Scramble was held at the Texarkana Golf Ranch with a great competitive spirit. The Ice Cream Social was a treat.  As each one received a pint of vanilla ice cream and a spoon, a lot of smiles emerged.  The Chili Cook-Off was delicious as the generous tasters chose their favorites.   Bob Kooy and Rodger Donnelly emerged as the top choices.  The annual Quilt Display of donated quilts had a beautiful assortment of 300 quilts.  In addition, Chairman Cyndi Timchak taught a couple of new fleece lap quilting finishes and hosted the Quilt Social on Friday.  Thanks to all the participants that made these events fun.

CVS Pharmacy hosted a Wellness Check and Flu Immunization clinic for all interested participants for a second year.  The Ladies Luncheon featured Doug Anderson, Entertainer Magician, who was a humorous and magical showman. Gaye Young, FMCA National Secretary and her dancing friends, presented Line Dancing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to add to the fun.

The tour of nearby historic Washington State Park in Arkansas was an enjoyable ride back in time to the antebellum days.  Wonderful old homes and courthouses were filled with antiques.  Other collections featured guns and knives.  Whether you ate lunch in the tavern or took a surrey ride or dipped candles with the guides in period attire, it was an interesting journey.

The Coaches for Christ chapter provided morning devotions for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The Roamin’ Catholic chapter arranged for Mass and Rosary on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  FMCA Energized folks led late afternoon pet walks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

EXPANDING CHAPTERS

Each chapter was provided time to plan an early evening event on Thursday for their group because it’s always good to get together with your camping buddies and to encourage others to join you. In addition, Bingo was available for additional entertainment that evening.

It was a treat to see all the chapter members wearing their chapter colors for a special day of the rally.  The afternoon Chapter Fair was well attended and featured about 20 chapters seeking to recruit new members.  Chapters offered information and welcome packets for rallies.

HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS

D J Dennis Hunt of the Gateway Getaways chapter of Missouri hosted the Halloween Dance Party on Friday afternoon.  Originally scheduled for an outdoor pavilion, brisk breezes and temps swept the dancers indoors. The girls in their poodle skirts and all those in dancing shoes enjoyed a couple of hours of Rock and Roll, Country, the Electric Slide, and more.

Prior to the Dance, a Costume Parade was held in the Exhibit area.  Costumes from two-headed witches to clowns to skeletons and old timers were enjoyed.  Even some pets came decked out.  Among the Costume winners were Ken and Linda Johnson and their dog.  Additionally, several rigs were entered in the Rig Decoration Contest which featured pumpkins, witches, ghosts, spider webs, and skeletons.  Rig Decoration winners were Terry Burnett, Ken and Linda Johnson, and Diana Donnelly.  Thanks to all the participants who added a special touch to the rally fun!

ENTERTAINMENT EXCITEMENT

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday featured a variety of evening entertainers.  Willamae, a cute “country girl” with braids and freckles, treated all to a tribute to RVing with her down-home humor and crowd pleasing descriptions of our coaches and activities.  The Southwest Surfers, Arizona’s premier Beach Boys Tribute Band, presented wonderful harmony and instrumentation for all to enjoy on Friday.  Saturday’s Night Hawk Band brought out the most dancers with their wide range of music from Cajun, gospel, country, bluegrass, rock and original music.

The Frustrated Maestros presented the Canadian and U.S national anthems for the Opening Ceremony of Wednesday evening. JoAnn Baker led the Canadian anthem and Vinnie Holt led the U. S. anthem.  The Texarkana Fire Department Honor Guard presented the colors.  The musical chapter also presented different musical ensembles during breakfast each day, including polka, country and bluegrass.  The chapter also presented their salute to the military on Saturday during Breakfast to add to the Patriotic Day spirit.  Their practices were open to the public at the outdoor stage during each day.

GENEROSITY AND CARING FOR OTHERS

Several charitable organizations benefited from the groups’ willingness to share and help others.  The 300 quilts were divided among the Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock, the Fisher House, and the Veterans Home in Arkansas.  The Bingo event and the 50/50 Drawings generated funds for the Harvey Hurricane Relief Fund for SCA-FMCA members who suffered losses.  With personal donations and those from several chapters added to these events generating funds, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund generated $6,500 and has been donated to the 5 FMCA families in the South Central Area, who suffered major losses.  All the donations were greatly appreciated.

CONTINUED FMCA OFFICERS SUPPORT

FMCA President Jon Walker, Senior Vice President Rett Porter, and Secretary Gaye Young presented seminars on Member Benefits, FMCAssist, Secretary Forum, RViilage, and FMCA—an RVers Friend. In addition, Jerry Young presented a Presidents and National Directors Forum, and Glenda Milner presented FMCA University.  It is always a privilege to have the FMCA officers attend and keep the members updated, but they are just great folks to visit with, too.

CORPORATE SPONSOR SUPPORT

Thanks to the additional generosity of these corporations, the rally was able to expand its fun:  Crain RV Sales in Little Rock, River City Recreation World in North Little Rock, RV Fog Dr. in Searcy, AR, Choctaw Casino KOA in Durant, OK, The Home Depot in Texarkana, and FMCA RV Insurance.  Thank you o all the advertisers and exhibitors, too, for their making the rally a great event.

Door Prize Donors are also special contributors to the rally.  Many chapters, individuals and exhibitors provided an extra smile to members who saw their “F Number” displayed for a prize.

OFFICIAL BUSINESS

The Governing Board of the Six-State Rally Association met Saturday afternoon with 36 of the 42 chapters represented.  Business conducted included the approval of the use of individual volunteers for the next rally in Shawnee in 2018.  The Board elected five new officers to serve with South Central Area FMCA Vice President Joe Wright.  Those elected are Herman Mullins, Senior Vice President and Rally Master; L. B. Butts, Northern Vice President; Herman Alsup, Southern Vice President; Dianna Huff, Secretary; and Connie Pool, Treasurer.  Joe Wright recognized the service of the officers who completed their terms:  Treasurer Frank Taber, Secretary Connie Farrar and Northern Area Vice President Les Price.   The new Nominating Committee is Les Price, Charlie Adcock, Fred Kennedy, and Bobbie Mullins.

The 44th South Central Area Rally was filled with a busy schedule, but there was always time for an impromptu gathering around the coaches or to help another RVer with a “challenge” with their coach or to meet new friends and talk of travels and fun times.

NEXT RALLY

Mark your calendars for September 19-22, 2018 for the 45th South Central Area Rally which will be at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center in Shawnee, OK.  Plans are in the works for another event filled rally.

Photos of the event (by day) – click to follow links: