By Herb Moering
Those staying at Trophy Gardens RV Resort celebrated Texas independence by sweeping all the trophies in the Winter Texan Division at the Alamo parade on Saturday, Feb. 29.
In addition to garnering the top trophy overall in the 2020 Texas Independence Day parade by offering entries for the theme “Decades” from the 1920s to the 1990s, the Alamo resort’s “Happy Days Are Here to Stay” entry featuring costumed Ken and Linda Svenby and Glyn and Lynn Massingill took a 1st place. They were followed by “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine” with shipmates Beverly, Nathalie and Walter the dog for 2nd place. The Trophy Gardens’ award-winning line dancers claimed the 3rd place trophy.
Prior to the trophy presentations by the parade sponsors, the Alamo Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, the line dancers were asked for an encore performance on stage much to the delight of the audience gathered in City Park.
In the youth division, the 1st place trophy went to Sgt. Fernando De La Rosa Library entry with Pink Ladies and kids enjoying the rock ‘n roll theme. The commercial division was the Alamo Tae-Kwon-Do studio, featuring students showing off special moves. And among organizations, the “Friends of the Alamo Museum” took the 1st place trophy with a portrayal of Davy Crockett, who had a part in Texas gaining freedom, and Calamity Jane, another historic figure.
Trophy Gardens also had a king and queen riding in a convertible. The king was Ron Sterler, who comes from Iowa and has been staying at the resort for 15 years. The selected queen was Bonnie Christian, originally from Iowa, who with her late husband, Gene, were the first managers at the resort back in 1984.
Helping to make it all happen for Trophy Gardens was Richard Gambaiani and five other fellows, who worked right up into the night before the parade on entries. Gambaiani, watching at the end of the parade, said the resort residents “put a lot of effort into the parade.”
He and his wife Janet, who is one of the line dancers, come from Iowa where they farmed. That might be one reason, coming from a rural town, that he likes to support smaller towns. “I enjoy small towns where there are friendly people.”
Winter Ranch RV Resort’s entry focused on the activities that are available. Jeanne Jentzen, who lives in Iowa and Janette Witt, from Nebraska, carried pickleball rackets for a relatively new sport that has become popular in the Valley. Jentzen has been at the resort in Alamo for five years and was attracted to it by the people, the beauty, the pool and miniature car racetracks. Witt, in her first year at the resort, noted meeting lots of people in the park. She golfs just about every day on the resort’s 9-hole par three course. “I like pickleball too and walking,” she said. “I just like being outside.”
Spectators on the parade route, Bill and Jean Snyder and their friends Joe and Sandy Boell, also stay at Winter Ranch. The Snyders have been there for nine years, with the Boells joining them two years ago. Sandy Boell said they expect to remain at the resort, having recently purchased a park model home. She said, “we enjoy the beautiful weather.” That was similar to Jean Snyder’s comment about liking the weather. She added, “It’s friends too and Alamo is so central to everything.”
Alamo Mayor Diana Martinez took a moment during the concluding ceremonies to thank the Winter Texans for all they contribute to the community and the Chamber of Commerce officials, such as the organization’s president, Gloria Espinosa, for coordinating the parade that observes Texas declaring independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. The parade in Alamo has been a long tradition, going back more than 30 years.