Our Club History
In the summer of 2009, a group of Rotarians began meeting to brainstorm the establishment of a morning club in Apex. Over the next few months, members from the Apex Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Cary MacGregor and under the direction of then District Governor Bill McLaurin, the pieces began to come together to charter the new club. The Apex Sunrise Rotary Club held its first introductory meeting on November 17, 2009 at what was then the TGI Friday’s restaurant in Beaver Creek Commons. Attendance over the next few months grew, and it became apparent that the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club would become a reality.
The Apex Sunrise Rotary Club received its Charter on March 18, 2010 with 26 Charter Members. Charter Night was on April 24, 2010 at Jimmy V’s Steakhouse and Tavern in Cary. Charter officers of the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club were Terry Winebrenner, President; Taki Donovan, President-elect; Mark Wilson, Treasurer; Randy Weaver, Secretary; and Jeff Darden, Sgt. at Arms. The charter members were Randy Bossé, Mark Bryant, Marty Causby, Bob Collier, Jeff Darden, Taki Donovan, Adrian Harkey, Tom Haynie, Lisa Higginbotham, Jeffrey Hilts, Chris Jackson, Andy Lipson, David Melnik, Jean G. Orelien, John Ottaway, Sanjay Patel, John Rodgers, Michael Schmidt, Tom Sosdian, John Sperath, Justin Thomas, Daniel Wakeley, Randy Weaver, Graham Wilson, Mark Wilson, and Terry Winebrenner.
From the onset it became apparent that the new Apex Sunrise club was destined for big things. Knowing that most clubs have a signature fundraiser event and under leadership from founding club president Terry Winebrenner who at the time was a certified KCBS BBQ judge, the club decided to tackle a KCBS BBQ competition as its fundraiser. Year 1 drew more than 10,000 people to downtown Apex for the event, the Peak City Pig Fest. But navigating expenses and sponsorships was an obstacle, and the event lost money for the first two years. By Year 3 it was a “do or die” mission, and the club, comprised of a small band of overachieving Type A personalities, was committed to success. And succeed they did! From that point on, the fundraiser grew with sponsors and teams, and a volunteer army that exceeded 200 putting on the event every June in downtown Apex. The Ford family took notice and Bone Suckin’ Sauce became a title sponsor and the Bone Suckin’ Sauce Peak City Pig Fest became the largest food festival in Apex.
But the same group of overachievers was not stopping at a single signature event. Over beer and World Cup soccer one summer weekend the idea of an authentic Oktoberfest event started to take hold, under the guidance and enthusiasm of charter member Randy Bosse. In order to support a second event Randy sought support from the Apex Sunrise founding club leaders at Cary MacGregor and the partnership between the two clubs birthed the first Triangle OktoberFest event. Undaunted by early challenges of location, followed by a hurricane that threatened the event in Year 2, and with great support and partnership from the Town of Cary and Koka Booth Amphitheatre, the Triangle OktoberFest became the second of the Sunrise clubs leading signature events!