In the Spring of 2004, there were five Rotary Clubs in the Truckee Meadows. 
RCS In the Beginning
by The Charter Daddy (Jim Annis)
In the Spring of 2004, there were five Rotary Clubs in the Truckee Meadows.  The Rotary Club of Reno met at noon on Mondays at Harrah’s, Reno Central met for lunch on Tuesdays at the Peppermill, the Rotary Club of Sparks met at the Nugget for lunch, Reno South was a lunch club that met at the Atlantis and the Reno Sunrise Club met for breakfast at the Holiday Hotel.  Underserved times were “evening” and “breakfast” meetings and underserved areas were the growing south part of Reno and the emerging northeast part of Sparks.
The District 5190 District Governor in 2004-2005 was Steve Snyder, who ultimately became a Rotary International Board Member.  The time frame of Steve’s district governorship coincided with the centennial anniversary of Rotary…. February 23, 1905.  Steve’s goal was to start two “centennial” clubs in Reno (District 5190’s largest community) serving the underserved parts of the Truckee Meadows, thus the start of our club which chartered on October 28, 2004  and the birth of the Rotary Club of Sparks Centennial Sunrise which chartered on February 23, 2005.
Tim Ruffin, long-time Rotarian and a member of Reno Central and a good friend of mine was the Area Governor at the time.  Tim had actually hired my son Kevin in earlier that year to work at Colliers International in the commercial real estate business.  District Governor Snyder charged Tim with finding the two people willing to be a charter president of a Rotary Club.  If you talk to Tim, it was an easy choice.  He had his eyes on me for our club and on Scott Barnes, a member of his club, to be the Charter President of Sparks Sunrise.
So, in late Spring of 2004, Tim asked me if I would want to charter a new club that met in the south end of town and in the evening.  Understand that I had just started my business two years earlier and that my office was in the south end of town.  I told Tim that I would think about.  Two weeks later Tim and I were driving to a Sparks Rotary meeting to give an award and I told Tim that I could not be the charter president because of business and family commitments.  He said it was too late and that he had already told all the local presidents that I was going to do it and, as a matter of fact, the meeting we were going to in Sparks was to formally announce such!  At that point, I could NOT say no, and accepted the responsibility of chartering a new Rotary Club.
Rotary International has a lot of information about starting a new club.  In my eyes, there were two primary factors:  recruit members and establish your venue.
One of the suggestions that RI has about recruiting members to a new club is to assemble a group of EXISTING Rotarians to use as the “core” of your new club.  Being a charter member of a Rotary Club is a big honor, so once word got out that we were starting a new club, the likes of Larie Trippet, Joe Musser, Mark Schauss and Chip Lindloff contacted me and we had the foundation for our club and we started holding organizational meetings in the summer of 2004.  At that time, I was a member of the Rotary Club of Reno (the old farts club) and at one Monday meeting I was introduced to a guy who was moving from a club in Concord and was looking for a club here.  Dennis McCormac was deciding which club to join.  The whole organizing committee put on our “sales” hat, and, thankfully, Dennis decided to be a part of our new club.  Not just a part, but the CHARTER VICE-PRESIDENT.  So, the organization was complete with non-detail people like me and with wonderfully detailed people like Dennis and Larie.  This was great because I could work on recruiting new members and getting a venue.
We all took a part in recruiting members for our club and we chartered with 43 members.  This was an exceptional number for a new club.  Among those charter members new to Rotary at the time and STILL with our club are Duane Upton, Dave Zybert, Ralph Koss and Ken Petring.  Our club size has hovered around 40 for 15 years and it would be nice to get it to 50 members!
In the summer of 2004, my favorite business lunch place was Austin’s, which was located where Napa-Sonoma South is located now.  Our very first meeting in late October was held at a side room in Austin’s, but the room was way to small.  So, the month of November we met at Mimi’s, taking over the west side room at Mimi’s every Tuesday night with limited menu options and poor acoustics!  We put up with of these “temporary” locations because we knew that the Tamarack Junction Casino was opening a new conference room area north of the casino in early December 2004.  Casey Sullivan, General Manager of the Tamarack, was a charter member.  Sure enough, our first meeting was on December 7, 2004, at the Tamarack Junction Casino and we were there until a few years ago.  As a matter of fact, we were the FIRST event for the Tamarack in their conference room area.
So, with membership and venue taken care of, I could focus on meetings.  I had attended Rotary meetings as a high schooler as my dad was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, and those meetings always seemed to be so much fun with such great fellowship.  And then I attended some meetings downtown that frankly weren’t very much fun.  My thought was that if we were going to ask someone to spend 1 ½ hours away from their family, etc., on every Tuesday night, that if it is fun members will want to keep coming back.  I have over 300 hats, so I started doing a stupid “hat schtick” every night that ended up being “fun”, and we became, and still are the “FUN” club!  Our club does so much for a small club, and we do it with a smile on our face and great fellowship.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the continued energy of our club.  I am so appreciative that 15 years later the efforts of the organizational committee and the charter members are continued in what I think is the BEST Rotary Club in the Truckee Meadows!