by Ralph Williams
Each time a bereavement notice appears, many of us seem to have the same comments. We say that he or she was a good person and we so much wish we could see him or her one more time. That one more time could well be at the Roundup because it’s a gathering of hundreds of LASD retired people who come from all over the Country once a year to get together for four spring days in Laughlin, Nevada. For some, a gathering with friends for at least one more time. I hate those bereavement notices for a number of reasons but I love those Roundups for one big reason. Everyone in attendance shares a happiness and wealth of memories. These people, with an occupational history , made a real difference to immense numbers of people and often to each other.
The 20th Roundup was held from April 7-10, 2019, in Laughlin, Nevada at the Riverside Resort and Casino. A new attendance record number of 1151
enjoyed this year. What started with a small number of people 20 years ago and has grown into the largest gathering of retired cops anywhere. I believe that really says something about our love for our law enforcement family.
With the approval of Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the financial support of ALADS, the HR 218 Qualification was conducted by LASD range staff
Deputy Randy Tweedy and assisted by the following volunteers: David Donovan, Lee Leatherman, Bob Molina, Ray Bluff, Joey Stoker, Ed Corrette, James Klinger, Andy Lee, Mable Lee, and Mila Bouman. The two day event is coordinated by Walt Bouman and this year a new record of 497 retired shooters qualified.
Thanks goes out for the Roundup’s financial support from the Sheriff’s Relief Association, ALADS, PPOA, and PPOA FCU.
This year it began on Sunday, April 7 at noon, the 2019 Roundup was open for business. For the first time ever, Moon missed a Roundup and it was a painful miss indeed both for him and for us.
Sunday is greeting day. At some point during the afternoon, nearly everyone attending walked into the “Briefing Room” to check in, get their name tags, and make an effort to meet and greet as many of the hundreds of retirees doing the same thing. Folks checked the displays, registered to qualify on the range, headed off to dinner or stayed to chat.
Monday morning began with a flurry of events. While HR 218 qualification was taking place there was a golf tournament, a bowling tournament, and the Red Hats Champagne Brunch. Later, reunion lunches were held for Firestone, Norwalk/Pico, Malibu/Lost Hills, a TST gathering, a Walnut/San Dimas get together. According to Norwalk/Pico coordinator Sally Harwell, there were 82 retirees and significant others sharing war stories and catching up on their lives. In the evening there was an Industry dinner and Detective Division got together for a cocktail party. Bobby and Belinda Taylor want to send a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” to the 90 party attendees. A special “thank you” to Don and Susan Garcia and Danny and Lesli Smith who donated items for the raffle. The AV stations got together at a restaurant in Bullhead City. Carlton Brandon advises that next year the AV stations dinner will be moved to the Riverside as the El Palacio restaurant they were using for the past 12 years can no longer cope with the increasing numbers attending. Aero Bureau/ESD joined together for appetizers and cocktails and the evening saw a Dance/Karaoke night in the Dance Hall. The day/evening capped off with an ice cream social in the Starview Room, aka “The Briefing Room.”
Tuesday began another busy day with continued HR 218 qualification. Another golf tournament, a Lakewood breakfast, an arts and crafts fair all day long, a West Hollywood luncheon, the Red Hats Luau, a poker tournament, ELA cocktail party, and SEB got together on the south side of the Riverside parking garage. The SBI cocktail party was held in
the Losers Lounge where 73 partiers were fortunate enough to be entertained by our own retiree and comedian Cliff Yates. Cigar night was
held at the pool, the Temple dinner, and there was another gathering of SCV, ALD, and CVS. Mexican dinner was served in the Briefing Room, and there was a 7PM show in the Celebrity Theater and finally some time to rest for the night.
Wednesday morning began with the Lennox Old Timers breakfast and Tony Hollins thanks the 52 who attended. The oldest attendee was 90 year old Doug Robertson who along with his wife, Jeanne, recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Tony also wanted Ken Jones to know that “Georgia Ice Cream” is still part of the breakfast menu. The annual Queen Emeritus Pat Mihovil card game and and afternoon Slots Tournament were also conducted on Wednesday. The evening culminated with the annual 50/50 raffel drawings complete with hors d’oeuvres and desserts from 4PM until the room closed for the night. This of course is the time for those final
“good byes” until next year.
The four day event can be a relaxing or as busy as you want but it is always fun to all. What follows are some comments offered by some who
attended this year:
-“What I love most about the Roundup, looking through mature eyes, is there are no metal badges worn, no active LE personnel. There are only soft paper badges (that you better turn in before you leave) with no rank before a last name. You might say it’s a level playing field where all are treated the same. Folks are treated to the respect and dignity that we all desire regardless of what happened or the experiences one had. It makes me wonder why we don’t have more attendees than we do.”
-“I was rather apprehensive about attending the Roundup for the first time. I was told such things as people remain in their own little clicks and I
would run out of things to do very quickly. Not true at all. My friends and I had a blast and plan on attending next year. One friend asked me what
was the one thing that made the Roundup so special? I answered, it wasn’t just one thing; it was everything. It was all special.”
-“As always, great time and I saw a lot of friends from prior assignments. The check-in was as smooth as can be. HR 218; I love it. All the luncheons were great; great food and time with the guys and gals I worked with. From the employees to the volunteer staffs, “thank you.”
-“I want to thank Patty and Chuck Norris for getting me to go. I have always felt “less than” due to the fact that I only had 6 years on the Department due to injury. The job was the highlight of my life and I cried when had to sign retirement papers. My life was changed forever. I met a lot of people and had a great time.”
Now I must mention something at the risk of upsetting some. I recognize that there are any number of reasons for attending or not attending the Roundup. We don’t all love the same things. But anyone who says they won’t attend because there might be someone there that a person dislikes, is in my opinion, a foolish reason. Because of our occupation we all had some high self confidence, strong opinions, and good sized egos. Personality conflicts and head butting just comes with those traits. None of us likes everybody and none of us dislikes everybody. If you let the very few keep you from enjoying the very many, you let your perceived enemy win. So get over it; forget about if and come enjoy the people you want to see “one more time.” If you don’t have fun you can personally get in my face and tell me so.
I’m often asked how we can thank Moon and Robyn for their efforts. I’m going to suggest that there are two great ways that come to mind. One is to come and enjoy yourselves without complaint because it’s all volunteers that make the Roundup what it is and the greatest reward is seeing smiles and hearing the laughter. Second is to mark the Roundup dates on your calendar so that when the registration announcement comes out in the fall, you can immediately get your form and money in. You can say thank you by giving the party planners plenty of advance notice of the numbers they are dealing with.
That said, next year’s Roundup dates for the Riverside Hotel and Casino in Laughlin are April 5- 8, 2020. Make a note and a plan to come have a most rewarding experience.