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Friends are a hit on Rosie’s show

by Linda Hiller

Four Carson Valley friends recently found out that Rosie O’Donnell is truly “rosey” when it comes to her syndicated television show.

The women, members of O’Donnell’s “Chub Club,” geared to “Encourage members to ‘Eat less … move more,’ for a healthier lifestyle for the new millennium,” were – much to their surprise – selected to represent Nevada in a taping of the show in New York City last week.

The quartet of Lois Coleman, 64, Kiki Broderick, 62, Pat Bouharin, 59, and Kasey Miller, 34, was flown to New York, transported by stretch limousine to their hotel, wined, dined and entertained in a fast-paced, whirlwind trip, and it was all at the show’s expense.

“It was so exciting,” Coleman said. “But first, they came here and filmed us for hours – eating at Friendz, one of our favorite restaurants, on the Special Olympics walk, at the swimming pool, playing at the Carson Valley Inn and working in the yard. They were here from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 30), and we’re told that all those hours of taping will be edited down to around three minutes for the show.”

n Began in the 1930s. The odyssey to New York actually began 62 years ago, when Coleman and Broderick met in the Bayview District in San Francisco as babies because their parents were friends.

They maintained their friendship over the last six decades, and through the losses of family members, have remained like sisters – supporting each other.

Bouharin entered the equation 38 years ago, when she and Broderick met dealing cards at Harveys, and Miller is Broderick’s niece.

When O’Donnell started the Chub Club, the women – all for different health reasons – decided to get on board as a team. They enrolled via mail with the show, and then proceeded to try to, as Rosie said, get in shape for the millennium.

Bouharin and Coleman started to participate in area walks, and then everyone started striding – Special Olympics, Alzheimer’s, the American Heart Association, and the Senior Olympics, to mention a few.

n Out of the blue. One month ago, Broderick answered a telephone call from New York.

“She said, ‘Hi Kiki, I’m from the Rosie O’Donnell Show. How are you?'” Broderick said.

After expressing interest in the foursome and their Chub Club efforts, the caller asked that the group make a video of themselves and send it to the show.

They made up a skit involving two of them in wheelbarrows and the other two lifting them and wheeling them toward a pond (where Pat – a swimming instructor – eventually threw herself in as a gag), sang a song and sent it in.

Three weeks ago, another call came from people at the Rosie O’Donnell Show, saying they were sending a film crew out to Nevada to videotape the ladies.

“We were shocked,” Coleman said. “They asked us to pick a restaurant to tape in, and we had to pick Friendz, because we love it, and that’s what we are.”

“Kiki and Lois came in and told us about the show,” said Janet Turner, one of the co-owners of Friendz. “They said, ‘Would you mind if a camera crew came to film us here?’ and I said ‘Mind? Are you kidding – our restaurant on national TV? Of course we don’t mind!'”

When the show’s producer, Kim Miller, saw the restaurant, she thought it was perfect for the segment, Turner said.

“She just went on and on about the place,” Turner said. “I asked her if she thought we should open one in New York and she said ‘Yes!’ We’re so flattered.”

n Off to the Big Apple. After the taping, there was still no definite promise of a show appearance, but one day Broderick came home and found an envelope with four tickets to New York.

“Out of the 50 states, there were five selected for ‘Up close and personal’ videos, and we represented Nevada,” Broderick said. “We were so excited. I guess they liked our video.”

While in New York, the Carson Valley Wheeler Dealers – their official club name – along with 173 other Chub Club members, participated in the Rosie O Games during the taping of the show. All 177 participants were treated to dinner that night at O’Donnell’s favorite restaurant, Mars 21-12, and saw the broadway musical “Ragtime.”

They also received vouchers for all their meals, a two-night stay at the Rye Town Hilton, Reebok shoes, color-coordinated Rosie O Games shirts (theirs are red), which they wore on the show, and four Krups blenders.

The Nevada “delegation” met Chub Club members from all over the United States – groups like the OWLS, (Off With Lard Sensibly); the Chuba Wumbas; Three Girls, a Guy and No Pizza; the Chubomatics; Ladies in Weighting; and the Telechubbies (which was the Carson Valley club’s original name, but too many people chose it).

n Watch for them. In addition to meeting O’Donnell and standing with her on stage during the showing of their 3-minute video, the four said meeting other fans from around the country was a highlight of their New York adventure.

“Rosie was so down-to-earth,” Coleman said. “She made us feel so special and she is truly a genuine person.”

“She’s just phenomenal,” Broderick said. “We’re even bigger fans now.”

“We met the greatest people,” Bouharin said. “Plus, it was great to go there and represent Gardnerville.”

The show is scheduled to be aired Wednesday, Dec. 1, on channel 11 at 5 p.m., and rebroadcast at 10 p.m. on channel 6.