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Relay takes center stage

In just its second year on the schedule, the “Grand Ole Opry” already has become one of the most popular events held during the Relay For Life campaign to generate money to find a cure for cancer.

“I thought it was wonderful,” said Kathryn Youles, a member of the special events committee, of the Jan. 31 variety sing in the high school auditorium. “We want to thank everybody who performed and attended.”

More than $1,000 was raised at the Grand Ole Opry as admission was a $5 donation to Relay, but people could give more. With new corporate sponsorships and the addition of more teams up to 14 now, the current Relay total in the early stages stands at $7,654. Monday’s team captain meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the county library should help bump up that amount as this year’s goal is $75,000.

Led by Jodi Shaner as the emcee and Bob Good as the radio commercial spot man, the night was filled with the performances of 17 singers and groups.

Local vocalists portrayed music stars “Patsy Cline,” “Loretta Lynn,” “Elvis,” “Jeannie Pruett,” “Sugarland,” “Dolly Parton” and “Ernest Tubb” – just to name a few.

The audience also was entertained with some bluegrass music by Bend Not Broke, some clogging, and some square dancing.

Some of the performers included 2008 Relay For Life Queen Victoria Bohannon, Vicki Bragg, Daniel Hall, Jessica Hall, Bill & Peggy Lanford, Pam Mills, Lawanda Mock, Sunshine Squares & Friends, Glen Walden, and Jordan Zeigler.

One of Rocky Ford’s newest residents, Rubin Everidge, also performed. He is a member of the New York State Country Music Hall Of Fame and the Georgia Country Music Hall Of Fame in Atlanta.

The theme for this year’s Relay is “PEACE + HOPE + LOVE = RELAY” as teams can choose 1960s songs to decorate their campsites at Cail Field May 1. The teams this year also must create Relay slogans that use their team songs and then they must perform the song during the singing competition the night of Relay.

To provide a feel for what could be heard from 4 p.m. May 1 to 4 a.m. May 2, “The Twist” was performed by Chubby Checker in 1960; the Tokens did “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 1961; and “Duke of Earl” was sung by Gene Chandler in 1962.”

To sign up a team, contact Youles at 912-978-1349; Dale Reddick at 912-682-1168; or this year’s chairperson, Willene Dickey at 912-564-2223.

Several events are planned for Relay For Life 2009 and more are expected to be added in the weeks to come.

The New Robbins Branch Baptist Church Pastor’s Aide Board will present its annual Relay For Life Gospel Mega Fest Sunday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m. at the church at

1130 Robbins Branch Road
. Money raised at the event will go toward the local effort for the American Cancer Society. If you have questions, contact Sister Rosa Seabrooks at (912) 863-4354.

A 50-50 drawing will be conducted Feb. 21 at Screven Motor Speedway

A Clay Shoot is planned for March 7 at the Savannah River Preserve near Newington.

Some of the prize items available at the clay shoot are a Benelli 12-gauge shotgun, oil-less turkey fryer, string trimmer, shotgun shells, free mount and other prizes. Food is expected to be sold at the event.

On March 22, Walls Diner plans to hold its Sunday lunch to raise money for Relay. All the money from that day’s meal will go toward the effort. This is the only Sunday of the year that Walls for business.

Relay For Life is scheduled to have a float in the annual Screven County Livestock Festival Parade through downtown Sylvania.

A Poker Run is scheduled for April 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. It will be at Walls Diner.

The “Survivors Dinner” will be April 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the CailCenter.

The Relay For Life Pageant is planned for April 25. Tammie Lewis will serve as the organizer this year.

Team Captain meetings will be the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the library. Those dates are Feb. 9, March 9 and April 13.

All the committee meetings will be the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Walls Diner until the May event.

“Bank Night” will be April 27 at 5 p.m. at the Sylvania branch of the Bank of Newington. That also will be the evening to pick up Relay T-shirts for team members.

Additional events like a golf tournament have been discussed, but have yet to be officially scheduled.

During the 12 hours on May 1 and 2, team contests will include dance, limbo and hula hoop.

Bill and Peggy Lanford ask that luminary requests to honor or memorialize people with cancer be turned in before 7 p.m. the night of Relay. Teams can turn in their forms now for the bags of lit candles that will line the walkway at Relay.