Now that's not at all what it sounds like...I didn't DO the Fishin' Mission... however, I did hang out with them on their 36th Annual in June, and, as always, there were adventures aplenty.
Steve -- "The Mayor" -- was in charge of t-shirts this year, and it doesn't take a Ph.D. to realize he'll probably never be invited to take on that responsibility again. This picture doesn't do them justice, but, well, they're NEON YELLOW. Yes...the Fishin' Mission were glowin' in the dark this year. A good way to keep from losing each other on those drunk nights at Rhino's and Sportsmen's, yes, but a fashion statement? Not so much.
Ever on the hunt for more supporters for the Fishin' Mission Foundation, Gary -- "The Commish" -- managed to woo yet another organized group of fishermen this year. I don't recall their official name, but they're the "Fish-for-the-Stick" guys: Whoever wins their fishing contest each year gets his name on a little bronze plaque on a walking stick that's kept in the group. The Mission posed with some of them here at Rhino's. Where else?
And, as has become tradition, the hardcore Mission-aries hung around through Tuesday for their Annual Golf Tournament. This year, they surprised us by renaming the tournament after Dad. Here, all the guys posed with the memorial for Dad that is on the first hole at the course in Hawthorne. Note the inscription on the memorial: "Two Ball Billy." I explained how he got his golf nickname in the eulogy I gave at his service in October: "You know how sometimes when you try to hit the golf ball, it just rolls a tiny way?....Dad did that a lot. When he did it, he would calmly stick his hand in his pocket, pull out a fresh ball, and tee up again – as though this were his right. Typically, his second swing would be a good one. He’d then point at the second ball, matter-of-factly look back at his buddies, and say, 'I’ll take that one.' That’s how he got the nickname, 'Two-Ball Billy.'"
After the tourney, all the guys joined us at Mom's house for yet another tradition, my RATPOD fundraising dinner. Ride Around the Pioneers in One Day is the 135-mile ride I do up in Montana at the end of June to help raise money for Camp-Mak-A-Dream, a kids' cancer camp there. Missy and Kim help me cook, and the guys donate money to dine on Hot and Sour Shrimp, Cashew Chicken, Ginger Beef, and homemade Egg Rolls. They donated a whopping $400 this year! I'm so damn lucky to know such great guys!!!
Of course, the cooking isn't all serious business.
While we cook, the guys hang out on the deck, enjoying the view of the Sierras, a few beers, and each other. Gary and Mark are feelin' the love here.
Of course, Lacey provides a little entertainment before dinner, too. Here, Chuck -- "The Professor" -- gets schooled on how to REALLY fish.
Mark and Toni -- "Sparky" -- tellin' lies.
Carm is likely telling OD what a great dancer he is, and how all the girls in Bridgeport can't get enough of him.
Back in the kitchen, Lacey entertained the cooks with a little gymnastics between Grandma Lyn's counters.
And finally, the food was ready! Chuck and Smilin' Jim didn't need to be told twice.
Poor Gary is still bummed he can't have the shrimp. Well, unless he wants his throat to swell up to the size of a blowfish.
Larry -- "Here for the Beer" -- gettin' his food on.
And a bunch of the boys finally settled down to eat. It got really quiet.
Another successful Mission. And it appears Gary finally believes it's a tradition that will stick.
Can't wait 'til the 37th!