The dedicated planners of the Fifth Annual HPOU Family Picnic really knew how to draw a crowd. The Saturday extravaganza on Nov. 12 drew a record number of HPD officers and their families to partake of the fun, excitement and prizes for which the event has become known.
“We had more people than last year,” an elated picnic committee chairman Colton Peverill reported to the Badge & Gun. “We had 3,500 people, our biggest-ever turnout. We had more activities than we did the year before. We had a visit from Spider-man and Princess Elena.
“They were dressed in costumes and the kids definitely enjoyed that. The 5-0 Band, which is now called Phase-Down, really put on a great show for the adults.”
Prizes were awarded to a number of the young folks in the massive crowd. The top prize was a PlayStation 4 and it went to Geneva Moh, who also got a game (Minecraft) to go with this popular game system.
Another fantastic prize was a set of braces (for your teeth) donated by Dr. Jeanna Huston, wife of Officer John Huston. It was a $5,000 value. Old reliable C & G donated several prizes that included a tactical bag full of accessories.
Besides the C & G gear, the adults had to “settle” for prizes such as a 50-inch flat screen television or a Go-Pro action camera. And we can’t leave out HPOU’s great friend Alan Helfman, who donated $1,000 in sports memorabilia gifts.
Peverill said everyone seemed pleased with the same venue as last year — the Houston Farm and Ranch Club, 1 Abercrombie St., in West Houston, near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Highway 6.
Commemorative t-shirts, as usual, went fast and were sold out before the picnic festival had hardly gotten underway.
Oh, and don’t forget the food! Peverill and other picnic promoters believed no one in attendance went home hungry. That was no small wonder, what with an abundance of hotdogs, corndogs, burgers, chicken strips and French fries, along with the usual sno cones and popcorn.
Peverill said the cooking team led by HPOU Treasurer Tim Butler was never seen taking a rest. Bill Booth, Mike Mitchell and Robert Sandoval also deserve credit along with Ed Kwan, Brad Craig, Steve Turner, Mark Coleman, Paul Ogden, J. J. Mouncey, Steve Phares and Jesse Sosa.
The picnic chairman said, Robert and Tim do all the ordering and make sure they have enough of everything. I never saw Tim not on the grill. He must have cooked thousands of hamburgers. He was on the thing all day and never quit.
“Tom Hayes was responsible for the bulk of putting everything together. Luis Menendez-Sierra made sure everybody got their prices and was working hard to contact everybody.”
But what were some of the real attractions? Peverill dared to say it was the increased number of bounce houses or the tricycle races – excitement recorded on the camera of HPOU photographer Gary Hicks and spread throughout this issue of the Badge & Gun.
Obviously, you had to stand in line for certain treats. As Peverill reported, “The sno cone line was never shorter than 30 people.”
Those in attendance also stood in line to have their picture taken with celebrated attendee, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who had the picnic for the second year in a row.
Overall, Peverill noted, “No one complained. Everybody had a good time. There were more people than last year. Everybody liked the layout and they could move around the bounce houses more easily this year on a grassy area.
“We set up the picnic chairs in the middle even though there were families who have been there every year and bring their own chairs.
“Everybody was gone by 8. Next year we will shut it down a little bit earlier (than the advertised closing time of 10 p.m.). Next year we’ll do 2 til 8 instead of 2 to 10. We had plenty of seating this year, plenty of food. Everybody got to eat and those lines never backed up.”
Peverill also praised the HPD Explorers and the drama group from Cy-Fair who helped man the fort and helped to break down all the tables and chairs at the end of the day.
It was easy to see why the HPOU Family Picnic still ranks as probably the most outstanding Union-sponsored event of the calendar year.