Every year at the end of eventing season I send out a few emails to my dear friends in the New Belgium eventing department requesting season wrap up kind of material, you know, the juiciest of details, in order to inform you, the reader, about the inner workings and outer statistics of the season's best events. I put these updates on the blog periodically for you folks to take it in. This year I had our very own Clips of Faith road warrior, our man from Souix City, "Very Dressy" Jesse (pictured during a very normal commute to work, at right) respond to this request in the bestest and funniest possible way, a 3000 word opus of NBB eventing shenanigans. He nailed it, all the facts and figures are straight, as well as the small stuff he used to really personalize it. It's as if this guy used to be a reporter for a well known regional paper (he did). I present this to you now, in two parts (part two to follow tomorrow). So, here it is, part one, entitled "The First Half of the Whole Clips of Faith, 2011":
The world was rumored to be heading to its demise on May 21, 2011.
I'm really glad it didn't.
If this most recent warning of the apocalypse had gone as predicted, my last weekend on earth would have been spent exhausted, dripping wet with rain, covered with grass and mud, assisting in the relocation of a dozen or so soiled port-a-potties between the hours of midnight and 1 a.m.
Yes, that weekend was my first working as an Eventer for New Belgium Brewing Company. Eventers go by many names at NBB – roadies, road dogs, and, my favorite, carnies. Regardless of the name, the gig is the same - travel from town to town spreading NBB love. In my case, I spread BeerTD's via the Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour, an outdoor philanthropic celebration of handmade beers and films that made its way across 18 cities this summer. Think of it as a beer and film carnival held in a park where all the proceeds from the sale of ale go to a good cause. The job was basically this: Show up to a town, organize some volunteers, spill the contents of a 26-foot trailer out onto the grass of an outdoor space, show some movies, serve some beer, pack it all back up and go to bed.
From a brush with a sideburn hating movie extra to a pornography-related introduction, my summer was a blur of time zones, weather patterns, airports, new friends, delicious beers and only one near death experience. It was also one I will never forget.
And now, for your reading pleasure, a recap of my life as a Clips of Faith Eventer:
St. Louis, Missouri
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,110
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Turns out the Midwest in May is kind of a weatherman’s dream, an eventer’s nightmare. The rain, rain wouldn’t go away on this day, making for a really long start to the tour. This stop could have been considered two events as the inclement weather forced us to tear down our site – a dozen or so 10x10 tents, tables, chairs, artwork, sound system, 400-pound inflatable movie screen – and drag it all up a slippery, increasingly muddied hill to a large shelter. The results were a questioning of my decision to take this job and the loss of what would be the first of many pairs of shoes. These particular classic Asics had picked up such a unique funk from tromping around in the slop that, upon returning home and setting them out, my girlfriend scolded the dog for peeing on them. That’s the only thing that could have made them smell so foul, she figured.
Kansas City, Missouri
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $6,561
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: With many friends in attendance at this one, the pressure was on for me to perform my new gig at a pro level. That’s why it was extremely embarrassing when I overlooked one cord – the one connecting a DVD player to the projector – resulting in a few minutes delay to the start of the night’s film showing. Only about 800 people noticed. Funny thing about throwing events – so many things can go wrong or get overlooked that the ones that do are often the most noticeable.
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $2,857
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: One interesting aspect of the job was sharing hotel rooms with co-workers. Being a new employee, I was meeting most of these people for the first time. This can lead to some memorable get-to-know-you moments. My roommate for this stop was a coworker hailing from Chicago who came to the home of the Hoosiers to help us put on the party. He wasn’t expected to reach the hotel until the wee hours. Not wanting him to arrive to a dark room and a sleeping stranger, I turned all the lights on and turned up “Avatar” to help me fight off sleep. Didn’t work. While I slept away, this coworker entered the room to find that “Avatar” had ended and had been followed by a rather risqué flick. He entered the room as the plot was reaching… um… a climax of sorts. At first he thought he had caught me watching porn, but upon learning I was out like a light, worried that I would wake and accuse him of watching porn while I slept. After a quick discussion the next a.m., we became fast friends. We didn’t turn on the TV that night.
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $1,487
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Our tiny but mighty team of three took a tremendous blow this week when one of my coworkers went down with a vicious rec league softball injury. A pop fly was called. A pop fly call was ignored. Feelings were hurt. Ribs were damaged. That’s why when I called my still standing co-worker from O’Hare Airport, the one already in Madison, to tell her that my connecting flight from Chicago to Madison had been canceled, the news didn’t go over very well. One well-timed compliment regarding how great the ticketing agent’s recent manicure looked and I was on the next flight. Madison, like most of our stops, turned out to be a very impressive city. Aside from its scenic qualities, Madison’s population seemed extremely engaged and carried out civic duties with fervor. The streets circling the state capital were home to a tent city of union workers protesting a move by the governor to limit the collective bargaining power of teachers and other public workers. The same streets were also home to one of the biggest farmer’s markets I’ve ever seen, where strangely, everyone browsed by walking around clockwise. We learned this when we started walking in the other direction. We didn’t get far.
Des Moines, Iowa
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $3,544
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: 3 a.m. End of an18-hour workday. Six New Belgium coworkers sitting around drinking beers in a downtown Des Moines hotel lobby. One really drunk hotel guest who decides to run up a two-story escalator while security decides whether or not to chase him. Perfect end to a great day in the Hawkeye State.
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $6,689
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: The 18 short films shown during the Clips of Faith tour represented a great collection of independent filmmakers sharing a variety of messages. At nearly every tour stop the film “Scrapertown” brought tears to a few eyes. This flick told the story of “Original Scraper Bike King” Baybe Champ, a young Oakland resident who started a club that aims to keep at-risk youth off the streets by engaging them in the act of building scraper bikes. These bicycles are budget-friendly customs made by spray painting the frames and wrapping the spokes of the wheels with tape, tinfoil or anything else a person can think of. In Boulder, we were lucky enough to have Baybe Champ in the audience and he was pumped to get on the mic for a bit of freestyle rapping and to spread his message of violence prevention via bicycling. When people ask me why New Belgium would spend a grip of money on this tour that racks up the bills but doesn’t pay any, I reference this night in Boulder. Not only did the residents of this community come together to raise nearly $7k for a local bike-related nonprofit, they also gave a young man the attention, acknowledgement and applause that just might encourage him to keep trying to change the world, two wheels at a time.
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $3,379
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Ever heard of a haboob? Go ahead, Google it. Nothing graphic will appear, I promise. A haboob is a sand storm of devastating proportions. We’re talking a 5,000-foot tall wall of sand rolling through towns at crazy fast speeds. We missed the Phoenix haboob by one day. We didn’t miss the monsoon that followed, which, a bit north in Flagstaff, is widely known to occur during the exact week we were there to put on an outdoor event. The rain was a bit of a damper (ba dum tsh), but luckily it had stopped by the time one of the lights we used to illuminate the event grounds started on fire due to a manufacturing defect.
Santa Cruz, California
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $5,495
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: Taking advantage of my seaside location with a paddle boarding session should have been the highlight here. But only one day prior the Clips of Faith team had a brush with fame in the form of a “Howard the Duck” extra. This man, who harbored a deep hatred of sideburns evident by his not only shaving them off, but ensuring no sideburns at all by shaving up into his temple area, walked up to us as we ate lunch. Confused and thinking Clips of Faith was an open casting call, he offered up his services, his only resume mention being the bit part in the film about a humanoid alien duck who is sucked to earth, to Cleveland, no less. Sadly, we had no work to offer him. I wonder if he knew our overnight hotel clerk, the lady who wore the golden cape and was pissed she missed the “Harry Potter” film premier.
MONEY RAISED FOR LOCAL NONPROFITS: $5,400
RANDOM ACTS OF EVENTING: An illuminated, musical custom bicycle; many large men wearing wee bits of spandex and capes; a rather strong Jamaican contingent; finding hotel rooms for “service” dogs; bicyclists refusing to bathe; an invite to a rowdy after-hours party with HEAVY dance floor petting. I’ll leave it at that. You should visit.
Please stay tuned friends, the exciting conclusion (entitled "The Last Half of the Whole Clips of Faith, 2011") will be out tomorrow with everything required to finish such a great story. Until then...