The Rolling of the Balls occurred for the ?sixth time in Port Townsend, Washington, on May 20, 2018. This is a fundraiser for the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary. We in turn give out grants to local organizations, ShelterBox, Polio Plus and international projects.
We sell tickets, one for five dollars or five for twenty dollars, and by noon on Saturday had sold 2100+ balls.
We set up the trap at the bottom of Monroe Street and set up wooden rails going up the road. At the top we have a modified bin, with a bull whose body is a golf ball, painted on the front. The 2100 golf balls are loaded into the bin. The countdown starts: 20, 19, 18... and then our Finnish incoming exchange student pulls the bulls tail down, releasing the golf balls down Monroe Street.
Some escape. Some bounce over the rails and Rotarians, homeowners, bystanders and amused parade watchers scurry to throw balls back into the rails. Most roll down on their own. I am a sweeper this year: I have a snow shovel and am encouraging balls that are stuck on the lumpy road or that have bounced out or pile ups to ROLL. We have three push brooms and the snow shovel.
The winner is present and cheers when their number is announced! First prized $2000, second $500 and third $250. There are sets of corporate balls: colors. My clinic pays for half of a $400 set of corporate balls. The corporate winner gets to choose a recipient charity for their funds, and I forget how much that is....
Then clean up quickly... because the Rhody Parade is coming. We have a truck that goes slowly down the hill as we load the rails. The golf balls go into buckets, to be sorted for next year. We lose some every year and we can only roll the numbers whose tickets are sold. This is ridiculously labor intensive, but it's also teamwork. I love my Sunrise Rotary because we are politically diverse, religiously diverse, ethnically diverse (barely) and everyone is working to get things done for the community.
The street is cleaned up, though no doubt there are some escaped golf balls in yards. We do have to have a permit for this, including a gambling permit from Washington State. The police block both ends of the road. I am walking to the other end of Lawrence Street where we are entry number 105 to the Rhododendron Parade, right behind the Chimacum High School Marching Band. I carry one end of a banner, listing the different grant recipients for all sorts of things from our Sunrise Rotary. A truck in front of us has a trailer with Rotary sponsors from this year and a delightful Rotarian wearing a bright red flocked bull costume.
I am not sure if there are more people watching the parade then are in it. But I know lots of spectators and people wave even if I don't know them. The parade is done and my feet hurt. We climb back up the hill, locate my car and go home. I lie on the couch, feet up on pillows, and ice my feet.
Hope we raised lots of funds....