The Sun City Hiking club has been around for 50 years.
To celebrate the milestone, nearly 100 people gathered Jan. 18 at Palmbrook Country Club, 9350 W. Greenway Road, Sun City for the annual banquet. Club members came together over drinks and dinner to learn about the history of the club, enjoy each others company and meet new friends.
Judy Sadler, performing a 1-person-skit, led members through the evolution from the informal first hike Nov. 4, 1972 with 22 people in attendance, to the first formal meeting in October of the following year and through the decades that followed, to arrive at the club of almost 300 members today. She told of the many hikers who came before, those who blazed the trails that members follow today. She reminded members of the hours of volunteer work that were done to put together the books of hikes, none of which were done with the modern conveniences of today, like computers, cell phones or Google Maps, but with typewriter, pen and pencil, and the all but forgotten folding maps.
Members honored the past by celebrating the second generation of hikers whose parents were early members of the club and were brought into the club by their parents. They honored their present-day-hikers with awards for the most hikes in a year. Rod Frank presented the hiker-of-the-year boot to Cesar Rodriguez wit 44 hikes, the top A hiker award to Shannon McCary with 21 hikes, top B hiker award to Donney Speck with 30 hikes and top C hiker award to Stephen Hughes with 32 hikes.
All the hike chairs and coordinators, hike leaders and the behind-the-scenes-volunteers who make the club operate were also recognized.
Lora Lee McKinney, Cesar Rodriguez, Anne Greco and Joette Conger performed a play on preparing for a hike, which elicited many laughs from the crowd after which several people took the mic in hand to tell tales of unforgettable hikes, mishaps and wrong trails, letting all enjoy the trails with them.