If you're a beach person, Christmas at the beach is a must

rdymond@bradenton.comDecember 24, 2012 

HOLMES BEACH -- In their efforts to fully unlock the mysteries of the human DNA strand, perhaps scientists will one day be surprised when they come across a heretofore undiscovered bit.

That bit, as we already surmise, determines whether a person will grow up wanting to celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays on the beach or in a house.

On Monday, one could see hundreds of people at Manatee Public Beach who carry the gene for holidays at the beach, none more proudly than the Beerkircher, Boehm and Stang families from Wisconsin and the Slone, Rossow and Carroll families from Michigan,

Of course, if you carry the gene, you feel compelled to wear your state sweatshirt to the beach, as Brent Stang proudly did, sporting his Wisconsin Badgers attire.

The reason for this is that holiday-at-the beach gene-carriers have an elaborate communication system.

"Go Wolverines," Ray Slone of Michigan yelled at Brent Stang.

"Go Badgers," yelled Brent's sister-in-law, Brenda Boehm back at the complete stranger.

That's all the communication between them that was required.

Christmas-at-the beach began in the Beerkircher family with gene-carrying grandparents Ron and Kathy Beerkircher, who now are Wisconsin snowbirds, making their winter home at Arbor Terrace off 14th Street West, where they stay in a motor home.

Years earlier, they raised two daughters, Brenda and Rhonda, in Columbus, Wis., not far from Madison.

The girls grew up steeped in the Wisconsin life, including boating, traveling, hiking, camping, fishing and all kinds of sports.

Like most Wisconsin residents, they love the Badgers and Green Bay Packers.

Rhonda was a water skier in the Tommy Bartlett Show in the Wisconsin Dells, married Madison's Brent Stang, a information technology expert with the state of Wisconsin, and they have two daughters, Paige, 11, who can barefoot ski and wakeboard, and Peyton, 3.

Brenda is a hair stylist who married Seth Boehm, a tow truck operator, from Madison and they have two boys, Chance 12, and Luke, 10.

Their daughters, sons-in-law and four grandchildren are the lights of the world to them, the Beerkirchers said.

"When they arrive for Christmas we cry," Kathy Beerkircher said of her family, which has been meeting in Bradenton for Christmas at the beach for close to 15 years.

Brenda said the family also can't wait to come to Bradenton at Christmas.

"The day before we left this year it snowed," Brenda Boehm said. "We got out in the nick of time."

On Sunday, when the sun was warm, Chance and Luke swam and boogie-boarded. The rest of the family sat on the beach and Brenda was in charge of calling the Beerkirchers to get updates on the Green Bay game, which the Packers won 55-7.

"We gave them seven points just to be nice," said Ron Beerkircher, a fertilizer salesman in Columbus for many years.

Monday's Christmas Eve was a bit chilly as far as Floridians were concerned, but it felt like a cool summer day in Madison to Seth Boehm.

"If we had a day like this back in Wisconsin we'd be boating," he said.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be contacted ay 941-748-0411, ext. 6686, or tweet @RichardDymond.

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