Taking a break from winter: Cabin Fever BenefitThe Roughrider Commission has the medicine to cure cabin fever — a healthy dose of music, fellowship and food.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
The Roughrider Commission has the medicine to cure cabin fever — a healthy dose of music, fellowship and food.
The commission is sponsoring its 22nd annual Cabin Fever Benefit Eagles Club.
“It gets to be a pretty crazy night,” board member Gary Conlon said. “It starts with the cheapest meal ticket in town.”
For a $5 ticket in advance or $6 at the door, a barbecued beef dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the midnight breakfast starts at 11:30 p.m.
The ticket includes dancing to the country band Satin Bullet from Hebron, along with silent and live auctions.
“It gets to be a pretty hectic time when the bidding begins,” Conlin said.
He referenced a favorite poker game, when 10 finalists sit down to a hand of Texas Hold-em and the winner takes the poker table.
Cabin Fever offers auction items that are distinctly country, including knives, Badlands cedar lamps, horse-braided hat bands and painted saw blades.
“You can’t put a price on the art,” he said.
The Cabin Fever Benefit raffle features two grand prize trips for two. The winners have a choice of attending either the 2013 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, the 2013 Professional Bull Riding finals in Las Vegas or the 2014 NASCAR race in Las Vegas. Other items include cash prizes and beef packages. Raffle tickets are available from Roughrider Commission members, the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau or at the door.
Conlon has served on commission’s Cabin Fever Committee since it started because he believes in supporting the Ronald McDonald House.
“In order to stay in the house, you must live more than 30 miles away from Bismarck,” Conlon said. “So that pretty much covers southwestern North Dakota. We even have people from eastern Montana and northwestern South Dakota counties who have used it.”
In addition to cash donations for the house, the commission helps families with transportation or the minimal fee of $15 per night at the house.
“We’re trying to ease that pain,” he said.
Dennis Kohler has been with the Cabin Fever Benefit since it was founded.
“After 21 years, with last year’s benefit we topped the half-million dollar amount,” Kohler said.
The purpose has remained the same — to keep the costs of staying at the Ronald McDonald House to a reasonable price, he said.
Cabin Fever committee member Dave Enebo described Cabin Fever as a nice evening to get out and dance a little bit, to enjoy supper and a midnight lunch and to bid on auction items.
“We have many people who support Cabin Fever by donating a lot of time and a lot of merchandise,” he said.
Tammy Weiler joined the Cabin Fever Benefit committee about 18 years ago.
“It’s the best fundraiser I think I could ever be on,” she said. “What is better than helping a child and helping the parents. That’s what it’s all about and that’s what this committee can do for the Ronald McDonald House.”
Kathy Keiser, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities at Bismarck, describes its Cabin Fever partners as the best friends.
“Besides incredibly generous cash donations, they love to supply us with things that we need at the house,” Keiser said.
Last year, the Cabin Fever Benefit helped purchase a telephone system. In previous years, it included carpeting, bedding towels and sheets. This year, the house is looking at playground equipment.
“Whenever possible, the items are secured from Dickinson businesses,” she added.
The Ronald McDonald House provided housing for 205 families from primarily western North Dakota in 2012. Of that total, 36 families came from the greater Dickinson area.
The Ronald McDonalds House’s mission is to providing housing for families with seriously ill children who are receiving medical treatment in Bismarck. The age of the children is newborn to age 21 if the child is financially dependent upon the parents.
“We’re also seeing the influx of oil development in the western part of the state and hering many new accents from families coming from Southern states,” she said.
Keiser said the house always has a need for replacement items in the house.
“We have 200 families going through the eight bedrooms — that’s a lot of wear and tear on things,” she said.
Representatives of the Ronald McDonald House Charities expect to attend this year’s Cabin Fever — several car loads, in fact.
“I’m happy to come to work every day,” she said. “You meet the most wonderful families in some very difficult times. But every day we’re here, we feel we’re able to make a difference in somebody’s life and that’s a gift.”