WINTER WORKSHOP 2008
WHAT A FABULOUS WEEKEND! The party began Friday night when many of you came to Midnight Rodeo to warm up the dance floor for Saturday. I did not imagine topping the crowd and excitement of last year’s event, but we DID it this Saturday with a record 173 dancers, plus instructors and staff, at our one day Winter Workshop with GUYTON, JUNIOR AND BILL MCGEE! We had an extraordinary group of Florida line dance teachers participating and the best mix of local and out of town dancers anywhere!
Saturday morning we laid extra dance floor, set tables, organized lunch and we were ready! Carla and Sally got everyone in the door in 17 minutes! That amazed me! With coffee and donuts we started this full day of dance and instruction! The atmosphere was electric!
LUNCH: We always plan to make your day more than just a workshop. “My Honey’s” barbecue was delicious, along with homemade baked beans, coleslaw, chips, pasta salad, tossed salad, and cake and brownies for dessert. Lunch was a nice, relaxing break before the afternoon kicked in with more instruction, followed by reviews of all the dances taught. Closed the club at 4:45 so we could be back by 7PM!
50/50 POT: We collected an incredible jackpot of $632. The “house” half was donated to our most appreciated connection to the entire line dance community, Carol Craven, to help maintain the newsletter that keeps all of us so well informed. Thank you Carol, for your continued commitment to the worldwide dance community.
Judy Chen (our special guest this weekend) and another dancer who’s name I missed, won and split the remaining $316.
PRIZES: We gave away several “green bags” given as fun prizes. Local dancer, Gayle Tillman won the Midnight Rodeo Annual VIP pass.
SPECIAL congratulations to winners of these upcoming 2008 events in calendar order: Jg2 and Girlfriends at Bonita Springs, Villages Workshop with Arline Winerman, Vivienne Scott and Marilyn McNeal, Villages Workshop with Scooter Lee, Jg2 Line Dance Marathon, Florida Masters in Line, Tim Gillis Fall Weekend, Tampa Bay Line Dance Classic, Windy City, and WORLDS 2009!
My sincere appreciation to those event directors who generously donated these passes. I was honored to offer these prizes and the lucky winners were thrilled to receive them!
Junior had serious back pain and couldn’t “shake it” like he always does, but he managed to talk us through his dances, As If and Hot Stuff. Everyone loves Junior appreciated his efforts. We all hope he recovers quickly.
Guyton, as only Guyton can do, choreographed a brand new dance just for us and this event, to accommodate my last minute request for something country and cool. How does he do that?! Get My Drinkin’ On was an instant hit and I will have the stepsheet on my website later this week. He also taught his World’s hit, Bam-a-lam to a full floor.
THE AFTER PARTY: I was overwhelmed when 101 workshop dancers returned to the club Saturday night before 7:30 (more later) for reviews and line dance party at night! We had a GREAT time with all of you and danced 3 straight hours of requested songs. If you have pictures from your personal cameras, I would be grateful if you send us some. Our table cameras will be developed this week, so look for the pictures you took on our website!
SUNDAY MORNING: Breakfast in the Barn for several overnight guests was perfect, followed by a wonderful and much needed rain. Hope you all had safe flights and road trips home.
SINCERE THANKS to Guyton, Bill and Junior for being here with us, and to each and everyone of you who participated and made this event a great success. Personal and heartfelt thanks to our dedicated staff, Carol, Nancy, Steve, Diane, Karen, Carla, Sally, Dennis, Jessie, Bill, Sean, David, Tommy, and Gary, who made it all “happen,” my twin grandkids and drink sellers, Katlyn and Brenna, (their tips will be used for their school trip to Washington D.C.) to my local Midnight Rodeo dancers who support my classes every week, to my wonderful husband who takes such good care of me, and to Midnight Rodeo owner, Dave Emrick.
THANKS FOR BEING HERE WITH US! IT WAS A GREAT AND MEMORABLE DANCE WEEKEND IN OCALA BECAUSE OF YOU!
Marilyn McNeal, BoarsNestFarm@aol.com
REPORT FROM CAROL CRAVEN
Well, Midnight Rodeo was the place to be on the evening of January 11, 2008 and all day and night on January 12, 2008. There was a packed house of dancers at this seminar hosted by Marilyn and Ray McNeal. There was a line waiting to get in the door when I got there and when the doors opened promptly at 9:30 the club filled up with eager dancers waiting to see what Bill McGee, Guyton Mundy and Junior Willis had in store for us. There was a large group from Florida, as always, at Marilyn and Ray's seminars, but this was the biggest ever!! Coffee and treats awaited everyone in the morning and everything ran like clockwork all day long. We had lessons and open dancing and visiting with friends and the McNeals and their staff worked so hard to make sure everyone had a good time. Marilyn DJ'd during the day and the club DJ did a great job at night making all the visiting dancers feel right at home. Marilyn's granddaughters were even helping this year and it's fun to see how much they have grown since the last time I was there.
It was nice to see Judy Chen, who stayed in the area after Worlds and also John and Paul from the D.C. area who also came to dance with all of us after Worlds. We had fun all weekend with them and I'm always happy when people from other places get to see why I call Florida Dancing Heaven and I think they know what I'm talking about now. I brought back some brochures for Judy Chen's cruise to the Orient so if you would like a copy, just let me know and I'll bring it with me or give you info on how to view the information online. Marilyn and Ray are going on this cruise and I think they are going to have a fabulous time on this trip of the lifetime -- but I digress -- back to the subject.
And lunch. What can I say about lunch? It is truly an amazing free lunch that they always prepare for this workshop and I think someone told me that Ray does most of the cooking along with help from their amazing volunteers. I'm talking pulled pork, sandwich fixings, salads, baked beans, pasta, cake and everything that goes along with it. DELICIOUS!! I truly don't know how everyone gets everything done for this seminar but they manage to pull it off without a hitch every year so they must have some sort of magic wand hidden somewhere. LOL.
There was a treasure trove of prizes given out in raffles throughout the day. Along with lots of Surprise Bags, the event directors of the following day events/seminars donated passes and what was so neat is that if the person who won couldn't use the pass, they returned it for a second drawing. I thought that was a very nice gesture!!
Day Events: JG2 EVENT IN BONITA SPRINGS; VILLAGES WORKSHOP WITH ARLINE, VIVIENNE AND MARILYN; SCOOTER LEE MEMORIAL WEEKEND IN THE VILLAGES; MIDNIGHT RODEO ANNUAL VIP PASS. There was also a yearly pass to Midnight Rodeo raffled off.
WEEKEND PASSES: JG 2 MARATHON plus MARATHON STEPSHEET BOOK; FLORIDA MASTERS; TIM GILLIS FALL WEEKEND, WINDY CITY LINE DANCE MANIA; TAMPA BAY CLASSIC, and UCWDC WORLD'S. Now that was a nice great lineup of raffle prizes if you ask me!!
Oh, I took a bunch of pictures with my new camera that I obviously should have read the manual (which I never do because manuals really bore me) because I had it on video for most of the day so I have some wonderful pictures of feet, floors, ceiling, inside of my purse, dangling hands and some other things that I can't figure out what they are. It's nice to know the video works though. Marilyn had a brilliant idea that will save the day as far as pictures are concerned. She bought some disposable cameras and passed them out so that people could take pictures from all vantage points. They turned the cameras in at the end of the day and when Stacy posts the report on Marilyn's site (she is web master for Marilyn), she will add those pictures so hopefully there will be a better variety than the ones I took -- although the ones that turned out as pictures were pretty cute once I figured out that you had to hold the little thingy down and little longer to activate the flash. LOL. Do you ever wonder how I make it through the day? If you see the picture of Muffy the cat in the pictures, she didn't dance this weekend but that's Stacy and Dallas' cat and she had been feeling puny all week and they didn't want to leave her at home alone so they brought her and I think she enjoyed the music!! She told me personally that she thought it was a purrfect day.
NOW FOR WHAT WAS TAUGHT:
Some of us went to Marilyn and Ray's for breakfast before we headed back on Sunday and it was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend other than the worst rain storm I have ever experienced on the road. Everyone on the freeway had to pull off the road because the rain was INCREDIBLE!!! We all made it home in one piece though. Whew!! Thanks to Marilyn and Ray and their incredible staff and the Midnight Rodeo for being so welcoming. If you haven't attended one of their events you are missing a treat and I hope to see you there at the next one. I had a great time and can't wait to do it again.
I want to THANK ALL OF YOU for sharing the 50/50 raffle with me for the newsletter and for Stacy and the website. I was totally surprised and it was so nice of everyone to do with such enthusiasm. That was very thoughtful of Marilyn and Ray to think of doing and it was so nice for all of you to participate. I am so lucky to have all of the dancers in my life and when something like that happens it always surprises me because I like reading everything that comes to me too!! Thanks again for adding a special "Kodak moment of life" to another weekend with friends. Carol