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GAO events coming up

Here’s what’s coming up during the next two weeks at the Golden Age Olympics:

On-site registration will not be accepted, and participants must register a week in advance prior to the event. In-person signups are held at the following sites:

Lark Community Center
2601 Lark Ave (956) 681-3340
Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Las Palmas Community Center
1921 N. 25th Street (956) 681-3350
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Palmview Community Center
3401 Jordan Road (956) 681-3360
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Online registration can be found at Mcallenparks.net.
Or by mail to: McAllen Parks and Recreation; ATTN GAO 2023; P.O. Box 220, McAllen, TX 78505.

Wednesday, Jan. 31
Movie Show
10 a.m.
McAllen Public Library

Thursday, Feb. 1
Contract Bridge
10 a.m.
Las Palmas Community Center
Bean Bag Toss Men
10 a.m.
Palm View Community Center

Friday, Feb. 2
Shuffleboard Doubles
9 a.m.
Casa Del Sol RV resort
Bean Bag Toss Women
10 a.m.
Palm View Community Center

Saturday, Feb. 3
Bake Off
Dessert Dropoff 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Judging 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.
Pickup 2 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Las Palmas Community Center
Bean Bag Toss Mixed
10 a.m.
Palm View Community Center

Monday Feb. 5
Shuffleboard Mixed Doubles
9 a.m.
Casa Del Sol RV Resort

Tuesday, Feb. 6
Bowling Team
1 p.m.
Flamingo Bowl

Wednesday, Feb. 7
Euchre
10 a.m.
Palmview Community Center

Thursday, Feb. 8
Poker Men and Women
10 a.m.
Palmview Community Center
Duplicate Bridge
10 a.m.
Las Palmas Community Center

Friday, Feb. 9
Shuffleboard Mixed Doubles
9 a.m.
Casa Del Sol RV Resort
Volleyball
1 p.m.
Lark Community Center

Saturday, Feb. 10
Volleyball
10 a.m.
Lark Community Center

Monday, Feb. 12
Shuffleboard Mixed Doubles
9 a.m.
Casa Del Sol RV Park

Still shufflin’ at 102

20240131 Venus Miller shuffleboard webAs Venus Hall and I walked over to some bleachers away from the competitors to sit for this interview, the native “Okie” just climbed up to the top row as if he was 40 years old, younger than me, more stable on his feet and the only shuffling coming when he’s shuffle boarding either at Snow to Sun Park or during the current Golden Age Olympics with his wife Betty.

As we took our seats, I sat one row below while he easily took a spot on the top row, the first thing I asked him was if the rumors were true that he was 102 years old.

“January 13, 1922,” he quickly replied.

From the Army, to living and working on a ranch “for a whole big $4 per day” to turning a crappie pole into a shuffleboard stick, Hall was as fascinating to talk to as it was to watch his wife Bettie play shuffleboard – winning a state championship twice and an international title once.

“Man, she’s just won about everything,” Venus said. The couple met in Missouri and Betty needed to wait six years before she could retire. After that, some friends invited them to come check out life as Winter Texans. They came to visit and are now going on their 26th year at Snow to Sun.

Read more: Still shufflin’ at 102

Mexico, Butterflies, and King Ranch

Go With Jo Monarch webI missed seeing you at the Winter Expo. There was some misunderstanding as I generally am there in person. However, this year I decided that I would rather do a personal presentation in the parks or at the club meetings of retirees or those who are ready to travel. So, if you are interested in a personal presentation, just give me a call. A few days have already been reserved, but I am sure we can find an open date for you.

I will be guiding some of the tours which I am really looking forward to. One of my favorites is the three-day trip to Monterrey with one already requested for the end of February. Another favorite is the Monarch Butterfly. If you are driving in the Rio Grande Valley during the month of October, you will probably recall how those beautiful little creatures smashed into your radiator and made a terrible mess. I am not sure how many of the butterflies die in that manner, but others die from pesticides and from people stepping on them as they hike the trails in Mexico.

Read more: Mexico, Butterflies, and King Ranch

Jammin’ at Bentsen Palm RV Park

20240131 Bentsen Palm Jam webThe owners, Billy and Willeta Borden, have created an inspirational ambiance to motivate 55+ musicians to provide memorable artistic experiences to the listeners who attend the weekly country-gospel jams on Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m. at Bentsen Palm recreation hall.

Both the activity director, Karla Laackmann and the office manager, Victoria, assist in getting volunteers to ensure that each jam is functioning effectively. One of these volunteers is Ed Ervin who manages the jam and arranges for the members of the stage band that supports each musician. Ed is on stage with his guitar and is accompanied by Pete Gibson who plays dobro guitar/lead guitar and Michael Kilmer at bass guitar.

Besides the stage band, this jam was blessed to have the following 15 jammers perform their country favorites: Rick (guitar) and Karen (mandolin) Anderson, Kathy Baehr, Vickie Ervin, Mark Fecho (banjo), Judy Goolsey, John Mosqueda, Tony Ozark, Gene (guitar) and Mary Scott, Ron Stacy (guitar), Dixie and Frank (guitar) Rinchiuso, Ted Weishar (guitar) and Marvin Willis (trumpet).

Read more: Jammin’ at Bentsen Palm RV Park

January 31, 2024 - Rina's Ramblings

Valley Star Awards is creeping up fast and the votes are coming in. It’s exciting to see the Wintertainers™ sharing their names, calendars, and vote for me posts. We can tell these people that come to entertain you are loved and they love what they are doing.

This week we will start featuring the entertainers that will be performing at the show this year. We are excited to see everyone and know that we will have a great show for you. We are always thrilled to see it in action on the day of the show. We never know how it is truly going to be received until we are right there in the thick of it all.

Continue to vote and buy tickets if you haven’t already. It’s a great way to see six top entertainers in the Valley – all in one place.

Alamo police and fire departments caught speeding at raceway

RC Car Article 3 webStory and Photos by Linda Sauer

Alamo City Police and Fire Departments weren’t chasing speeding and wrecked vehicles recently; they were chasing and wrecking each other at a radio-controlled racetrack in Alamo.

Winter Gardens Raceway in Winter Ranch RV Resort was blessed with sunny skies and warm balmy breezes on Saturday, January 13 as Raceway club members again hosted the Alamo City Police and Fire Departments in a competition with radio-controlled cars. Race cars were provided courtesy of New Sun Racing and several Raceway club members. Adding a unique touch to the day’s races were two custom trucks; one a red truck with Alamo Fire Department decals; the other a blue truck with Alamo Police Department decals.

Read more: Alamo police and fire departments caught speeding at raceway

Jammin’ at Alamo’s Roadrunner RV Park

20240124 Roadrunner Jam 2 webMusicians and listeners should not miss the inspirational country-gospel music available every Tuesday (November through March) from 1 to 3 p.m. at Roadrunner RV Park’s clubhouse, your home away from home since 1960, located at 1222 N. Cesar Chavez Rd. The park is named after the cartoon character, the ‘roadrunner’ which is a Warner Bros. 1949 creation of a fast ground running ‘bird.’

The welcoming starts immediately as you enter with a warm greeting from Connie Dziuh (50/50), followed by greetings by Sherry Hogan of the activity committee and Monika Shaw who served participants lunch. In addition, each jammer is introduced on stage by the announcer Carlene Chebuhar who coordinates the jammers with George Epley, the manager of the stage band.

The stage band is composed of the following volunteers: George Epley, stage band manager, lead guitarist, mandolin player and vocalist; Rodney Crouse, bass guitarist and vocalist; Tom Rivers, lead guitarist and vocalist; Bunnie Sigrist, rhythm guitarist and vocalist; and Wayne Teeple, fiddle, guitar, and vocalist.

20240124 Roadrunner Jam 3 webThe 19 country-gospel jammers who performed were Connie Benedict, John and Judy Campbell, Carlene Chebuhar, Linda Crouse, Richard Daniel, Joyce Fratt, Verna Funk, Tom Masha, Gail Miles, Elaine Nelson, Tony Ozark, Shire Pfeiffer, Deral Rogers, Larry Sisk, Dave Swanson, Bettey Thomas, Bo, and Ralph.
Two musicians were standouts – George Epley and Bunnie Sigrist.

George Epley, who lives full time in Pharr, is the manager of the Roadrunner stage band and also performs weekly at the Heritage Square jam in Mission. Twice per month, he is at the Brook Ridge Retirement Community in Pharr.

George started his music career at age 12 learning to play the left-handed guitar and mandolin by ear without any lessons. He is a great vocalist learning many songs by listening to the Grand Ole Opry. He was also inspired to pursue music from his father who played the old-time fiddle. Because of his love for music, George has inspired his son and grandson to pursue music.

In the RGV, he has performed with the Bob Droze Band; Louie Long and Texas Three band, that played at senior parks; Terry Smith, a popular songwriter and vocalist from Nashville; and his own four-piece band for shows at senior parks. Back in his hometown of Wichita, George had his own band performing for shows and at the VFW dances. He has also performed on radio and produced several CDs.

20240124 Roadrunner Jam 4 webBunnie Sigrist performs with her guitar and voice and currently lives full time in Alamo. She was motivated to study music by her Sunday school teacher taking piano lessons starting at the age of 10. She performed in school bands, choirs, and a girls glee club.

Later in life, she was motivated by her children and grandchildren to continue to pursue music. She has performed with Don Barnard, George Epley, Ron Ford, Louie Jett, Red Johnson, Jim King, and Coleman Smith. Bunnie plays at several jams, including Countryside MH and RV Park, Siesta Village, and Trails End as well.

Because of her pursuit of music, she has inspired her oldest son and grandson to study music.

Bunnie also volunteers and shares her musical talents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Her philosophy is “Musicians are family. We pray for each other and take care of each other.”

Volunteering, travel, warmer days ahead

I read each publication of the Winter Texan Times from cover to cover and vicariously join all the parks in their activities. And do you ever stay active. Not only do you have so many fun things, but you somehow find the time to contribute to our communities by volunteering. I especially liked the headlines of one of the stories – “It’s better to give than receive.”

And how true that is. Just this past Wednesday I reported for my first tutoring session with the Boys & Girls Club at Bonita Park in Harlingen.

The girl who was assigned to me was the younger sister of the teenager that I helped with her Christmas shopping. They young lady even came over to tell me hello. What a sweetheart! And so when I left the hour long tutoring session, I felt happy. I felt fulfilled. And yes, it is better to give than receive.

If you have not volunteered, why not look around you – someone out there needs your help. It may be just changing a ceiling light bulb – not everyone can still climb on a ladder. It may be with sharing a recipe or taking a shut in or an ill friend a hot soup for lunch. Or it could be a child who needs an extra attention and help with reading or math.

For those of you who are ready to travel, please continue to be patient. My e-mails into Mexico and overseas are often misdirected – both incoming and outgoing. Consequently, I do not have my hotel nor transportation costs in place. It is taking longer than usual, but hopefully the situation will improve. My local tech support person has spent almost two full days here working on my computer. We think we have the problem corrected. Just please be patient while we work through this problem.

In the meantime, stay warm. Although our winters seem colder than usual, remember those cold snaps generally don’t stay around too long and soon the days will be more pleasant and we can all be out and about again… the beach is waiting, the golf clubs and fishing poles have been neglected. Soon it will be time to enjoy our Rio Grande Valley again.

Have Fun!

Bringing football to the 500 table

1T4A8023 webThe colorful jackets displayed the loyalty of NFL fans across the country during the city of McAllen’s Golden Age Olympics cards tournament at the Palmview Community Center recently.

The annual Olympics is a multi-week event with several competitions – from bird watching, to cards to pickleball, shuffleboard and more. While Winter Texans and their parks comprise most of the competitors, residents from across the Valley who meet the criteria can also participate.

500 or Five Hundred is a trick-taking game developed in the United States from Euchre, another card tournament that will take place in February. Most games are played with four players – two against two.

Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills fans, among others wore their team colors proudly. Ironically missing was any Dallas Cowboys garb, maybe because by this time they were also missing from the playoffs – eliminated by the “Pack.”

Read more: Bringing football to the 500 table

Helping Hands Quilting Group plans quilt show

20240124 Alamo Rec Veh Quilt Show webThe Helping Hands Quilting Group of Alamo Rec. Veh. Park presents their 23rd Annual Quilt and Hobby show “When Life Give You Scraps, Make a Quilt.”
The event will be held on Thursday, February 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be door prizes, raffle baskets, demonstrations, and fabric vendors.

A quilt was sewn by Helping Hands members Arlene Fuller and Coral Cox for a door prize. A donation of $2 is asked for admission. All proceeds benefit the Helping Hands Quilting Group.

Alamo Rec Veh Park is located at 1320 W. Frontage Rd., in Alamo.

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