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By: Ed & Linda Johnson 
International Directors, Membership Enhancement Program   

Wing Ding Recap from the "F"UN Region

We read many articles and many are worth repeating. Below is the Newsletter article from the Region "F" un Directors in their own words about their adventures and take on Wing Ding 34. We thank Anita and JR for the super job they did on the Newsletter article.  

"Recruit a NEW Member"

Anita and 
JR Alkire 

Region F Directors

Wing Ding 34 is in the books as an adventure, family reunion, celebration, and probably a budget buster if you spent time with the vendors! As always, when the suitcases get unpacked you come back to a common thought...how much you enjoyed seeing all your friends. Some of you wish you live closer to so you could see them more often and go riding with them, but you know that you'll see them again next year for more FUN. 

We started our travels with a jet ride. A very early wake up qand we were off to the airport to head to Chicago where we would meet with Region I Directors, Mike and Peggy Hudnell, and visit with Garry and Kerry Woo as they headed to their flight and we headed to ours. Well that was the plan. As we were descending into Chicago, the pilot came on to say that a storm had just gone through but we were fine for landing. That's good as we only have an hour layover. I finished that thought and the pilot came on and said that Chicago had just closed and we were going to go to Rockfort, IL as we did not have enough fuel to hold. As we landed in Rockfort, I looked out the window to see 3 UPS jets and a couple private planes but not much else! We taxied and stopped and then were told this airport had no facilities so we would refuel and once cleared, we would head for Chicago. We could turn on cell phones and the text messages started! Mike had landed and wanted to know where we were? Garry and Kerry had been diverted to Indianapolis and were sitting in their jet. Mike said he'd see us in Indianapolis (our destination) and wait for us there....well not so fast, that jet is delayed....no, canceled. After about 2½ hours we were ready for takeoff and headed to Chicago. Garry and Kerry were headed that way as well. We landed and turned on the phone to a text, Garry and Kerry had landed, I texted "us too." They indicated they were at gate H12, oh, we're at H8 and they text, "where?" See that big silver jet outside the window, lol. We met in the terminal and headed to baggage claim and to meet Mike and Peggy. When we got down there we also met Abel Gallardo, President of GWRRA, and his family whom were also stranded. Well, we can fly out tomorrow; ah...no we have a meeting at 8AM! So, we rented cars and decided to drive from Chicago to Ft. Wayne. It would take 2 hours for our bags to come up so we waited. Abel and his family's bags came up, then Hudnell's and since they had been in before we arrived we told them to go ahead and we'd see them in Ft. Wayne. Three hours later Garry and Kerry got their bags, but no Alkire bags! We finally found the best helper ever who tracked our bags down and 4 hours and 10 minutes later we had them and were off to get our rental car...oh it's now 8:30PM. By the time we get the car and start out it's 9:30PM but our trusty GPS Fiona will head us in the right direction. We arrived in Ft. Wayne at 3:30AM, unpacked and woke back up to be in a meeting at 8AM. It was a giggly day with no sleep, but all was OK, we were with our friends.

Our Operations Meeting was a great time to share experiences, successes and ideas with the International TEAM and the Regional Directors. We are also pleased to announce that Jere Goodman has been appointed to the position of Director of GWRRA! Jere and Linda are great folks and love GWRRA! Mike and Lori Stiger stepped aside at Opening Ceremonies officially and turned the reins over to Jere and Linda. We want to thank Mike and Lori for their leadership and guidance, time and love that they gave to GWRRA as our Directors! We really appreciate you! Jere challenged all of us as Directors last year to get the book Beep Beep! and decide if we were Roadrunners or Coyotes. Both are important to a team, but we roadrunners keep the fun happening! We are showing our support for Jere and Linda with our new name badges for TEAM Roadrunner, beep beep! Please join us in congratulating Jere and Linda and let's show them the welcoming spirit of the west! We support them and wish them the very best!!!

The Couple of the Year selection process started the next morning. As you would expect it is a very organized process with 9 couples to interview and all 12 Regional Directors interviewing them separately. I can say that all 9 couples were outstanding! Dave and Dee were absolutely outstanding as we knew they would be! They looked incredible and they were as friendly and wonderful as always to everyone they met. Their presentation on stage was the best I've ever heard them speak and they wanted the position. We are so incredibly proud of them!!! Our sentimental favorites (that is besides Dave and Dee) were Alain and Suzie Mainville from Region K (Canada). English was their second language and you could see them translating in their heads as they talked with you. We come from such diverse backgrounds and often we don't take the time to find that out. Alain and Suzie are farmers, dairy farmers, all of their life, who had proudly just sold their farm but wanted to tell you about how the new owner has computerized the entire process from feeding to milking, it was absolutely fascinating! They are wonderful folks! In the long run, the selection was the couple from Region A, Greg and Renee Dempsey. They are also outstanding people, who have come west and have met many of us in Costa Mesa and will represent GWRRA as Ambassadors extremely well. It was a very tough job for the judges as we had many fantastic couples who could have been selected and we are proud of all of them!!

One interesting observation, that a number was put to later, was the number of trikes in the parking lot. Later I was told that there were 48% trikes, 2 days in a row!

Our task at Wing Ding was similar to last year but Ft. Wayne had their own security to monitor armbands so we spent time at the front door welcoming our Winger Family to Wing Ding and helping them get to the place they wanted to be. It was fun and we met great folks and we are excited to say that we will be doing this again in Greenville, SC next year! We will be looking for all our volunteers again next year and by request we are going to give you a chance to order the tie die shirt in your own size with your name on it for next year.

On Thursday night many of us were enjoying an Italian dinner and getting ready for the show, Vocal Trash was the band and they were incredible. BUT, someone came in and said it was raining...hard and bikes were falling over in the wind. The wind was so strong (68mph we later heard) that you could hardly get the doors open to get out, but a brave group of volunteers went out to rescue bikes, trailers, covers, whatever was necessary. As you looked out the doors you could hardly see the bikes as it was brown with rain. There was damage everywhere. The campground was on the far side of the parking lot and there was damage there as well. John and Barb Pons, CD of CO-J had their brand new Time Out trailer collapse under the strain and we texted back and forth to see what we needed to do. After about 2 hours Barb texted that all was good and they would be staying there for the night. The story the next day was inspiring! Blake from Time Out Trailers had been in the campground helping that night. He sent his helper to the plant and got all the parts necessary to make the campers whole again and installed them all the next day. John and Barb were blown away at his thoughtfulness! Then the bonus came when he wouldn't accept any payment as he just wanted to help out in a tough situation. Now that is a dealer worth supporting!! Way to go Time Out Trailers!!!!

So after closing ceremonies, we all headed for home. Some stayed out and vacationed, some visited more friends and family and some beat feet for home. We followed some on Facebook to see that they got home OK and that was nice. As for us, our flight home was completely uneventful and we liked it that way!!! Denali was really glad to see us after a week away and we were glad to be home with our memories!

Read More Featured Stories From October 2012 Wingin' It.