The 50th reunion will be best remembered not only as the end of the millennium but a major change in how OTR were held. This year we saw the most attendees ever in our history at approximately 2,400 people. Camping was very tight, but it was a spectacular reunion. The professional fireworks display was spectacular.
Vic Ward (OTR 50 – 51) was the OTR Chair and he had some new and very unique events. A few are listed here.
Tree Planting Ceremony
Up the hill where the memorial garden is now, Ackie Lloyd and Bob Lutz (representing our COOTS) planted one tree and Hannah, Becca, Cody and Phoebe Shaw representing the future of OTR planted the second tree.
Meet the OTR Chairs
Also on the agenda were as many past OTR Chairs that could make it. This gave everyone a chance to see who had made OTR what it was. These chairs were sent special engraved invitations and awarded special steins with everyone’s name on them. You can still see one of these in the OTR Museum.
Curators Ray Garton and Dale Ibberson set up the first ever museum dedicated soley to the history of OTR and TRA.
The Cooters pub was new and offered an out of the way place to enjoy a cold Guinness or Micro-brew.
Music and Party
Back by popular demand, showgals The Towering Bouffants, backed by the powerhouse sound of Diana & the Moondogs, appeared Friday night in the Party Pavilion. Their harmonies favor the familiar tunes of the sixties as well as a “Down Thru the Decades” set honoring OTRs 50 years of hardy partying. Saturday night, followed the Recognition Ceremony of former OTR chairmen and women, Buzz City Grotto once again took center stage as the opening act for Honky Tonk Confidential. HTC, an authentic country & western swing group with a recent CD release, set your toes a tappin’ and your hearts a weepin’! Later on, ask Nick @ Night and Johnny played your favorite songs as they DJ Friday and Saturday nights following the live music and into the wee hours on Sunday night after the awards.
This was the last year that OTR allowed pets on site during the reunion. With so many people in attendance there were often points of conflict between pets and other pets or people. Additionally some of the more exotic animals that arrived at OTR were not well acclimated to this environment.
Vic had planned for a large fireworks display and he didn’t disappoint. The fireworks were set off in the neighboring field and the whole community probably noticed these. Unfortunately, the fireworks had a hitch and the grand finally actually took place in the middle of the display. It was still a great event.