Rumba Recap and Recognition
So another “Rumba” has come and gone. Overall, the festival was a success. The weather was on our side, the turnout was good, and we will have raised money for a needy benefactor. Planning for next years’ Rumba actually begins about mid-way through the day of the present festival. That’s right, members of the Roadrunners start floating ideas to one another on how to improve next year’s even, as we are setting up and coordinating the current day’s activities. But this article is not about next year, rather, it is to acknowledge all of the sponsors, civic groups, and individualse working behind the scenes, and usually on the front lines, to stage an event of this size.
Let me start by thanking all of our sponsors. Without the support of our sponsors, events like this would not be possible. The Rumba has five levels of sponsorship. Our title sponsors include the city of Lumberton, whose employees are responsible for the majority of the set-up and breakdown of the festival, and Lumberton Radiological Associates, the first original sponsor of the festival/5k. SRMC has supported the family fun mile at both “the Rumba” and “the Chevy.” Dr. David Allen of Allen Orthopedics, has for the past six years supported the Friday Night Pasta Party, and has also been the volunteer sponsor for our Chevy to the Levee. R.A. Jeffries Distribution/Bud-Light has supported the Chili-Town, which has provided great chili recipes, live entertainment, and “creative” costumes. The Robesonian has promoted the festival through its publication, and has printed informative articles on the event. Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation has supported the free kids zone year in and year out. Cumulus and Beasley Broadcasting promote the festival through their broadcasts.
Our platinum sponsors start with BB&T, which has been our volunteer sponsor and also provides bottled water for every runner of both the 5k and family fun mile. Annette Dent, owner of Black Water Grille, graciously allows us to use her restaurant as our base camp for race registration, as well as a temporary storage space for our pre-race materials. The Lumberton Visitors Bureau regularly provides tourists with information on what is happening in Lumberton, including the Rumba and the Chevy. Project Health promotes the family fun mile through its partnership with local schools.
Our Gold Sponsors are Dr. Jeffrey Campbell of Campbell Ear Nose and Throat, who serves as our stage sponsor in chili-town, and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, which has provided great volunteer efforts for both of our races.
Silver sponsors are Agri Supply (donate all cattle fencing for chili-town), Congressman and Mrs. Mike McIntyre, Debbie’s Destinations (donate free airline tickets for chamber mixer), Dr.’s Royal and Bekic-Heart Specialists, Huggins Davis and Assoc. LLP, Josh Whitley-State Farm Insurance, LPL Financial, Lumbee Guaranty Bank (donate bottled water for 5k runners), Lumberton Eye Associates, Lumberton Surgical Associates (also are the 5k sponsors of the Chevy), McDonald’s, Musselwhite Musselwhite Branch & Grantham, ReMax Real Estate Exchange, Robeson County Partnership for Community Health, S.Preston Douglas & Associates, Speech Solutions, and Storage Solutions Self Storage (donates the RRR storage unit).
Bronze sponsors are Bob’s Jewel Shop, Joe Bailey Photographer, Cook Insurance, Gold’s Frame Shop, Linda Metzger Century 21, Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce, Pates Supply Company, Quick Print of Lumberton, Sheriff and Mrs. Kenneth Sealey, and Wilson Automotive.
Lumberton Football Association has provided the man power for the set-up and operation of chili-town. This year volunteers from both the Lumberton Emergency and Medical Rescue Group, and Vertical Church were instrumental in the operation of the kids’ zone. Also providing volunteers were the Robeson County Humane Society, and numerous individuals.Without the additional efforts of groups like these, the Rumba would not be possible.
The Rumba averages approximately 5,000 patrons, 500 5k Runners, 1,200 Family Fun Mile participants, 400 Friday night pasta plates served, 35 chili teams, 15 food vendors, 30 arts/crafts vendors, a bustling kids zone, and live entertainment throughout. All of this starts with the ideas and efforts of a relatively small group, the Robeson Road Runners. I would like to thank these individuals who put in an incredible amount of time and effort this year. Connie Russ, who is amazingly prepared and ahead of time, is responsible for getting all of our food vendors, and arts/crafts vendors. Jeff Neelon books all of our live entertainment from the Chamber Mixer to the Rumba, and was the primary architect of the original “Chili-Town.” Jerry and Von Johnson, and the volunteers from Jerry Johnson Chevrolet, handle all of our same day registration at both the Rumba and the Chevy to the Levee (where they have also been the title sponsor for 10 years). Each year our 5k and volunteer shirts are put together by Marion Thompson, with original artwork painted by Matt Thompson (past RRR president and race director). Mike Decinti (past RRR president and race director) designed and maintains our website,and serves as a medium to allow online registration for current races. Maria Parker is our current treasurer and was also the founder of the Robeson Road Runners. Mickey Gregory, who is the director of the Lumberton Visitors Bureau, has been responsible for the pre-registration of the 5k runners. Lee McCormick helped to coordinate our volunteers on the day of the festival. Diane Zepaltas and Vashon Heatley, from Project Health, are the leaders of the SRMC family fun mile. Jeff Lambdin was our coordinator of the kids zone and newly formed community stage in the plaza. Scott Billingsley has served as race director for the past two years, will be the incoming president, and has physically helped me with set-up/breakdown of the past three festivals. There are also some individuals who are not members (yet), who lent a helping hand on the day of the festival just because we needed it.
So you can see, there are many sponsors, groups, and individuals that provide a crucial role for the Rumba on the Lumber to succeed.
Just as we had the day’s runners either participating in either the SRMC family fun mile, or the LRA 5k, I too was running (actually … just walking fast), from one end of the festival to the other, and I couldn’t help but notice all of the smiling children, a sense of achievement/exhaustion on the runners faces, and the overall festive atmosphere. At the end of the day, after all the hard work and planning, that is what is most important.
— Rich DeFalco is the president of the Robeson Road Runners.