Spice Girls roll the dice
"Should we take the group picture with or without wine? Wine it is!" laughed Marie Brown, a co-founder of one of Bunco’s "longest running groups in Park City." Through kids, grandchildren, weddings, divorces and even deaths; the self-proclaimed "Spice Girls" have been through it all together in the past 15 years.
It all began with the Park City Newcomers Club, a nationwide organization that helps people transitioning to new communities. "We were all members of Newcomers Club when we first moved here, and through Newcomers Club, all kinds of different groups are formed," says Anita Price. That is how this particular Bunco group was formed.
"The set-up of Bunco is perfect because the game is constantly moving. The format of the game makes it is impossible to sit at one table and talk to the same people all night," says Carol Dalton.
Bunco is a dice game in which three tables of four of women constantly move around to try and progress to the top table. "It’s like speed dating," laughed Dalton.
The players draw scorecards that have a specific table number indicating their initial seating. Depending on whether you win or lose the round, you get to move up to the next table. The goal of the game is to roll the dice until you get to 21 points. "It’s ideal because you end up getting to know every single person in the group as well as everyone else," adds Dalton.
The game itself is of the least concern to the women playing. "In actuality, most of us absolutely hate playing Bunco!" says Anita Price, explaining that the once-a-month rendezvous serves as more of a refuge to get away husbands, children, and the stresses of work.
Diane Maynard describes Bunco as a place to enjoy "wine, gourmet food and camaraderie." After 15 years, "As much as our town has grown, we still have the same core group," she says. Even though Maynard moved to Arizona three years ago, she still manages to fly out to Park City in the summer for the monthly Bunco get-together.
Dianne Walker, also known as "corporate spice," compared the game to when women used to quilt together. "It is a mindless activity but it stands for an accepting environment." Through the adversities and changes, monthly Bunco is the constant that these women can rely on.
Between coming into a new town and raising children, the Bunco years have proven to be a unique time for these women as they establish their roots in Park City. "It’s been a pivotal 15 years in these women’s lives," says Walker.
When her job became too demanding, Walker considered quitting the Bunco group. The reply from Brown was, "You can’t quit this group, you would always regret it." Walker is still grateful for that advice. Bunco has served as an outlet to get through the struggles from "our child-rearing years to having an empty nest," she says.
Deborah Hoyt, an original member of the group, passed away in 2006, "We all thought we’d have her forever," Walker says.
Though the group members originally came from all over the country, they have since achieved Park City local status. Only one of the 12 ladies is actually from Utah. The "Spice Girls" aren’t only unique in their hometowns, but also greatly differ in personalities. From die-hard road bikers like "sporty spice" Marcy Allen, to gourmet cook Susan Lockhart, "Our longevity and diversity makes us different from any other Bunco group," says Jeannine Heil.
Though every spice is unique in flavor and origin, they all get thrown together in the same dish to create a timeless flavor of sisterhood.
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