By Mr. Franklin Fisher (Red Cloud)May 8, 2013
CAMP CASEY -- Under blue, sunny skies and with spring in the air, Area I hosted its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at Camp Casey May 4, a festive Hispanic-themed event that also featured a motorcycle rally.
Well over 1,000 members of the Warrior Country community turned out at the Gateway Club for the day's events, which began around 2 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m.
"We already had a pretty extended winter and people were just waiting for the spring," said Marenzo Domingo, special event coordinator with the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
"May is normally a perfect time for us to throw a party for the community," he said.
There was a piñata-breaking game, face-painting, inflatable games, and carnival games.
There were food-eating contests and free wine-tasting.
There was plenty of live music too, not least that provided by a mariachi band as well as three rock bands.
A disc jockey inside the Gateway played additional music too.
There was also a zumba marathon with Hispanic music, and a cultural dance performance.
And for paintball enthusiasts there was a shooting gallery too.
The day was also occasion for an Area I yard sale, offering a wide variety of items -- a gas-burning barbecue grill, used children's clothing, electronics goods, toys and a lot else.
But the other major part of the day was motorcycle rally, a set of varied events.
It included a motorcycle safety demonstration, motorcycle gear vendors displaying their wares, a display of motorcycles, and, the high point, the eagerly-awaited raffle of a denim black Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 motorcycle.
The machine is valued at about $10,000, said Sal Salvucci, country manager for Exchange New Car Sales in Korea.
More than 870 entered the raffle peninsula-wide more than a month before the drawing, and things were narrowed to 12 semi-finalists by a drawing several days before the rally, he said.
Then, during the rally, semifinalists randomly drew keys, only one of which would actually turn when inserted, Salvucci said.
When Spc. Misty Allen-Anderson inserted her key, it turned.
"Out of 12 she drew the seventh key and that was the winning key," said Salvucci.
"She screamed, jumped up in the air, then her husband came out of the crowd and he carried her around and they were screaming and yelling. It was awesome," he said.
Allen-Anderson is with the 2nd Infantry Division's Alpha Distribution Company, 70th Brigade Support Battalion, part of the 210th Fires Brigade.
She said she'd had a hunch she might win but was astonished all the same at drawing the winning key.
Her father, who died recently, was an enthusiastic Harley rider, she said, and she acknowledged him shortly after taking possession of her new bike.
"My dad is like, 'the Harley rider' and he is always with me," said Anderson.
The raffle marked the first time since 2005 that Exchange New Car Sales gave away a bike in Korea, Salvucci said.
Dave Palmer contributed to this report.