Many Gems Were Unveiled in the Emerald City at Junior Auxiliary Annual Trivia Challenge

Junior Auxiliary of Taney County (JATC) held its 17th Annual Trivia Night on March 25, and the hearts, brains and courage of the generous community were on display from the time guests entered through the Emerald Gates at 5:30 until the last guest left at 10pm.  The theme was “A Night in the Emerald City” and close to 200 guests joined in the fun at the Radisson Hotel Branson.

The Radisson ballroom sparkled with glittering themed décor reflecting the Emerald City theme and green was the color of choice. Generous local and national businesses donated raffle prizes and auction items.  Blake Walker was the Great and Powerful Oz emcee and the Music Maestro was Mike Cathcart.   The Branson High School jazz band, led by Dave Opperman, played music while guests enjoyed their dinner and bid on the more than 150 Silent Auction items.  Guests generously donated over $400 for the band through tips and by participating in a “guess the number of gold balls” challenge.

Lucky winners of the raffle prizes were Dylan Brewer ($500 cash); Brenda Romine (All Day Pontoon rental at State Park Marina + Marina Gift Bag + $150.00 State Park Marina Gift Card); Becky Koehler (One-night stay at Falls Lodge at Big Cedar + Dinner for 2 at Devil’s Pool + 2 Attraction Tickets + $50.00 Big Cedar Gift Card); and Janet Bezzerides (Two-night stay at Chateau On the Lake + $150.00 Chateau Gift Card).  Cash and gift card prizes were donated by Doug Baker State Farm Insurance of Branson, Missouri, a JA Sustaining Member.

The lucky winners of the special boxed wine at the Wine Pull event were Greg and Roz Slavik. 

Over 150 Silent auction items were available for bidding.  Signature items were $800 certificate toward a new shower enclosure from Binswanger Glass; 4 One Day Park Hopper Passes at Walt Disney; 2 round-trip tickets on VIA Airlines from Branson Airport; Senior Portrait Package from Pat Lambert Photography and “Explore Historical Hollister” package from the businesses located on Historical Downing Street.   Other valuable items included a weekend getaway to St. Louis; one-day float trip on the Buffalo River; family day package at the Branson AquaPlex, Track Family Fun Park and Culver’s; MSU tent theater tickets; lunch for 2 for a week around Branson; bird house & bird seed; Weber grill; oil change for a year Mt. Pleasant winery 101 course; one-day casino trip; tennis lessons and many other restaurant, theater and attraction tickets.

In addition, Clyde Michael, officiated a live auction for 3 grand prizes including 2 nights, dinner for 4 and $50 Gift Certificate at D’Monaco Resort; 5 course dinner for 8 with wine pairings from Houlihan’s Restaurant & Bar; and $500 Certificate from Holiday Planners LLC plus 2 piece set of luggage from Belk’s.

Kelsey Brown, Cassie VanderLaan and Sarah Kreul walked the room selling raffle tickets and their efforts resulted in raising over $5500.   Before the Trivia Challenge began, Junior Auxiliary honored Binswanger Glass as a Sustaining Member for their continued support to JATC and the children of Taney County.  They were represented by Paul Norman and Jason Roussan, who accepted the award acknowledging multiple years of donating showcase items, table of 8 prizes, sponsoring a table and providing space in their offices for Tender Critters and School Supplies drop-off throughout the year.

Other generous donors included Lowe’s, The Sign Man, Dale Sander’s American Family Insurance, Sir Speedy Printing, Lilley’s Landing, Ozark Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat, Branson Bank, Joyce & Rodney Wood.  Many businesses sponsored tables including Doug Baker State Farm Insurance, Central Bank of Branson, Great Southern Bank, Bear Creek Farms, Binswanger Glass, Trimble & Associates, Keller Williams and White River Valley Electric Company.

The main event for the evening was a lively trivia contest in which 24 eight-member teams competed to answer eighty questions.

We’re Smarter than We Look” took the first prize and will have their team name engraved on the plaque that honors all the winners through the years.  Trimble and Associates - Wrong Side of the Bridge” last year’s 2nd place finishers took second place again, and “The Yellow Bricks” came in third.  Each winning team took home fun gift prizes related to the theme and donated by area businesses.

JATC’s 17th Annual Trivia Challenge was Co-chaired this year by Paula Gillispie and Linda Lewis.  JA’s major fund-raiser, earning almost $20,000 through table sales, raffle, auctions, wine pull and sponsorships, supports JATC’s numerous community projects.  A list of donors and more information about the event and JA’s projects, can be found on the Junior Auxiliary website JATCMO.ORG, their Facebook page (Junior Auxiliary of Taney County) or via email at

The funds raised through this event are 100% reinvested in our community, supporting a variety of projects aimed at addressing the needs of children and families. This includes Tender Critters, Santa’s Gift House, College Scholarships for seniors at all four Taney County public high schools; Prom Dresses for girls in need; Heart of the Arts supporting arts activities for clients of the Developmental Center; Learners Today-Leaders Tomorrow (LT2) to enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies at Bradleyville Elementary School; financial and labor support for the Women’s Crisis Center; School Supplies “refreshment” in January for elementary schools; andHomework Helpers where children in extended-stay motels receive snacks, enrichment programs, reading and homework help.

Also, JATC raises money from other events such as Belk’s Charity Days, Schwan’s Cares, AmazonSmile, Give Ozarks Day, Mr. G’s Annual JATC Days, the Branson Women’s Expo, grants and individual donations. 

JATC is more than a nonprofit organization, it is a group of women united by a single cause and dedicated to helping the children of Taney County.  That’s the magic of JATC.  It was chartered by a group of caring, enthusiastic women in 1998 and continues to grow and thrive throughout Taney County.  Approximately 50 members annually contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours as they strive to improve the mental, physical, social and emotional well-being of children in Taney County.

JATC is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA), a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with headquarters in Greenville, Mississippi.  NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in 98 chapters located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Their slogan is “Care Today-Character Tomorrow”.


Published: Tri-Lakes News, Saturday, May 13, 2017; Hometown Daily News, Sunday, May 14, 2017