2019 8th Biennial National and 20th Anniversary Rally Recap
May 19-23, 2019

Dates: May 19-23, 2019
Location: Amana RV Park & Event Center
3890 C Street
Amana, IA 52203
Hosts: Nick and Dee Dee McClain
Jerry and Mary Breu

Step back in time to the unique communal society of the Amana Colonies of Iowa, site of the 2019 National Rally of the Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club and 20th Anniversary Celebration. Despite torrential rains, our hosts, Nick and Dee Dee McClain and Jerry and Mary Breu, pulled off a spectacular, well organized rally. Fifty-six coaches from 26 states, including 106 attendees with 24 first-timers gathered in Amana for five days of fun-filled activities and delicious meals. The fun commenced with wine, cheese and party sandwiches as we met new friends and renewed old friendships. Thanks to the efforts of our hosts and their dedicated helpers who edited mountains of photos and videos, an outstanding video was produced that was shown to the audience, bringing back precious memories from past rallies.

The following morning began with a guided bus tour of the seven 19th century Amana colonies, showcasing this tightly-knit community that celebrated their unique religious beliefs. The Amanas are a charming setting of churches, shops, and restaurants amidst thriving farms.

Cabinet Maker

Our next outing was the much-anticipated trip to the Herbert Hoover Museum. Herbert Hoover was a man of great talent, scarred by throes of economic chaos at home, who became a world leader, rescuing from starvation thousands of survivors following World War ll. This national historic site was educational, enlightening and reverential.

President Jerry Breu conducted the business meeting, introducing the officers, reviewing our favorable financial status, and giving special recognition to Biii Hemme, retiring web administrator extraordinaire. Our meeting concluded with the singing of Born Free, our signature song. John Dodgen would have been proud!

Highlights of the rally included the Ladies' Tea, a great success offering dainty delights, and an elegant style show with a fascinating narrative by actress Meg Merckens. Another rally highlight was the Tech Talk Panel, featuring techies Bill Hemme, Sab Sasaki and Roger Hakeman, that always draws lively discussions regarding tips and tricks of RV maintenance. Painting-With-Ramona (Birdsell) was a much anticipated event, drawing 12 eager students.

Painting Class (Photo by Forrest Seavey)

Along with our fun raffles and drawings was the charity challenge. Through the charity raffle (raffle items furnished by former club president Mel Wilbur) and cash donations, the club raised and donated $2,205 to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. More good news to report is that our Born Free Club member, Irene Bezak, accompanied by daughter Mary and trusty dog Bo, celebrated her 100th birthday at this rally. Happy Birthday, Irene!

Rally Donation to Shriners Hospital for Children

The grand finale to this grand rally was our splendid farewell dinner featuring BBQ ribs, grilled chicken and all the wonderful trimmings, followed by the beautiful 20th Anniversary Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club cake. Country singer Rusty Rierson performed a rompin', stompin' good ole country-western concert to wind up a perfect evening. To Nick and Dee Dee McClain and Jerry and Mary Breu, our heartfelt thanks for conducting an outstanding and memorable rally.

Group Picture (Photo by Forrest Seavey)

Please watch (and listen to) this outstanding video of this National Rally created by Forrest Seavey:


Submitted by Ann Sasaki