4 guys in pink hit the road for Super Bowl
By CHRIS SMITH
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Four decked-out dudes in a flashy limo departed Sonoma County on Sunday, oozing with resolve to join the human wave that will engulf New
Orleans a week hence for the 47th Super Bowl.
But not one of the guys holds a ticket to the big Niners-Ravens game. And not one intends to try to buy one.
So, do they plan to sneak into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome? Perish the thought.
“We’re not doing this to go to the game,” declared the foursome’s Dan Tregaskis, a 54-year-old truck driver living in Windsor.
A devout 49ers fan, Tregaskis understands that folks may find it hard to comprehend why he and his pals would set aside nearly two weeks and drive almost 5,000 miles on a round-trip that will place them in New Orleans for Super Bowl Sunday — and not go to the game.
The short answer is that all of the men are fathers of young women they hope will never be menaced by breast cancer. Three of the four guys bonded as they schlepped their daughters to countless school field trips and Girl Scout outings back when the girls — now women of 28 — attended St. Eugene’s Cathedral School and the former Ursuline High.
Tregaskis and his buds said none of them has to think very long to summon to mind the women they know who have grappled with the dreaded diagnosis.
Jack Tolin recalls that soon after the four of them brainstormed the possibilities for a serious 2013 road trip, the thought occurred, “If we’re going to put in all that time and effort, why not benefit somebody?”
They quickly agreed to use a cross-country adventure as a vehicle to raise money to counter breast cancer. It fell to the 66-year-old Tolin, a Santa Rosa oral surgeon, to research a worthy organization to receive the money.
He became impressed by the efficiency and mission of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which combats the disease through education and provides free mammograms to women in need.
Tolin and Tregaskis and their fellow travelers — Triple Diamond Limousine owner John Dubkoff, 56, and 65-year-old Raley’s pharmacist Roger Sprinkle — made it their goal to raise $10,000 for the foundation.
The guys had no trouble agreeing that the greatest place to have some fun and solicit donations from large numbers of charged-up people was New Orleans, on game day. All but Sprinkle have been to at least one Super Bowl, so they know what a scene it is.
On Sunday, they will all dress in pink, the rallying color of efforts to defeat breast cancer. They’ll pop up a pink sunshade as close to the stadium as they can get, then beseech passing Super Bowl fans to pause long enough to make a donation.
The men have been busy for months looking for ways to accept donations quickly, easily and electronically.
“We don’t want to touch money,” Tolin said.
He and his team set up a website, rollin4cancer.org, and also arranged to allow supporters to donate $10 by using a cellphone to text the word “Life” to 80888.
Next, the friends risked rejection by asking a few businesses to help sponsor the journey. They were surprised by the response.
“Once they hear the cause, it’s like ‘Fish on!’ ” Dubkoff said.
Redwood Coast Petroleum agreed to help fuel the Lincoln limousine that Dubkoff is donating to the cause. Signs Now of Santa Rosa charged nothing to emblazon the limo with stick-on pink flames and other catchy graphics.
LaQuinta Inns & Suites will cut the guys a break on motel rooms. Cruise America gave them a deal on a recreational vehicle that will be their home in New Orleans, and the French Quarter RV Resort will provide a spot to park the camper and the limo.
The men plan to speak to people about breast cancer all the way to New Orleans, maybe even go on a local radio station or two to talk up the road trip and invite donations.
And while the priority in The Big Easy will be to raise some serious money, they do intend to have some fun.
“Everybody keeps telling me how wonderful the night life is,” Sprinkle said. “We’ll find out.”
About the time of kick-off on Sunday, the Sonoma County team will doff the pink, don 49er gear and belly-up at a New Orleans sports bar.
Come the end of the game, they’ll either cheer the Red & Gold or cry in their beer. Then they’ll head northwest for the long drive home to see what more fun they can have and what more they can do in the quest to vanquish breast cancer.
Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and firstname.lastname@example.org.