IBMWR:past events - stories& photos

1999 Blitz to Branson

Branson, Missouri -  April, 1999


Some people said they came because of the personalized engraved invitations. Some people said it was for Sherryl's brownies. But whatever the reason, 127 people showed up at the Branson Towers for some of the best weather we've ever had! And with all his practicing, Jim Hair had the lunch route just about perfect. Probably the only disappointment of the weekend was that there were no big mechanical problems for Paul to fix. Just Greg Pink's horns - one full of water and one full of sand - which Greg discovered himself in desperation.

When Internet Riders decide to have fun, there's no stopping them. When on Sunday morning Jim seemed to hesitate about scheduling another for next year, I reminded him that by now the Blitz would probably happen even if he or I weren't there. It belongs to the Presidents. And it's so easy to find, located just off the RED route in Branson, Missouri, USA. It has a wonderful life of its own now and most everyone who comes talks of the next time.

And with good reason. The Towers staff did everything they could to make us feel we were their most important customers ever. The normally $120 rooms were on special for us at $39.95. Whereas in the past we've parked correctly all around the building in the marked spaces, this time we just parked where the staff told us - all over the whole front entryway. It seemed like home. Only the tour bus drivers seemed to mind as they picked up their wary charges from our midst. We had a large gathering room mostly to ourselves - except during the early morning when they spread a fantastic continental breakfast for all their guests. Juice, bagels, donuts and rolls to die for, cereal, and toast were all freshly laid each day. And all day and all night we had FREE coffee freshly brewed. And an ice cream social in the foyer each evening. And the Saturday night meal was an all your can eat Seafood buffet - with crab legs - and for a small additional fee - lobster! Chuck Lanczkowski was reported to have eaten 13! I wasn't counting. Without Jan and Dave I might have eaten myself to death too. Heaven!  And all the while, door prizes given by Presidents Hank Pfister, Greg Ostwinke, Pat Burch and Dick Wildauer, Steve Aikens, Bob Straubinger, Walker Powell, and others - and bunches more from Engle's BMW of Kansas City were quickly dispatched to their new owners by Herb and Wilma Stark. And did I mention the hot tub entertainment ? ? ?

After dinner we retreated to the front lawn for the ceremonial presidential banner shoot - photographically speaking that is - and for verification for Gately that more Presidents now have another Rat site to their credit. After several cameras captured the event a voice was heard saying, "When they all get finished, everybody keep their places. We need to write down your names." Uuhhh!!

The Virgin Branson Band are now award winning - and after multiple practices performed to a huge and enthusiastic crowd. Lee Freedman was so concerned about the large amount of money collected by him in his suspenders and the tax implications thereof so close to April 15th that he donated it for the next Blitz. They can now all add to their resumes that they've performed before a full house in Branson.

President Clay Hirner, noting that a souvenir for the myriad attendees was missing quietly, and with no fanfare, printed up reflective decals identifying the Blitz to Branson '99 - more than enough for everyone. The Bunny, Robert Munday, kept everyone floating on a sugar high when he wasn't entertaining them with his multiple wascally wabbits, ably assisted by Bunny Cissie. Oh, those luscious Cadbury creme eggs. UPS can be trusted when put to the test.

On to the awards. Because of the unique and high quality of the awards, no one was allowed to win more than one, and each selection was a presidential decision following the presentation of evidence. I could write a whole other volume to tell those tales but ultimately these fine Presidents rose to accept the following awards:

Most Protected Rider - Milo Wieberg

Highest Tech Bike - Mike Cornett

Highest Odometer - Tony Black - 236,000+ miles

Oldest BMW - Mrs. Sue Diaz '71 R75/5

Most Colorful Rider - Robert Munday , Mr. Bunny

Oldest Rider - R. C. Sumner - age 70

Lowest Odometer - Tom Moody - 700 miles

Youngest Rider - Derek Bland - age 19

Largest Instrument - Chuck Lancskowski

Most Musical - Larry Snyder

Long Distance Two Up - Gene and Joyce Ribas - North Carolina

Long Distance Lady Rider - Jan Hainbach

Long Distance Gentleman Rider WEST Bob Straubinger Mesa,AZ

Long Distance Gentleman Rider EAST Larry Miller Wallingford, VT

Hard Luck - The Woman - for having to ride with Steve in acar

BMW MOA Contest Leader for Day 1 Karol Patzer 692 miles

Webmeister - Steve Aikens

And a special award to "Cruiser" Bob McCarthy for his hard won 1000 in 1

We were honored to have Karol Patzer come all the way from Minnesota to pick up our entry forms for the MOA Mileage Contest on this starting day. And Sandy Cohen, our own Editor and Barb Zingre, our Association Manager, took time from working for us to play with us too. It was fun to bend their ears.

And did I tell you about the roads? They're just as twisted as ever, and the lack of police protection continued from all I've heard. If I missed reporting anything it was just cause I was out riding the roads all I could. I'm still sMiling.

Very early Sunday morning Secret Presidential handshakes were shared all around and it was time to head for home again. Sure was good of Jim Hair to think maybe a little gathering in Branson would be a good idea. See you at the 5th annual Secret Blitz April 8th, 2000.


sMiling and MILING

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