May 11, 2018

By Barbara O'Connor

Members of the Sedona Westerners hiking club enjoy their semi-annual Cookout while club volunteers are cooking and serving the food.

Another season of the Sedona Westerners has ended with a Cookout at the Posse Grounds Park Ramadas on May 10th, 2018.

The Westerners have completed over 220 hikes and traveled more than 1,000 miles this season. This certainly couldn’t have been accomplished without a group of dedicated volunteers.  Our seven Hike Bosses recruited club members as hike leaders: to scout old hikes and to create new ones, to oversee hike check-in, and to ensure our rules and regulations are understood prior to every hike.  Our Tracker Boss, who coordinates specialty excursions, made sure we were exposed to educational activities that included the geological, archeological, and biological sciences in the Northern Arizona area.

Although a big part of the Westerners is hiking, we also have monthly meetings, two cookouts, and a holiday party.  The meetings always mix business with pleasure!  At our meetings, old and new business is dealt with promptly, followed by refreshments and then an educational or entertainment program.  The choice of entertainment or guest speakers is the responsibility of our Wagon Boss.  What meeting could take place without refreshments?  Our Chuckwagon Boss organizes volunteers to bring goodies for each meeting.

Westerner Cookouts have always been popular events, but it has been challenging to find a venue in the Sedona area that will accommodate our needs.  That means room for 140 people, big grills because we like to cook, shade because it is sunny in Sedona, and shelter because it has been known to rain cats and dogs.  We have had Cookouts at Red Rock State Park, the Elks Club Patio, and now the Posse Grounds Park Ramadas.  A successful Cookout has always needed many volunteers.  They set-up, sign-in members, cook on the grill, serve, and clean up.  It could never get done the Westerners way without the Chuckwagon Boss in charge.

The Westerners Holiday Party is a tradition with a long and colorful history.  There have been potlucks and catered parties, full service dining and buffets.  However, the goal is always to have a good time, a good meal, and good entertainment!  This past year, the Holiday Party embraced a Hawaiian theme with a Luau.  Volunteers helped with table decorations, checked in members, and presented Hawaiian leis to everyone.  For the post-dinner entertainment, guests were treated to the unexpectedly talented group of “Hulamons” in full Hawaiian regalia dancing to authentic Hula music.  The Sedona Westerner dancers were: Cy Elliott, Michael Henry, Dave Kieres, Curt Kommer, Tom Makielski, Michael McCaffrey, and Al Vander Peut.  They were so good that they received a standing ovation for their performance.  It was a hoot working with them!

The Westerners also have a weekly column in the Sedona Red Rock News.  Our Roundup Boss is responsible for obtaining articles written by members about the hikes, meetings, or other Westerner activities.  The support of our Roundup Boss was overwhelming this year.  All the volunteer writers made Friday’s paper much more enjoyable.

So, my hat’s off to all of you who volunteered your time and effort to make this hiking season enjoyable for our members.  It is why this club remains popular, active, and vibrant after more than sixty years.

If you are interested in joining the club, please visit the Sedona Westerners website at Westerners, written this week by Barbara O’Connor, the outgoing Trail Boss, appears every Friday in the Sedona Red Rock News.


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