West Coast Challengers held its 3rd Annual "Charcoal & Challengers" club BBQ and family day event. Once again, club members were invited to bring their families and pets to a local park for a day of relaxation, fun and games, and of course plenty of food and refreshments.

During the morning and while waiting for others to show up, some club members took the time to explore and enjoy both the park and the lake, while many others chose to sit back and enjoy a relaxing day in the shade of the trees while visiting with fellow club members.

During the day, many Park Rangers, hearing that the club was in the park, stopped by to say hello and take some pictures of our Challengers.

At about 10:30 a.m., the game horn sounded and the club members were summoned to gather for the first game of the day, “The Cannonball Run.” In this game, in groups of three, each club member was given a spoon to put in their mouth and a ping pong ball (the cannonball) was then placed on their spoon. On the word “Go!” the members must proceed, as fast as possible, to a cone waiting for them in their lane at the opposite end of the course, round their cone, and then head back to the starting line, all without dropping their cannonball. If their cannonball dropped, they must return to the starting line to begin over. The members displayed all kinds of ingenuity trying to get the upper hand on their fellow club members. In the first round, club member Julie lead almost the entire way until Dave seeming hit a nitrous button in the last 50 feet to cause a tie, so each of them moved on to the next heat. In the second round, club member Doug roared past everyone to take a commanding lead while making it all look easy. He too moved onto the next heat. In the last round of eliminations, new club member Andy ended up in a full sprint with his two competitors. While his competitors both dropped their cannonballs, Andy kept up his sprint to charge across the finish line risking it all. In the final round of two groups, it came down to Dave (with his fast 50 foot finishing sprint) against Andy who was in full spring the entire way. Andy crossed the finish line a full quarter lap ahead to take home the coveted “Cannonball Run” trophy.

As in years past, it took several picnic tables to hold the spread of food, snacks and drinks generously donated by both the club and club members.

Close to noon, the BBQ’s were lit and our chefs for the day, club members Dave and Phil, began cooking up the hamburgers and hot dogs for the masses while the ladies of club arranged the food in a buffet style across the picnic tables. A spread fit for a king to say the least with four or five different kinds of salads (potato salads, macaroni salads, taco salads, etc.), au gratin potatoes, and the whole nine yards.

As the members were finishing up lunch, they were informed of the next event, a group balloon release — with a twist. Each member would be given a helium filled balloon attached to which a self addressed stamped envelope back to the club would be attached by a string. Each club member was instructed to put their name on the first line of the post card and then head over to the staging area. Some 40 balloons were passed out and everyone stood ready to release their balloons together. On the sound of the game horn, all of the balloons would be released on cue. Some immediately hit rising air and disappeared upwards and out of sight rather quickly, while some others seemed to want to head due south and into some downward drafts causing some members to worry. Three balloons ran into the tree tops but after about five minutes all but one broke free to continue on their flight. The object of the group balloon release is to see which member’s balloon can travel the farthest. Each post card carries instructions for the finder to state where they found the post card as well as their name and address. The balloon that travels the farthest will receive $100.00 gift card and the first post card to be returned will receive a $25.00 gift card. Nominal gift cards will also be sent to the two strangers who return the winning post cards in appreciation for their effort and cooperation. This event was a lot fun and had everyone talking and wondering where their balloons might end up.

At 2:00 p.m., the last game of the day was played. This game aptly named, “What the hell is it?” had the club members handle a canvas bag that contained seven everyday items. Without seeing what was inside and going off of feel only, club members were made to guess at what the seven items were and list their answers on a sheet of paper. Most members would get the first five of six items right away but would spend a lot of time trying to figure out the last one or two items were. During the entire event, member utterances of “What the hell is it?” would ring out giving credence to game’s name. After about a half hour of handling the bags, one was opened to reveal the seven items: A sea shell, a quarter, a clothes pin, a pop-sickle stick, a button, a paper clip and a golf tee. Congratulations to club member Danny who guessed all seven correctly, although unsure of the sea shell so he guessed. Club member Mac’s significant other, Celine, was the runner up having guessed six items correctly only to mistakenly identify the quarter as a penny instead. The “Best Effort” award goes to Mac and Celine’s daughter, Jazmine, who spent an exorbitant amount of time all by herself to avoid interruptions from the rest of us while she attempted to solve the mystery. She ended up identifying five items correctly.

Relaxing a while longer, the day seemed to go by so fast and members began saying their good-byes as they peeled off one at a time for the rest of the day. The day was a complete success and all those present came to the park with smiles on their faces and left with even bigger ones.

Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy our annual picnic and to all of those who graciously brought snacks, dishes and refreshment for us all to enjoy.

More pictures from the event can be found in our club photo gallery.

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