What happens when you gather 883 members of one family together for four days and you throw in shooting, golf, bowling, slots, poker, 50/50 raffle, unit gatherings, dessert night and pizza night with free beer? You have the world’s largest retired law enforcement gathering ever held (at least that we know of). For four days in April, the 13th annual LASD Roundup gathered together retired/former sworn members, professional staff, widows, widowers, and spouses for fun and reminiscing in Laughlin, Nevada. Those attending came from all over the United States including AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, ID, KY, MD, MO, MT, NE, NJ, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA and WY. And from all reports, a good time seems to have been had by all who attended.
It seems every year this article gets harder and harder to write. Why, because there is nothing to write about? On the contrary, because there is so much to write about. However the best way to experience the Roundup is not through this article but by attending one in person. Ask Craig Boyett, Kevin Finch and Craig Husbands. For each of them, this was their first Roundup. Each retired from LASD on March 31st, one day before the Roundup. I know for certain that Craig Boyett had a good time because his friend JD told me so. All told we had 131 new people attend the Roundup for the first time.
There were a couple of other notables who were also in attendance this year. Retired Member Al Montague who, at 91 years young shared the distinction of being one of the oldest male Deputies at the Roundup. Al joined LASD in 1957 and retired in 1976. Al is also a WWII veteran and a Pearl Harbor survivor. Another WWII veteran and also 91 years old was retired member Richard Robles. Richard was in the third wave that landed in Normandy during D-Day. Our oldest retired female deputy was retired Sergeant Josephine Uttke. At 90 years young, Josephine also holds the distinction of being the longest retired deputy. She joined LASD in 1946 (Eugene Biscailuz was still Sheriff) and retired in 1966. Josephine is still sharp as a tack and we can all only hope to age as well as she has.
I would like to mention another person of some notoriety. This quiet, shy, unassuming, demure individual remains in the background at the Roundup. His hair has found a touch of gray with some white mixed in. He still walks around ramrod straight with his chest usually puffed out. We know that he goes by many different names because he kept raising his hand during the 50/50 raffle when a name other than his was called. It was said that it snowed somewhere during the Roundup because he actually bought someone a beer during free beer night on Tuesday. We still love you Woody.
Some Roundup facts you should be aware of. This year we did set a record attendance of 883 people. We also set a record for the number of retired members, 321, who qualified for the HR 218 National CCW. The Roundup would like to thank Floyd Hayhurst and the Board of Directors of ALADS for again sponsoring the entire shoot. We would also like to thank Sheriff Baca for providing the LASD Range Staff who administered the qualification course (Deputies Ed Corrette and Janice Hansen).
We would also like to thank Sheriff’s Relief, ALADS, PPOA and POPA Federal Credit Union for their generous monetary donations and continued support of the Roundup. There are so many, many other people to thank that it would take up most of this article. They donated time, money, gifts, etc. To each and every one of you, a big thank you for helping make the 2012 Roundup a huge success. We could not have done it without you. A great big thank you though to Chairpersons Charlie and Linda Engelbart, Jacque Franco, Ike Sabean, Walt and Mila Bouman Tony, Larry and Peggy Kisella, Norm Copping, Henry Reed and all the registration desk volunteers, photography volunteers and range volunteers. And last but not least, to my wonderful wife Robyn who, along with Charlie Engelbart, keeps me on an even keel during the Roundup.
People who have never been to the Roundup often ask me what there is to do during the four days. My answer is simple. You do anything you like because it will be the fastest four days of your life. You can attend for all four days and still not see everyone that you planned to visit with. But the best way to experience the Roundup is to attend. I think that the poem below captures the Roundup pretty well. It was written by Mila Bouman, wife of Retired Sergeant Walt Bouman.
THE GATHERING by Mila Bouman
In the spring they are bound, hundreds strong, for a desert oasis in a river town. Fueled by memories of glory days, they gather with comrades who understand – the men and women who wore the Green and Tan.
The tales are told and oft repeated of legends, partners, and those long-missed. A thread is wound among the groups as voices rise and spirits flow – “can’t find my keys I laid somewhere, but could never forget my first CODE 3 thirty years ago.”
Some come for poker, slots or bowling, HR-218 and golf, but all come for kinship in the “Briefing Room.” Reunions are held by stations and units, to dust off the memories of those who made their mark – with luncheons and dinners, Colors flying in Fisherman’s Park.
As the sun sinks crimson on the calm of the river, the raffle concludes and the desserts are devoured. Reflecting on lives spent in loyalty and service, unmistakably this band is a tight family – the proud retirees of LASD.
Well that is it. Remember also that if you are a widow/widower whose husband or wife was a retired/former member of LASD, you are still part of our LASD family and will be warmly welcomed at the Roundup.
See you all next year. The dates for the 2013 Roundup are April 7th through April 10th.