The above photos show some of the activities that took place at last year’s fundraising event hosted by the Bodacious Broads in Harmony. Many enjoyed the bean bag tournament as well as good food. A large auction was held where many items were sold to benefit the Relay for Life in Fillmore County.	(Bluff Country Newspaper file photos)
The above photos show some of the activities that took place at last year’s fundraising event hosted by the Bodacious Broads in Harmony. Many enjoyed the bean bag tournament as well as good food. A large auction was held where many items were sold to benefit the Relay for Life in Fillmore County. (Bluff Country Newspaper file photos)
The Bodacious Broads have quite the reputation. Don't worry - it's a good one! Its annual March fundraiser is quickly approaching at Wheelers in Harmony and everyone knows it's the place to be on March 31.

The Fillmore County Relay for Life planning committee is getting a bit "winey" for an event also coming up in March. A wine tasting and silent auction are planned for March 24 at the Preston Golf Course.

With these two events and a kick-off meeting held last Monday, the Relay for Life fundraising events are getting underway, leading up to the main Relay for Life event to be held on June 15 and 16 in Preston.

Bodacious Broads

This Relay for Life team was named the top fundraising team at last year's Relay for Life in Preston, as well as the previous year. The team members inspire others through their own enthusiasm and their dedication to the cause. This is apparent through their successful events, including their main fundraising event, held every year on the last Saturday of March.

This year, the event will be held on March 31 and includes a beanbag tournament, with registration beginning at 11 a.m. and play starting at 1 p.m.; a silent auction; a live auction at 7 p.m. and music by Karaoke Joe after the auction concludes. Food will be available all day.

According to Angi Brunsvold, a member of the Bodacious Broads, this is the third year for the event, but the fourth year that they have had a team participating in the Relay for Life events. "We are fortunate to have grown in team members over the years," she added. "It's awesome having people approach you, asking if they can be part of the team."

In an interview last year, following their event, Brunsvold explained, "Participating in the Relay for Life truly is a life-changing event that brings together so many people to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and empower individuals and communities to fight back against a disease that takes too much from too many. I would say that is why the Bodacious Broads are who they are!"

Last year's event raised over $12,000 and Brunsvold hopes to be able to do that and more this year. But more than just the funds raised, she said that their goal as a team is to make a difference. "Each dollar raised, whether it's by our team or another, makes a difference in someone's life," she said.

While Brunsvold explained that she and her teammates are proud to be the top fundraising team, for her personally, she sees that honor as a reflection of the generous communities in which she and her teammates live.

"My favorite part of this event isn't necessarily the day of the event, but the wonderful realization of what a wonderful community and county we live in," she said. "The support for Relay for Life is amazing and we get to see this firsthand by hosting this event."

Brunsvold also added that on the actual day of the event, she enjoys seeing members of the community come out to support the event. Every bit helps and she loves that some come in to grab a bite to eat or come in to enjoy the music at the end of the day.

She also mentioned that she enjoys when individuals share their personal stories with her - how the event has helped in their situation or is helping or will help someone they know.

"To have our family and close friends be such a big part of this and all of us working together to help out something we all believe in is also something that I love about the day," Brunsvold added.

She noted that her mother, Mavis Brunsvold, and her aunts, Carole Engen and Penny Solberg, have all battled cancer, as did her grandmother, Myrna Hegg.

"We feel that this is a way we can give back," she explained. "So many people did so much for our mom when she was battling cancer and we feel it is our turn to help others fighting the disease."

The Bodacious Broads are Brunsvold, Mavis Brunsvold, Carole Engen, Penny Solberg, Deb Apenhorst, Barb Storsveen, Lynda Olson, Sheila Reicks, Sammi Storsveen, Amy Hershberger, Gretchen Schwichtenberg, Jodi Solberg, Nicole Danielson, Renee Reicks, Jill Fishbaugher and Alissa Stelpflug. "Although these are the 'team members,' our spouses and kids are also on our team," Brunsvold added.

She said that having such "great families" has enabled the women to plan and host such a successful event. "It literally takes all of us and all of them and our community to make this happen," Brunsvold continued. "Without everyone's support we wouldn't be able to do this. I think our excitement helps to make this event exciting."

Wine tasting

The Saturday before the Bodacious Broads' fundraiser, the Fillmore County Relay for Life planning committee will be holding a fundraiser of its own. A wine tasting event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, at the Preston Golf Course.

According to planning committee member Gabby Gatzke, she and the other organizers are very excited about this event.

She explained that Apollo Liquor of Rochester will be bringing 50-plus different wines for tasting. Scenic Valley Wines from Lanesboro will be on hand to provide information about their wines and Four Daughters Winery from Spring Valley will be providing a wine tasting and tour for the silent auction.

Oak Meadow Meats of Harmony will be there with samples of their meats and the Sweet Stop and Sandwich Shoppe of Preston will be providing "treats." There will also be a chocolate fountain with fruit for those with a sweet tooth.

Gatzke noted that there will be a mini silent auction with wine-related items, as well as the package from the Four Daughters' Winery.

Tickets for the event are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets are available from any committee member, Village Square in Harmony, Chic's Pizza in Preston, as well as other area businesses. Gatzke noted that interested persons can visit the Fillmore County Relay for Life website for more information on getting tickets in advance.

All the funds raised from this event will go towards this year's Relay for Life.

"Olmsted County held one prior to their Relay last year, and did very well," Gatzke explained. "We thought it sounded like a good idea for our county as well because we have a lot of wine-lovers in the area."

"Plus, it gives us all something to look forward to this winter," she added. "Our committee is really pumped up about it."

Kick off meeting

Gatzke noted that several teams have signed up this year, with a few new teams coming on board for the Relay for Life event. She explained that these early meetings aren't as well attended as those closer to the event, but is hopeful that there will be 30 or more teams participating by the event in July.

"Our goal is to raise $124,000 this year and these events will help us get closer to that goal," Gatzke concluded. Last year's total was nearly $120,000.

The reason for it all

Brunsvold shared some inspiring statistics about what is possible because of the funds raised during the Relay for Life events. She explained that, in 2011, Relay for Life dollars returned directly to Fillmore County assisted 37 patients and families in the county, with 24 of those residents being newly diagnosed cancer patients.

"By doing what we are doing, we are also advocating that everyone has the right to life-saving cancer screenings," she added.

Two area residents have received financial assistance, 31 have received information, three received free lodging, eight received patient programs (such as Look Good-Feel Better and Reach to Recovery), nine have received transportation assistance, seven gas cards were issued, one new wig was issued and 104 nights of lodging were provided at Hope Lodge.

Mark your calendars

So, mark your calendars and make an effort to attend these upcoming fundraising events, supporting the Fillmore County Relay for Life.

"There are so many people out there that need help with so many different expenses, but I truly believe that each dollar raised gets us a little closer to finding a cure," Brunsvold concluded.