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Germantown women roll the dice for fundraiser

Groups turn friendly competition into full-fledged giving

Jennifer Ecke (left) Deb Stresing, Joy Haizel and Sandi Hanson (right) roll at Table 1 during the Germantown Bunco Babes Challenge at the Blackstone Creek Golf Course that drew 66 players and raised more than $1,200 for the Friends of Abused Families and the Washington County Humane Society on Jan. 16.

Jennifer Ecke (left) Deb Stresing, Joy Haizel and Sandi Hanson (right) roll at Table 1 during the Germantown Bunco Babes Challenge at the Blackstone Creek Golf Course that drew 66 players and raised more than $1,200 for the Friends of Abused Families and the Washington County Humane Society on Jan. 16. Photo By NOW Photo by C.T. Kruger

Jan. 22, 2013

Germantown - A group of Germantown women turned their hobby into charity.

What started as a friendly Bunco competition last year has now turned into a successful fundraising event for local nonprofit organizations.

Germantown resident Carol Miller and her friend, Diane Jewell, belonged to separate Bunco groups. Bunco is a team game played with three dice. The winning team is the first to reach 21 points.

Bunco groups typically charge a set fee per player, which is divvied up to the winners at the end of the game. When Jewell decided to play Bunco in two local groups, Miller would constantly tease her friend about which group was more fun.

It wasn't long before a challenge was borne to see which Bunco group could beat the other. Instead of taking each other's money at the end of the game, Jewell, Miller and Germantown residents Nancy Whalen and Cheri Scha derberg decided to turn the competition into a full-fledged charity event called the Annual Germantown Bunco Challenge.

It began as cordial bantering and turned into a 60-person, multi-team Bunco game that raised about $1,400 in 2012. The money was given to both the Washington County Humane Society and Friends of Abused Families in Washington County. Members of each Bunco group voted to select these two charities out of five options.

"We were dumbfounded," Miller said of the unexpected turnout. "The Humane Society called it a success story."

Last week, the second Bunco Challenge took place, raising $1,400 that was split between the two charities. More than 60 women from various Bunco groups participated at the event held at Blackstone Creek Golf Club.

Golf Course Owner Troy Schmidt donated the facility for the event. The Humane Society also brought one of the animals that is up for adoption.

"I was shocked at the amount raised," Jewell said.

This is just the beginning for the fundraiser started by four friends.

"We'd love to grow it," Miller said of next year's Bunco Challenge.

Local Bunco groups are encouraged to attend next year's event. Depending on how many people sign up, the event may move to a larger venue.

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