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10 Years ago – November 2002

Toys for Tots Rally

Date: Sunday, November 17, 2002
Time: 8:30 AM
Place: GA Welcome Center
Members Attending: Brian Bogardus, Donna Bogardus, Tony Cappucci, Karl Johnson, Lisa Rushton and Scott Rushton.
Guests Attending: Ellen Lord.

There were only 2 cars besides ours at the GA Welcome Center, Tony Cappucci and Karl Johnson. Tony wasn’t making the trip, his wife was home sick, so he was going to go back home and play nurse. I talked Tony into going with us as far as Thompson, GA about 30 miles down the road on the way to our destination, where we met up with the Rushtons.

After a brief stay to pick up coffee or breakfast items our 3 car caravan headed west. We let Scott lead as he professed an intimate knowledge of the route because of past experience. He did a very fine job, we only questioned his leading ability twice. The first was not too far outside of Warrenton, when both Karl and I had to swerve to dodge a chrome exhaust tip as it separated itself from the muffler of Scott’s car and bounced down the road. The second came as we got an impromptu tour of the warehouse district of Macon, because of a missed turn.

The poker run was scheduled to start at 1:00 PM. After the lethargic service at our Pizza Hut lunch, we arrived about 10 minutes after the official start. Our 3 cars were all but the last to sign up. The MidGA folks had arranged for quite a bit of media attention for their little party. One of the Macon TV stations had sent a camera man down to shoot some footage (I wonder if we made the news?) They also had a photographer and reporter from the Macon newspaper, the Telegraph. When Karl was signing up, he asked if he was going to need a navigator to help follow the directions, not really, but as it turned out, the reporter, Ellen Lord, was looking for an empty seat to join in the fun. Karl volunteered to let her ride along, so I’m sure we’ll get in the paper.

When we left the Augusta area, we all said we would put the tops down for the Poker Run, figuring it would be much warmer in the afternoon. As we stood in the chilly wind at registration we all looked at one another and went, “Nah, let’s keep the tops up.” We wanted to do the run together, but no one really wanted to lead, because that would mean they would then have to read the directions. Brian & Donna said they would do the first stretch, but we would swap the lead at each card stop. The loop for the run was about 60 miles and nicely laid out. Going against every other set of written directions for these types of events we’ve ever done before, these were easy to follow. So much so that the Bogardi agreed to lead the whole thing.

It never made it out of the 40’s and with the stiff wind we kept the tops up for almost all of the drive. After picking our last card we made a potty stop at a McDonalds just down the street. When we realized that we only had a short distance to go, we put our tops down to trick the crowds at the finish into thinking we did the whole drive that way. We let them stare and point a bit before we admitted we just put them down a couple miles back up the road.

They had prizes for the top 6 hands, cash for the top three and nice items for the others. Donna and Brian ended up with the 4th place hand, a pair of 9s and a pair of 5s. They traded their prize, a turkey frying kit that wouldn’t have fit into the trunk, nor did they want, for a gift certificate to the Atlanta Bread Company from the people standing next to them. Everyone who did the run cleaned up on door prizes, they only had 22 total entries and fewer cars, but had prizes for like 50. Next year I hope they have better weather, probably get a much bigger turn out.

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