2007 Lincoln Day Dinner
By TL Feeny
Leg. Dist 8 Chair
Weber County GOP Webmaster
An event adding new meaning to the phrase "Weber County Republican Party"
The Weber County Republican Party held another gala event last night -- the annual Weber County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. This one will definitely be a tough act to follow.
The Lincoln Dinner has become the GOP social event of the winter season these past few years under Chairman Matt Bell's capable leadership. Surpassing last year's event, entertainment-wise, was a tough challenge. Our party chair pulled that task of off with seeming effortlessness, however. I've been attending these dinners for many years. This one was the first within memory where the entire audience in attendance transformed from "teary-eyed" to "rolling in the aisles in mirth," within a mere few minutes. More about that in the succeeding paragraphs.
The event started off with a flag ceremony, presented by an elegantly dress-uniformed combined color guard composed of WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans from the four branches of the military services, recruited by GOP stalwart Frank Maughan from a VFW post in Brigham City. The 250 Republicans in attendance were filled with pride as the honor guard presented the flag to the podium, and the commander of the honor guard explained the subsequent flag-folding ceremony , which was then conducted center-stage. There was not a dry eye in the house. Not anyone. Not even the colorguard.
After that, the event suddenly carromed off into a rollicking good time, as Weber County Commissioner (and former Weber County Sheriff and Past WCGOP Chair) Craig Dearden and Weber County Chief Chris Zimmerman (second in command in the Weber County Sheriff's Office) stepped to the podium, surprised everyone in attendance -- and proceeded to "hotly roast" our Republican Sheriff Brad Slater -- in a manner that hasn't been seen publicly at staid Weber County Republican events -- EVER. The two of them regaled the audience with a chain of anecdotes happening during the course of Sheriff Slater's notable law enforcement career, forever depriving Brad of any future claim to dignity.
My personal favorite was this one, delivered by the very funny Captain Zimmerman:
As a young Sheriff's Deputy, Brad was deployed to Huntsville's Cemetery Point, to break up a typical drunken Cemetery Point melee. Arriving there, his dispatcher radioed him, asking whether he needed "backup. " He radioed back that "The Point" was "infested with roaches" (a technical law enforcement term for "the criminal element," we assume.) He told the dispatcher that what he actually needed was "an air strike from Hill Air Force base." The dispatcher, apparently very diligent and wholly unfamiliar with Brad's quirky sense of humor, solemnly did her duty. Within minutes there was an angry HAFB squadron commander calling back, demanding to know who had the authority to call in an air strike.That anecdote should give our readers who missed the event "the drift." Friday night's event was anything but a stuffy GOP event. The Weber County Republican audience was in stitches for most of the night.
Next on the agenda was the surprise Master of Ceremonies, a well known natural and local favorite stand-up comic by the name of US House Representative Rob Bishop. Donning a bathrobe that had been secreted in a plastic bag, he did a campy eight-minute impression of Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert:
"If elected I will make it safe for women to walk the Utah streets," he intoned.And so it went. The grateful Weber County GOP audience ate it up.
"Of course you will," yelled a scripted heckler from the audience, "you'll be doing business with them later!"
"I'll sponsor legislation to support fatherless kids," Representative Bishop pleaded, (still relentlessly playing the Lt. Gov. Herbert character.)
"Sure you will," responded the heckler. "Most of them are yours!"
I'll note in passing that both Sheriff Slater and Lt. Governor Herbert were in attendance at the event. Each of them took their turn at the microphone and got their just revenge. Each of them had glib comebacks. For the sake of saving internet bandwidth, I won't quote them here. Whether these fellows had been warned in advance that they were to be roasted last night we do not know. If not however, we'll just say they were exceptionally quick on their feet.
I talked with Gloria Froerer, House District 8 Rep. Gage Froerer's lovely wife, after the event. She said, with a big smile on her face, she'd attended the Salt Lake County Party's Lincoln Day Dinner the previous Friday, and "it was nothing like last night's Weber County Republican event. "
We're the Weber County Republican Party
Definitely NOT the Salt Lake County one...
nor the Utah County..."party."
'Nuff said, " eh, fellow Weber County Republicans?
For those gourmands amongst our readership, I'll say a few words about last night's menu. The dinner was preceded by a luscious buffet, featuring thumb-sized shrimp, a multitude of fancy hors d'oevres and even a California roll sushi tray. The appetizers were so sumptuous in fact, that for a moment there, several of our fellow Weber County Republicans believed they'd arrived at the Beverly Hills Lincoln Dinner by mistake.
The entre was surf and turf; and GOP attendees were gratified that at least some of the Eccles Center servers were somewhat fluent in the English language this year.
There were still smiles all around as everyone exited Eccles Center Ballroom #2 at about nine p.m. The odds are that everyone in attendance will be back next year, if only to find out what new tricks Chairman Bell has up his sleeve.
A Weber County Republican tip o' the hat goes out to everyone who planned, organized and participated in last night's exceptional event.
Special thanks to Pat Iannone and Bea Cardwell, a committee of two who worked out the major details of the event, and also solicited and assembled a nice array of door prizes.
I'm sure I left a few details out.
Reader comments are invited as always.
Labels: Lincoln Day Fundraiser