Toni Stauffer: Bonkers for Bunco!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

View the event’s photo gallery here

I received a request to attend an American Cancer Society of Russell County Relay for Life event. The invitation, sent by Relay for Life media specialist Pat Harrell, was for the third annual “Bunco Benefit” held March 15 at Woodmen of the World on Hwy 80, and was hosted by The Sassy Seniors of the Central Activity Center. I’d never heard of a Bunco, and wasn’t sure what to expect, and I honestly wasn’t even sure I’d be able to attend. I asked her to send pictures, if I couldn’t be there. But when Friday rolled around, I was able to go. I figured I’d just be there for a little bit to take a bunch of pictures.

Well, let’s just say that the hospitality of The Sassy Seniors was wonderful. They had hamburgers, chips, soft drinks, and amazing cupcakes as fare. $20 got you a Bunco ticket, dinner and a chance at a door prize. It turns out it’s not ‘a’ Bunco, but just Bunco, a dice game kind of like Yahtzee. Attendees could also purchase tickets for larger door prizes. I wasn’t going to play, but you could feel the excitement in the air as the room filled with people. Pat kept telling me how much fun I’d have if I played. I kept making excuses about needing to take more photos, but eventually she finally convinced me and I grabbed a seat.

The game is actually simple, but fast paced. Relay for Life volunteer Shannon Scruggs acted as monitor. Each table had 45 seconds to roll the dice as many times as they could in within that time. The game uses only three dice. You have six rows. On the first row, you roll for ones. If you get any ones, you roll again and keep rolling until you don’t get any ones. If you roll three of any number, that is a “little Bunco,” also known as a “floater” and is worth five points. If you roll three ones, that is a “Big Bunco” and is worth 21 points. It’s the same for the other numbers, for example, if you are rolling for twos and get three twos, that is a “big Bunco.” You only tally your numbers—a point for each occurrence. So, if you managed to roll a total of seven ones, that would be seven points, and if you rolled seven sixes, that would still be seven points—and then you add in the extra points for little and big Buncos you may have rolled.

I made it through five rounds, all the way to the last table, and then there were just three of us left out of the original 65 participants. Two of us tied, so Shannon had us do a 60-second roll off for sixes. Debbie Pierce, Team Sassy Seniors treasurer, pointed out the irony in that every year, two of the three finalists are new to the game. So, in the end, I scored the highest and got first pick of the prizes. And let me tell you that was a tough decision. The sponsors for the event were amazingly generous and the baskets were beautifully done. I remember a car care basket from Autozone but nothing will help my old van, so I decided to move to the next choice. The McDonald’s basket was also great, except I don’t like McDonald’s, or rather my stomach doesn’t like it. I chose the beauty box which was full of high end hair and body care items. If I were to list everything in the basket, this article would be too long. The box itself was beautiful and the biggest reason I chose it. I now have a beautiful keepsake that will be around long after the hairspray and other items are gone.

Let’s just say I’m really glad Pat talked me into playing. I’ve been to many Relay for Life events and this had to be the most fun I’ve had. And it wasn’t just the fun game and that I won, though that was unexpected and grand. What really made the night special were the ladies who hosted the event, as well as those people who participated. They were all so welcoming and fun, and what stood out was how much they care about the Relay for Life cause. Organized by Relay for Life of Russell County Event Leader Dimple Davis with help from Relay for Life Team Sassy Seniors captain Lisha Johnson, Pat Harrell, Debbie Pierce, the event was a huge success. In their first year, they raised approximately $900, $1,000 in the second and for this event, they raised approximately $1,300. The event gets bigger every year and they may need a new venue next year. Debbie said that they couldn’t do the event and raise the money for Relay for Life without the generosity of sponsors for which Relay for Life is so grateful.