Pineknot‎ > ‎

Pineknot VII 2011

Now that Pineknot VII has completed I want to provide a wrap-up of what we did, give appreciation for all who helped, and to thank you all for making the rally a fun event for everyone.

To view Pineknot VII pictures go to this LINK and use the guest password crockett.

The move this year to Crockett Family Resort was necessary because we had outgrown the meeting hall at Salmon Lake. We couldn’t take a chance that the proposed additions to the Salmon Lake facility would be completed before October, so the move was made. The Crockett Family Resort meeting room was plenty big enough for us and it was a good fit. The 2 kitchen areas and the availability of an adequate number of tables and chairs took our serving times for the pot luck dinner and the fish fry from over an hour per event to around 16 minutes. That was remarkable! During Pineknot VII a small group of us went to Salmon Lake to see the additions that were done to their meeting hall. Although they have completed the expansion, the Crockett Family Resort meeting room is still a better fit. When you factor in the shade, showers, wifi availability, “limited” cable TV availability, restaurant, lake, and the miniature golf course, Crockett Family Resort is a pretty logical choice for next year.

We did encounter a few problems at the beginning. We were one of the largest rallies to use Crockett Family Resort and as a result the CFR and I learned a few lessons. Site specific reservations became an issue when some people arrived and found that their sites weren’t exactly where they thought they would be. The management tried to accommodate them by assigning them to different sites, and a domino effect had begun. There were also a few electrical problems, most of which were corrected pretty quickly. We plan to change the reservation procedures next year to make it a much simpler process.

Tom Trostel tried to get a count on the FGRV manufacturers and rigs. Between Tom’s numbers and mine, it seems like we had 1 Amerigo, 1 Trek, 1 Gulf Stream, 3 Bigfoot's (Bigfeet?), 3 Escape's, 3 Scamp's, 77 Casita's, and (I think) 2 motorcycles with tent trailers attached. We also had 2 couples who had ordered their Casita's and are waiting for them to be built.

Let’s review some of the rally highlights:

Pot Luck Dinner

A tremendous assortment of food was available at the pot luck dinner Thursday evening. Everyone was served quickly and left with full bellies. Thanks to everyone who brought those tasty dishes and a smile to the table! What a spread!

Continental Breakfast

Thank you Tom and Martha Jo Trostel for providing an expanded continental breakfast each morning. Tom and Martha Jo have been doing this for several years for both the Pineknot and the Bluebonnet rallies, and they certainly deserve a great deal of gratitude for their efforts. They do a first class job and I know that we all appreciate it.

T-Shirt Braiding

Pat Harko provided step by step instructions to a number of folks (not all female either) on how to braid t-shirts. This was a repeat course and she always gets plenty of interest. Thanks Pat!

Trailer Talk

Larry Gamble moderated an informal discussion from a lot of trailer owners and discussed a host of issues. Larry also provided an impromptu class on rivets. We all know how busy Larry is at these rallies and we really do appreciate him taking a little time off to teach us some useful tips and tricks for maintaining our trailers.

CrimeStoppers Band

On Thursday evening many of us grabbed a chair and our favorite beverage and headed over to the pavilion on the lake to enjoy the music provided by the CrimeStoppers Band from Lufkin. They have played for us at many Pineknot rallies, and this year they had new songs and new jokes. It appeared that everyone had a great time and some even had a fabulous time. I saw a few people dancing in the moonlight.

Pet Show

On Friday morning Karan Wheelock hosted a pet show over in the dog run area and it wasn’t all dogs! I saw at least one very interesting cat while I was there. The pets were all on their best behavior while their owners told their story and bragged about what they could do. Nice job Karan!

Trailer Show/Tell

On both Friday and Saturday we had afternoon sessions of show and tell. We used a simplified format of “just hang the balloon whenever you want to show it”, and it worked out well. This gave people who wanted to show their trailer an opportunity to suspend their showing and go see some of the others.

Miniature Golf Tournament

Gene Toomey hosted the first annual Pineknot Invitational Amateur Miniature Golf Tournament. The tournament included a field of 13 golfers and 5 spectators. Blair McClure won the event with a score of 39. Tony Boeckman  finished in second place with a score of 43, and Gene Toomey/David McConnell  tied for 3rd place with a score of 44. Congratulations to all who participated. Blair will be defending his title next year, so come out and provide a challenge to him.

Dutch Oven Cooking Demonstration

On Friday afternoon Tom Trostel, Don Lohr, Walt Pirie and Gary Vanlith put on an excellent demonstration on Dutch oven cooking. A sizable crowd gathered around to see, hear and taste samples of what these experts cooked. It was like watching Food TV but live in person! These guys worked together like a team that has been doing this for years. Great job guys!

Catfish Dinner

On Saturday night we consumed nearly 100 pounds of catfish, a ton of hush-puppies and served enough french fries to make McDonald’s jealous. Oh… And don’t forget the coleslaw, iced tea, and the banana pudding. We got everyone served in record time thanks to our caterer (Kirby Spinks) who brought plenty of help to keep 2 serving lines moving, and to Jeanette McClure herding the hungry diners through the lines.

World T.E.A.M Sports

After the fish fry on Saturday night we were fortunate to have with us a wounded warrior to show us two videos and a presentation on World T.E.A.M. Sports. After Nicolette Maroulis had been wounded and told she would never walk again, she walked gallantly into our rally to give her presentation. When equipment difficulties prevented her from giving the presentation, Nicolette took the microphone and gave a “from the heart” story of how World T.E.A.M. Sports and her dedication to improving her condition have helped her to overcome the initial prognosis that she would never walk again to a strong young woman who has now hand cycled from San Francisco to Virginia, and has climbed the Himalayan mountains. Although we were not able to see the videos at the rally, you can view them HERE and HERE. I urge you to watch them.

Door Prizes

On Saturday night we awarded 41 door prizes to lucky winners. Of those 41 prizes 12 of them were donated. I want to personally thank the following for their donations:

Joan Wiethorn – collapsible carry all tote, white insulated tote

Chuck Litzell – salt/pepper shakers that looked like trailers (2 sets), camping tool set

Robert Elling – custom made ball point pen/leather coin purse

Susan Litke – In the Shade jack cover, and a In the Shade step cover

Little House Customs (Larry & Debbie Gamble) - $25 Little House Customs gift certificates (2)

George Carter – custom made welcome sign & stand

Wounded Warrior Project

On Saturday night we held a raffle to benefit Wounded Warrior Project. I had donated a propane grill, Ranger Duke donated a Cabela’s meat grinder and the Crockett WalMart donated a $50 gift card.

Jackie and Pam Erickson had their ticket drawn first. Pam selected the propane grill and immediately donated it back to the benefit to be auctioned to the high bidder. Ed Harris purchased the grill with a bid of $200. Linda Stettbacher was the second ticket drawn. Linda selected the meat grinder and immediately donated it back to the benefit to be auctioned. Melanie Meaux purchased the meat grinder with a bid of $55. Arlis and Nina Dean won the gift card.

Robert Elling donated a handmade table clock that was placed up for bids on a silent auction. Troy Gayden won the clock with a bid of $55. Thanks to both Robert and to Troy!

A special thanks to Mary Alice Cure and Melanie Meaux who made laminated generic name tags that can be used at any rally and only requested donations for the WWP.

I had hoped that the initial prizes that Ranger Duke and I donated would raise $300. The generosity of our group overwhelmed me. The picture below shows me with Mr. Tim Horton of the Wounded Warrior Project San Antonio. I had just turned in the $1,850 that you folks gave to this worthy cause. We won’t be doing a charity benefit every year but it is gratifying to see how generous our folks can be. I sincerely thank you all!

Power Outage

On Saturday night the Houston County Lake area had power outages at several locations. Our caterer who was frying the fish actually works for the Houston County Electric Co-op and reported to us that the electrical problem was intermittent in the area. They had a problem with a fuse and it took a few hours to locate, correct and fix. The Crockett Family Resort owner (Robert) told me that the reason that some of the park had power and some did not was due to there being three separate electrical feeds coming into the park. I thought it was remarkable how many of our folks helped each other out by loaning extension cords and power adapters to each other. I noticed that some took the opportunity to leave early and I understand completely. The power to the entire park was restored around 11:00 PM on Saturday night. I apologize for any inconveniences that you may have had. The problem was found and fixed outside of the park so it was totally out of the control of our host park CFR.

Thank You List

When my public address battery died on Saturday night several thought that the show was over and headed out. Some may have not heard the appreciation acknowledgments. I gave thanks to a lot of folks who really were the reason that the rally was a success. So for the benefit of those who weren’t there, here is the list that I read at the end of the rally:

1. Gary/Marlene Vanlith – For finding Crockett Family Resort.

2. Blair McClure – Designed and maintained the Pineknot web page at and for providing the registration and survey applications.

3. Verna Kropp – Designed the Pineknot VII graphics.

4. Karan Wheelock – Organized the Pet Show.

5. Pat Harko – Organized the T-shirt Braiding and the Teardrop Christmas Ornament classes.

6. Lisa Rynearson – Handled the printing and distribution of the Pineknot VII T-shirts.

7. Paul Stringer – Setup the Fish Fry, the Crimestoppers Band and printed the Pineknot VII name tags.

8. Tom Trostel, Don Lohr, Walt Pirie and Gary Vanlith- Participated with the Dutch Oven Cooking demonstration and provided great tasting samples of their delicious creations.

9. Tom & Martha Jo Trostel – Coffee and sweet rolls every morning.

10. Robert Elling – Setup the speaker from World T.E.A.M. Sports and quieted the crowd when necessary.

11. Gene Toomey – Setup the first Pineknot Invitational Amateur Miniature Golf Tournament.

12. Jim Reynolds – Hosted the “pre-rally” rally and helped with the Wounded Warrior Project raffle as well as the many other things that he always steps in to do.

13. John and Jean Dobson- Donated the 2 ½ cases of “pig-out” trays that were used to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.

14. Beverlee Niskanen, Beverly Reynolds, Vicki Muller, Joan Wiethorn, and Debra Tate for helping my wife Mary with the registration process.

Pineknot VII Pictures

I know that I saw a lot of camera bugs out there taking pictures during Pineknot. I’d like to put together a Pineknot VII scrapbook with a lot of the photos from the event. If you have any that you would like to share please email them to me. I’ll sort through them and put them in a Photo Bucket account. Then I’ll send everyone access to the account so that we can all share each others pictures.

Pineknot VIII

I’ve made tentative plans to host Pineknot VIII at Crockett Family Resort from October 4-7, 2012. You can mark your calendars with that date but it may change later. I’ll provide a more definite date in the spring. We hope to setup registration somewhat differently next year as we plan to do away with site-specific reservations and have registrants pick their sites on a first come-first served basis.

Finally – Mary and I want to thank all of you for allowing us to host Pineknot VII. We had a great time doing it and we look forward to seeing all of you at Pineknot VIII. Your friendship means the world to us.


Fred & Mary Rosin