2017 Raffle Winner

Dear Dave:  Thanks again for all of your help in assisting us to have a wonderful time at the 2018 Super Bowl.  As you know, I won the grand prize in your Rotary Club of Indian Rocks Beach, Florida Super Bowl raffle.  The Rotary Club of Beloit, Wisconsin joined your club in sponsoring the raffle.  The grand prize included 2 tickets to the (football) game, 4 nights lodging in St. Paul, Minnesota, and $1,000 cash to cover transportation and incidentals.  I drove up to Minneapolis/St. Paul on Thursday, February 1, arriving at the I-94 Minnesota Travel Center near St. Paul about 1:00 pm.  I telephoned our hostess and met her about 2:00 pm at her parents’ home, our Airbnb accommodations for the weekend. They are ‘snowbirds’ and were away for the winter.

I met my brother, Robert, who had flown in from Kalispell, Montana, at the airport about 6:30 pm.  Bob lived in the twin city area over 30 years, but moved away in 2010.  He marveled at how much had changed in 8 years.  One of the main things I noticed about downtown Minneapolis was the large number of construction tower cranes, proving that much reconstruction is ongoing.  For example, at least 3 new stadiums have been built in downtown Minneapolis in recent years–the University of Minnesota football stadium, the U.S. Bank stadium (the site of the Super Bowl), and Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team.  Friday we got up late and continued to explore twin city area, including Bob’s former residence in Cedar Grove.  We met one of Bob’s former neighbors (Bob’s wife’s best friend, a widow) for dinner Friday evening.  We all had a good time reviewing/renewing old memories.

Sunday we had a late breakfast, walked a block to the Snelling Avenue light rail/rapid transit station about 1:00 pm to go to the game.  Our seats were immediately behind the center goal post at the “Eagles endzone.”  There were fans of both the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, plus Minnesota Vikings fans, San Francisco 49ers, etc. seated near us.  When someone asked me who I was rooting for, I always replied “the Green Bay Packers.”  I was wearing my warmest jacket, a Wisconsin Badgers quilted jacket, so I guess I added to the mix.  We arrived in our seats about 2 pm, so we had plenty of time to get acquainted with our seatmates.  It was fun to discover we all seemed to have some connection with each other, via location, military service, college experience, relatives, etc.  It was just one big happy family event.  There was plenty of pre-game entertainment, information, and football highlights, etc. on the Jumbotrons at the stadium.

When the game began at 5:30 pm I was able to see each play twice, first “live” from the endzone (you could see the holes opening up in the line, passing routes, etc.) and then the sideline replay on the Jumbotron.  Most interesting to me as I am a long-time football fan ever since 6th grade.  Bob was pulling for the Patriots because his son-in-law is a Patriots fan.  I was secretly pulling for the Philadelphia Eagles because there are more former University of Wisconsin (I graduated from UW in 1952) football players on the Eagles than there are on the Patriots.

Anyway, it was a great game, generally close, and always exciting.  Because the final play was at the opposite end of the field, at first I couldn’t tell if Brady’s final pass, a “Hail Mary” prayer, was/was not complete/incomplete.  The fan reaction told me immediately, however.  They didn’t have a replay on the Jumbotron because it was showing the Eagles’ celebration.  We stayed quite a while after the game, viewed all of the postgame speeches, interviews, etc. easily because they were at our end of the field, and generally had a joyous time.  Monday morning I dropped off my brother at the airport about 9:30 am and began my trip home to Janesville, Wisconsin.  This was the hardest part of the trip because it was snowing most of the way in Wisconsin and there were many slowdowns, no accidents, thank goodness, because of snowplows in one lane of the interstate or the other, etc.  I didn’t get home until 5:30 pm that night.  Thank you again for all of your help.

Sincerely, Dick Gerhard

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