10th Anniversary | Good Morning World! [From BA 42-200]
Good Morning, World:
After the good times in Chicago, myself and the other carnies have been hanging around the Beer Factory for the last week or so catching up on a few things: painting new signs; high-fiving everybody; building a few new art bikes; and doing math. I also got to eat the anniversary lunch (the Brewery buys everybody lunch once a month to celebrate said month’s anniversaries and birthdays; it was July, and it was awesome—gyros and stuff, a little baklava, and a bunch of olives, totally delicious).
I also got to hang out with Bogan. Most of you don’t know who that is, but I’m going to let you in on the secret. Bogan was a carnie with the 2007 Tour de Fat, and from my understanding he was quite good at it. He lifted things, didn’t complain, was good with the kiddies, only yelled a couple of times, and was a champion of the art bike pit. Anywho, Bogan and I did some mountain biking (really fun), did some hanging out (even more fun), we even ate sandwiches after an evening of malt liquor in a can (high point of the week—it was late at night and those sandwiches were excellent).
Bogan took a minute to drop some carnie knowledge on me. He said “Buss-man (his pronunciation, heavy stress on the first syllable), this job is about bringing the fun, and it ain’t all glamour and glitz—sometimes you gotta git your hands dirty, sometimes you gotta reach down into the mud puddle of life and use your big strong arms to wrench out the fun, use your sock to wipe off the mud, then throw the fun to the people, but don’t throw it too hard, just kind of lob it. That way it’s easier to catch and nobody will jam a finger.”
So now I take Bogan’s advice to the road. I jump into that big truck packed to the hilt with fun and I drive towards you. And when I arrive I will carefully unpack the fun, gently lay it on the grass and wait for you to show up, and when you do I will lob the fun right at you, you will catch it, and all of us will have a memorable day filled with bikes and beer and other things that are good. And frankly world, I can’t wait.
Dear Good People of Truckee, California:
You should be proud of yourselves. That, my friends, was a real good time. So good, in fact, I wrote a haiku about the experience (and I don’t just write haikus for anything; it has to be special):
Truckee has good times
We all laughed and shared some smiles
You folks sure do shred
All of us on Team TdF had a wonderful time in your fair city. There were good times had at the Tourist Club (KARAOKE…YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!), and quiet and thoughtful times at the Truckee Book and Bean (as well as delicious coffee). Carnie Pete even met a few new friends to take him bouldering (and that is always a treat for him because he loves climbing on stuff, and a treat for me because his mustache makes me nervous).
Then there was the Tour de Fat itself. I spent most of my day in the art bike pit watching the smiles, and I was truly impressed with the amount of unicycle talent in your town. Is it true you have to learn to ride the singlewheeled party machine in order to live in Truckee? It seems like it, anyway. And the show went off, the party vibe was pleasant, the sound was good, the beer was cold, and the sun was out, but not in the searing way that makes it all hot and sweaty. I’m pretty sure I had the best time I’ve ever had in my whole life, maybe.
Truckee, I love you, and I will see you again.
Dear Portland, City of Roses:
Who knew you could be so warm? And by warm I mean super hot, like SUPER, SUPER HOT! But the good news is after spending 35 hours working in the direct sun I have a killer tan, and I think it makes me look pretty, and finally ready for summer swimwear. Until now I have been feeling pretty pasty on the arms, and my farmer’s tan had yet to fully blossom. But after seeing you, Portland, all that has been taken care of. My neck is carrying a nice tomato hue and my arms are looking like the shell of a coconut (dark brown and woody, cracking in a few spots). And my legs, whoo boy. As if you didn’t know, I love the jean shorts, they’re pretty much my summer uniform, cut off a few inches above the knee, and that’s the spot where my legs turn from plain yogurt to rich mahogany. That was just the summer weather I needed.
The show was great, people ducking from one shady spot to another to see the music and sideshows, visiting me and the other carnies in the art bike pit, saying hello, and asking Pete how his mustache stays so coifed and stylish (it’s a mystery, but I think he uses rubber cement, though that’s not yet confirmed).
Thank you Portland, it was a real good time. All of us here at New Belgium HQ are indebted to you.
The TdF crew made it back to HQ safe and sound after six long and very continuous weeks of travel. We were greeted with high-fives galore from the New Belgium Mothership, and they all seemed genuinely pleased to see us. This pleasure could have been derived from our extended absence, but more likely they know the Fort Collins Tour de Fat is next in the queue. Everyone around here has been looking forward to September 6th, 2008 (the exact date of this year’s TdF) since September 8th, 2007 (the exact date of last year’s TdF).
But before I jump the gun (an awesome track and field reference [topical, seeing as how this is an Olympic year]), I should send salutations to your lovely and pronunciation-conscious town. Boise—you are a fine, fine place and I love you with the entirety of the heart I have tattooed on my left arm. I mean, it seems you have everything: nice people, lots of bikes, bars that are fun to hang out in, a great food co-op, a fantastic record store, and Buck Hunter Safari behind every door. It only took a few minutes of being in your fine city before I learned the proper pronunciation of Boise is (phonetically) Boy-C, and man did I learn my lesson the hard way. You people are serious about that, and should be; proper pronunciation is of the utmost importance, especially in Idaho.
When I was first corrected I was saying to the nice man behind the counter at the Hotel 43, “Man, Boise (incorrectly pronounced at the time, Boy-Z) seems like a really cool place to be,” and immediately he responded, “Boise (pronounced Boy-C, and said sort of slowly and deliberately so I would see the error in my own pronunciation) is a really cool place to be. There’s a ton of stuff to do, and great people to do those things with. And on top of all that, there are a great many places to play Buck Hunter Safari if you are into such arcade games.” I thanked him for his insight, and continued to check into my room, blown away at his civic pride, and newly aware of the proper pronunciation of Boise.
And how about that Tour De Fat? Fun, outrageous, and barely hotter than the sun. The stars were aligned, apparently, and everyone enjoyed every minute of it, especially me. The art bike pit was huge and surrounded by a white picket fence and I got some sweet Polaroids of the whole event. The bands were off the hook and we all got to enjoy the Sprockettes’ last show of the 2008 Tour De Fat. Those women are fan-tas-tic—the fury of all that pink and black is truly a force with which to reckon.
Boise, you know how to party, and paired with my love of partying, I imagine that was not the last time you’ll see me. Thank you for the memories, and to paraphrase the venerable Bette Midler, “Boise (with the proper Boy-C pronunciation [Ms. Midler is a smart and classy woman]), you are the wind beneath my wings.”
Loving you all,
Dearest Fort Collins:
The hometown show has come and gone, and the party at the Beer Factory was a major success. I think I saw one million smiling faces (and I’m pretty good at math and counting, so trust me on this one). The parade couldn’t have been more fun either: there were weird bikes, great costumes, 7,000 people, and a fun stretch of road where the come-ers got to high-five the go-ers in a direct pass up and down La Porte Street.
Then the party started and it was Awesome with a capital A. The fine folks from Re-source had a bunch of games set up (all made from recycled materials); there were three stages (the third acoustic stage was a real treat—I gave a big, soothing, and acoustic slap on the back to all who performed there); and the art bike pit, man, that was something special. We had great riders and bad; we had stunning performances of strength and skill; we had horrible performances of clumsiness and carnage; and we had fun (and I mean Fun with a capital F).
MarchFourth (get it, it’s a play on words) blew it up! Those folks get people to shake it, and man, did people shake it in Fort Collins. Out of the one million smiling faces I saw, I bet 450,162 of them were during that set (dancing and smiling go hand-in-hand, you know).
For real. I’m glad I was a part of it, and Fort Collins, I’m really glad you were, too.
Until next year,
Illustration by Ryan McKee