The 2020 Fookarwie marks the twenty-fifth year that we’ve held the Walkabout. Seems like a lifetime ago that Bullseye organized what was first called the Wabash Valley Golf and Poker Invitational, and – if you look at the pictures – it looks like it too. What follows is a rough history of key moments and milestones, a few pictures, and other musings. If you have something you’d like to add, please email it to me.
1996: Wabash River Valley 36-Hole Fall Invitational & Poker Championship Winner: Chief Spiked Mocassins Runner Up: Silver Elk
Surprisingly, this first event also sported the first program guide to activities complete with player bios. [Player bios also included the first inkling of the future, as players were identified by such unique monikers as “Creamin’ Kurt”, “Bangin’ Brian”, and “Mystery Masher”; which in hindsight made the event sound vaguely pornographic.] Though the format changed dramatically over the years, an early version of the Official Fookarwie Stableford Scoring was in use here.
Rounds were played at the Country Club of Terre Haute, a venue that has been revisited several times.
1997: Who the Fookarwie 54-Hole Fall Invitational & Poker Championship Winner: Chief Coon Job, subsequently changed his name to Chief Hands Like Feet. Runner Up: Chief Spiked Mocassins Second Runner Up: Stilted Baby Fly
The first event to incorporate night golf into the games, and the first to adopt our Indian heritage. Each tribal member was christened with their Indian name. Since then, two Chiefs have exercised their option to change their names from their originals. The original tribes consisted of Kanotkomits, Prokreeatum, Itiniriquois, and Cheepawa. The individual games didn’t adopt Indian names until the following year, but in this event we played a two-man best ball, medal play, and two-man scramble.
There are sketchy reports of Talking Bull being removed from his foursome and placed in the following group, as he spent too much time in the Pro Shop trying to fax a proposal at the turn. Chief Bullseye remembers, “Here I was, grooving the best round of my life 1-under through the front nine and I had to wait for his sorry afraid-to-ask-for-a-day-off ass. Shoulda just sent him a mail bomb.”
This event marked the first migration from home lands to the hunting grounds of Silver Elk, and it was here that the tradition of using FedEx for shirt delivery became popular. Following a move of two tribal members to within 100 yards of each other, the Proximatoos Tribe was founded. Along with copious amounts of firewater, the peace pipe was shared among a few members, with various affect. Though the games have taken on various formats over the years, this was the only event to sport the dire “beer a hole” on the final round, thereby solidifying the Chiefdom of Turtle Thunder, one who has been known to play that way in the past.
The games took on names like Buffalo Hunt, Dragging Squaw, Lame Horse, Arrow Chasers, and Vision Quest. Only a few of these remain part of the program today.
Rounds played on LaFontaine Golf Club and Shady Hills Golf Club.
1999 saw the advent of the first substitutes to make an appearance, when Berry Funderwatch stepped in at the last minute to tee up for Talking Bull. Strangely, this began a precendent that has continued in a startling three consecutive years.
Following the two rounds at Rea Park, the warriors retired to a local watering hole (and multiple Alabama Slammers in honor of the Alabama game on TV) where they were seized upon by several young, nubile co-eds. Oh wait, that may have been one of Turkey’s dreams. (Or was it?) Back at the quarters there was some bizarre naming convention where we finally arrived at “Berry Funderwatch”, the entire group (wait, where did Turtle Thunder go?) settled into two poker tables for the night. The final round was played in a cold, driving rain at Hulman Links.
Berry Funderwatch joins the tribe as an able-bodied replacement for Talking Bull.
Berry rose like the Pheonix on the last day of the event to take home the coveted trophy, even though SBF shot 75 and finished the final round with only three clubs in his bag. Sulking and moody, SBF successfully lobbied for the format change which went into effect the following year, thus setting up his first win. Berry went on to plan one of the finest events to date, and created the tradition of bunking at a camping facility.
Easily one of the finest memories of any event to date, sitting on the porch of the Lodge (wait, where did Turtle Thunder go?) and naming Wandering Hairy Turkey and Speaks With Fish! This moment stands in my memory as bright and clear as anything that has happened in years. Specifically, after telling Turk about Fish! and asking him what it meant, and Turk throwing his hands up and yelling, “Because he sure as hell won’t talk to anybody else!” My God, my stomach hurts just thinking about how hard we laughed.
Wandering Hairy Turkey and Speaks With Fish! became tribal members when they were added to increase the field to 12 players. And yet, a last-minute withdrawal from Running Tongue left us groping for viable games.
Rounds played on Fort Harrison Elks and Rolling Meadows.
2001: Fookarwie, Thorntown, Indiana Winner: Chief Stilted Baby Fly Runner Up:Chief Hands Like Feet Second Runner Up: Silver Elk
In the “Great Second-Round Scandal of 2001” (in which a two-time Chief and arguably fine pressure player wasn’t selected for the War Party until the second round), SBF found victory through clever team selection and motivation skills.
The first major overhaul of the event took place in 2001, with the scoring system adopting the Official Fookarwie Stableford Scoring and the format changing to include was has become the most popular change to date the War Party. After the initial rounds, the top three warriors select their War Party, all scores return to zero, and these three take their teams on the warpath for the right to be Chief.
Broken Arrow, participating in his first event, won infamy by “accidentally” breaking his 5-iron on the 18th tee of the last event, thereby providing the necessary fodder for a new award, the “Broken Arrow Sportsmanship Award”.
This was also the first Walkabout in which TED appeared as an entity, the week following the attack on the World Trade Center. Needless to say, this had an affect on the moods of the warriors assembled. Patriotism was running high, and we were all harking back to simpler, peaceful days. As we sat assembled on Saturday afternoon, in some spontaneous fashion, old songs began to eminate from the stereo as CHLF played a collection of classics now infamously known as TED 1. I think I speak for everyone when I say that this turned into a day we’ll never forget.
Wait a minute, he was just here a minute ago… where the hell is Turtle Thunder?
Broken Arrow was nice enough to accept our invitation to step in for Running Tongue [Anyone else seeing a pattern here?] and graced us with his hot-tempered flair-ups, leading to an award that will enshrine his antics for all eternity.
This year was also recorded for posterity on the first-ever Limited Edition Fookarwie DVD.
Rounds played on Cool Lake and Quail Creek.
2002: Fookarwie, Lake Barkley, Kentucky Winner: Chief Spiked Mocassins, subsequently changed his name to Chief Bullseye, under some degree of protest. The first member to win twice becomes the first to win thrice. Runner Up: Speaks With Fish! Second Runner Up: Silver Elk
The first-ever “Broken Arrow Sportsmanship Award” recipient was Driving Three Iron (also known as 071), for removing most of his clothes on the final hole of the event and proving an invaluable member of the winning War Party.
There were certainly some odd occurrences. We watched Braveheart in the Big Ol’ Bus O’ Fun. Why? No one knows. Talking Bull requested that we let him stay home next year and just send him a mail bomb. Why? No one knows. Well, actually, I know. We played in the most torrential downpour I’ve ever seen, let alone played golf in. Why? We parked under the maintenance shed and drank for at least two hours. Why? Oh, wait… I know why we did that. Looking back, the rain and the cold were our two most common companions. I remember Berry roasting golf gloves over the open fire like they were marshmallows. I remember finishing the final round in a dark so enveloping that we didn’t notice for some time that DTI had begun taking off his clothes. I remember trying to sleep while warrior after warrior doubled up on In-Between. Didn’t I tell you all the only tip you need to play that game? PASS.
The tribe grows again… perchance for the last time. Skipping Skunk and Duke, Duke, Goose are added to the tribal roster to bring the total to 14, hoping to ensure that (at the least) we always have enough to support the competition. Running Tongue and Chief Turtle Thunder withdrew from the competition.
Rounds played on Kerry Landing and Lake Barkley State Park.
In a stunning points totaling ceremony that followed on the heels of an instant classic presentation of the Broken Arrow Award to Chief Hands Like A Cyclops by DTI, the tension was so thick you could have cut it with Talking Bull’s sand wedge [and eye mean it!], Bullseye totaled the scores from the War Party hole by hole and discovered a shocking three-way tie for Chief. Unbelievable. (Who among us didn’t think it was over until the scores from the final hole had been read?)
In keeping with a tradition (and by-laws), all ties are settled by the warriors in the tie. So Stilts, Skippy and silver elk sat down to debate the issue. (I’ll see if I can get Skippy to write a synopsis of the closed-door session.) The bottom line was this: it would be settled at the poker table. And settled it was. One hand, five card stud, with each warrior drawing one card at a time and one wild card selected by Chief Bullseye. As was the case throughout the entire event, the wild card made the difference, it changed Stilts’ hand from a pair of Queens to three of a kind, just edging out silver elk’s two pair. And he’s a bridesmaid once more…
Following Talking Bull’s marriage, a new tribe was born: The Rekomits. This hallmark occasion marked an event that is not likely be surpassed (or repeated). In founding this new tribe, Talking Bull became the first warrior to belong to four separate sub-tribes: The Itiniriquois, The Cheapawas, The Unkomits, and The Rekomits.
Chief Turtle Thunder and Broken Arrow withdrew from the competition. There is some indication that Chief Turtle Thunder is sailing the seas trying his hand at piracy and sowing his wild oats while Broken Arrow is lost in forest hunting for game to feed his family. Oh, wait… he doesn’t have a family, does he?
Oh, and TED was back, bigger and better than ever.
Rounds played on Quail Creek (Robinson, IL) and Country Club of Terre Haute.
2004: Fookarwie, Anderson, Indiana Winner: Chief Wandering Hairy Turkey Runner-Up: Stilted Baby Fly Second Runner-Up: Skipping Skunk Poker Champion: Driving Three Iron
Honestly, this entire event is a bit of a blur for me. We stayed at Mounds State Park, known far and wide for its ancient indian burial grounds. We played golf at Killbuck. It was alternately warm and bitterly cold. The first annual Fookarwie Hold ‘Em tournament commenced outside the Bus O’ Fun and left DTI and Stilts staring each other down for the title. Some bargain was struck and DTI took the trophy home (and notched another tale into the “WWKD” belt…)
Fish! had to bail on the final day for a funeral, Stilts had to bail that evening or there would have been a funeral (his). Turkey barely made it into the War Party by way of the betting standings and Stilts grumbled about his net double-eagle not being worth more than 4 points. (A grumble, I should note, that again surfaced in 2005.)
But what else of note? The camp nazi’s returned with a vengeance and Talking Bull had his car towed. Cold… so cold… I bought hand warmers and a hat and wore everything I had and was still so… cold.
A long, relaxing night around the fire proved that fellowship was stronger than the weather, stronger than the lure of poker, stronger than the effects of Captain Morgan. But still, when all is said and done, this outing remains a blur…
Rounds were played at Yule Golf Club, Killbuck, and Meadowbrook. And it was cold.
2005: Fookarwie, Nashville, Indiana Winner: Chief Bullseye Runner-Up: Chief Hands Like Feet Second Runner-Up: Speaks With Fish! Poker Champion: Driving Three Iron
Wow, talk about raising the bar… Though there were brief moments of bitter anguish (has anyone seen the scorecard?), the most dominant emotion was one of elation. In what can only be described as a fleeting flash of genius, Chief Wandering Hairy Turkey secured lodging for the tribe at the Boulder’s Lodge in Fruitdale. A speakeasy in earlier days, this hundred-year-old cabin set up on a hill surrounded by acres of forest and little else. With enough room to sleep the entire tribe, these accommodations put an end to our beloved tradition of camping in the elements. And I haven’t even mentioned hot showers, room for four simultaneous poker games, the fire ring, or the hot tub.
The golf started on what can only be described as a bitter note. Arriving for the Gentleman’s Round, participants discovered a course that had been battered and ultimately beaten by the elements. Fearing mutiny from the tribe, Turkey soon learned that perseverance and large quantities of alcohol (and fellowship) numbed the effects.
We celebrated the 10th Anniversary with a brand new web site and Official Fookarwie Poker Chips™, both lovingly crafted by Fish! (and for which he later won the coveted Sportsmanship award.) Driving Three Iron displayed both patience and cunning at the poker table (patient enough to withstand the brutal pace of play and cunning enough to take frequent bathroom breaks to belay the effects) and went on to defend his title as Fookin’ Poker Champion and took home five hundred of the new chips as a traveling trophy. The only controversy of the night came when Stilts sat down in Talking Bull’s chair and went on to wreak havoc on the remaining Fookars.
The field was left missing Running Tongue; Duke, Duke, Goose; Skipping Skunk; and Broken Arrow and the championship ultimately came down to a bitterly contested War Party, and Chief Bullseye pulled out a win by just one point. He later credited Turtle Thunder’s arrival as Scout with motivating his team to a higher performance. [I feel compelled to note that at the end of Friday’s competition, Berry Funderwatch sat alone in last place. In a stunning display of sportsmanship, he scored 22 points on Saturday’s opening nine holes to pull within 2 points of competing for Chief. This feat went largely unnoticed by the field, but is worthy of note.]
There was much talk about a format change for the competition, and warriors should expect some changes when they arrive to compete in 2006.
Milestones of the 10th Anniversary Fookarwie:
Chief Hands Like Feet, in a staggering display of mental acuity, declares “That’s what I thought when I was thinking.”
Chief Wandering Turkey, in a staggering display of disorganization, loses his putter, his scorecard, and his mind, only to have his bacon saved by DTI.
Driving Three Iron, in a staggering display of sainthood, regales the tribe with tales of disaster relief, making friends out of strangers, and dumpster-diving for Turk’s scorecard. These antics place him in rare air in the tribe, and there is talk of changing the Broken Arrow Sportsmanship Award to the WWKD Lifetime Achievement Award. Thankfully, this motion was denied.
Rounds played on Salt Creek Golf Retreat.
2006: Fookarwie, Nashville, Indiana Winner: Chief Silver Elk (All honor to his name!) Runner-Up: Driving Three Iron Second Runner-Up: Stilted Baby Fly Poker Champion: Wandering Hairy Turkey
It all started simply enough: Fish! made an off-hand remark about the returning popularity of the mustache, and an idea was born. ‘What if,” said he, “everyone had to show up for the Fook with a mustache?” The idea quickly germinated into a full-blown concept, and each member was required to arrive on the premises with a real live, durn-tooting, porn-star stache.
The “Year of the Porn ‘Stache” had arrived.
Weeks later, still without any real idea of what the annual gift would be and only one week left before the event, I, Stilted Baby Fly, was standing over my bathroom sink (well, not really “my” sink, it was the sink in the house in which I was staying, but that’s another story…), trimming my stache, and a thought occurred. More like “knocked me over” than “occurred,” but you get the idea. And so the artwork was born. To this day, Fish! still considers it his greatest work.
What can I say about the event? The field was slashed to eight owing to various circumstances, but all eight players arrived with stache’s on their game faces. There was a bit more emphasis placed on scoring for yourself this year, as the only time anyone had much “help” was on the nine-hole alternate shot. Silver Elk and Driving Three Iron emerged as the front-runners early and (through some dramatic coaching by Fish!), both were able to maintain their positions.
There were minor alterations made to the playing format, resulting in a couple of major mistakes. First, we decided to play the final War Party without handicaps and the beloved Fookarwie Stableford Scoring. Second, we then decided to play four two-man scrambles, allowing Stilts and Bullseye a shot at the illustrious Chief. In the end, however, it was decided that, while we couldn’t fix the second of these errors, we could definitely correct the first. When scores were tallied with handicap and stableford scoring, the result was a four-way tie. Wow.
Keeping with Walkabout tradition, the four contenders sat down to discuss how the tie would be broken. It was quickly decided (though we dilly-dallied for some time afterward) that Silver Elk’s two-day effort and outstanding achievement couldn’t be ignored. He was unanimously selected, based on the result of the scoring and parimutuel betting, as our next Chief.
Milestones of the 11th Annual Walkabout:
Chief Hands Like Feet and Silver Elk placing multiple and varied bets on the eccentricities and personal habits of their tribemates, Stilts’ foiling of their plans, and Hands’ subsequent back flip over the couch onto (and through!) the coffee table.
Those shirts. Wow.
Fish’s rendition of the Sportsmanship Award… and awarding it to himself for forgetting the damn trophy!
Driving Three Iron assumes the role of bridesmaid, and celebrates his new position by getting dramatically, “can’t keep my head up or eyes open” shitfaced.
Stilts hits the golf shot of his life. (Ask Turk.)
Hands goes from “Mexican Harley rider” to “gay French pastry chef” in two minutes.
The slaw. It was there on time; lasted all weekend. Yummm!
Sam Carmichael comments on Bullseye’s hat.
After losing a hand of poker, Hands swears to add Stilts to his “Shit List.” He gets out a pen, prepares to write down the address, and says, “Oh, that’s right. You don’t have a house.” Ouch.
[Gents, there was some discussion at this event about the effects of long term smoking. Since we all want all of us to return for many years, a few of us are launching a campaign to help one poor soul kick the habit. Consider this a call to action. Please support our efforts, support DTI, and badger him beyond the point of reason about quitting. Daily reminders in the form of phone calls, emails, and letter bombs are appropriate. Unfortunately, if this works, the event next year will be smoke free.]
The Gentlemen’s Round was played in Moorseville at Eagle Pines. All official rounds were played at the stunning Martinsville Golf Club. The weather, though threatening as late as the day before, was bright and warm.
2007: Fookarwie, Sweetwater, Indiana Winner: Chief Berry Funderwatch Runner-Up: Second Runner-Up: Poker Champion:
With a James Bond-inspired 007 theme, we showed the dexterity and flexibility of a Master Yogi. When the rented accommodations turned out to be “slightly oversold,” the planning commission sprung to action to secure an alternate location. Bunking was secured at Uncle Tom’s Cabin overlooking Sweetwater Lake.
With Poker played on the deck (literally) overlooking the water, the tribe gathered long into the night to celebrate another great event. With two cameras in tow, this is one of the better recorded events and photos abound. There’s the one of Fish! smoking his very first cigar, Goldenbond accepting his induction (and all the responsibility that goes with it), and Stilts hitting an approach shot from an unfortunate lie atop a beer can.
In the end, however, no one could match the solid play of Chief Funderwatch who emerged with his second victory.
The Gentlemen’s Round was played at Otter Creek in Columbus. All official rounds were played at the stunning Martinsville Golf Club. The weather was here; wish you were beautiful.
2008: Fookarwie, Terre Haute, Indiana Winner: Chief Silver Elk Runner-Up: Second Runner-Up: Poker Champion:
I would say that this event would live in infamy, but the truth is, there’s very little that anyone remembers (as noted above.) We returned to Lake CeClare for accommodations and several members carded rounds that were at or near lifetime bests. Goldenbond returned for his second year and learned that it’s impossible to get out of a sleeping bag, unzip the door, and exit the tent before throwing up when you can barely stand up.
Even more surprising, the Tribal Historian was apparently too drunk to stand up as well, as I’m unable to find a single photo of this event. (If you have any, please send me copies.)
Milestones of the 2008 Annual Walkabout:
Goldenbond throwing up in his tent
Going home Saturday night because Grace was in the emergency room
Silver Elk won and decided to take the event to Florida
I had two broken ribs, I definitely remember that…
Brian cleaning out his garage and dumping his crap on us like China dumping tires
In keeping with the theme, I’m not sure where we played golf, but I think it was Brazil. And Rea Park. And maybe the Country Club. Or not.
2009: Fookarwie, Destin, Florida Winner: Chief Speaks With Fish! Runner-Up: Chief Stilted Baby Fly Second Runner-Up: Talking Bull Poker Champion: DNF
Wow, talk about turning up the volume all the way to eleven. When Silver Elk remembered (sometime in August, thanks to a minor prodding from Talking Bull) that he was the Chief and was responsible for planning this event, panic ensued. Still reeling from the near cabin disaster of 2007, he did the only sensible thing: put Chief Hands Like Feet in charge. Hands called in a few favors and, next thing you know, we’re heading to Florida in October. Smartest thing we ever did.
Unfortunately, we must have forgotten to tell everyone because only six warriors turned out to do battle.
Milestones of the 2009 Annual Walkabout:
Florida. Enough said.
The convulted path to the event included four airports, three cars, one donkey, and two parachutes. Long story.
Crabbing. For money. More than once.
Moonlight swim in the Gulf. Wow.
An uncanny lack of crappy swag from someone’s garage. Consequently, we never knew what time it was.
DTI’s brother joined us for a couple rounds.
No poker! Though sacrilege to say it, we didn’t play and didn’t miss it. By God, there were crabs to be crabbed!
We played three stunning courses: Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club, Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club, and Indian Bayou. It was the best time I’ve ever had. Ever.
2010: Fookarwie, Angola, Indiana Winner: Chief Driving Three Iron Runner-Up: Chief Silver Elk Second Runner-Up: Festoon O’Tool Poker Champion: Festoon O’Tool & Chief Speaks With Fish!
Ahhh, this felt like old times… Two absolutley perfect days followed by 40 degrees, 40 mile an hour winds, and icy rain. While Fish! organized a world-class event, then one thing out of his control again played a role. The weather held as long as it could and then unleashed furious vengeance as we vyed for Chief.
In the end, we crowned Driving Three Iron with his first title largely due to his own efforts to close the deal, finishing one stroke ahead of Silver Elk.
During the event, we were joined by a new warrior who regaled us with larger than life tales and a couple of jokes (told in an uncanny Scottish brogue), earning him his “Indian” name: Festoon O’Tool. We also took some time to honor a member who has gamely worn a name that was eventually deemed unsuitable, and gave hime the new mantle of Dashing Wolf.
This recap falls short of the fun we had, however, so I encourage you to spend a few moments with the photos and videos. You won’t regret it.
Milestones of the 2010 Annual Walkabout:
Fish! presents each member with their own dozen of logo ProV1s. I proceeded to hit all of mine into places unretrievable. Bullseye hit one, once; and then put them all away.
There were two highly-praised participants this year: Glendarin and Lake James Country Club. Oh, and the “cabin.” Everything was great. Or, as Festoon might say, “It was the best golf course I’ve ever played and the skies have never been bluer. Ever. True story.”
That gay Scottish accent stays with you…
DTI’s A-game arrived and never looked back. Very impressive.
Poker returned. We played dealer’s choice. Stayed up past 9pm. It’s like we were kids again!
Even the brief discussion of Robert Trent Jones has me jonesing for 2011… Can’t wait!
We played two beautiful, classic tracks: Glendarin Hills and Lake James Country Club. I’d go back and play either again, pretty much any time.
2011: Fookarwie, Robert Trent Jones Trail, Muscle Shoals Winner: Chief Broken Arrow Runner-Up: Chief Stilted Baby Fly Second Runner-Up: Painted Bear Poker Champion: Poker? I don’t even know her!
Our first trip to Alabama was superb. We arrived with intentions of playing three Robert Trent Jones tracks and ended up scrapping the third to play Fighting Joe again. With views of the Tennessee River beckoning and the warm Alabama breeze blowing, it was some of the finest golf we’ve played.
A memorable dinner was a table-sized aluminum platter overflowing with anything that could be fried: pickles, chicken, jalapeños, onion rings, cheese, okra, potatoes… While it seemed like a good idea at the time, I’ve never been sicker from eating. We all attempted to wash the pain away with pitchers of beer being served out of the bar which was, if I haven’t mentioned it, in a cave in the woods. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The bowling shirts arrived. Sweet. Dashing Wolf couldn’t be contained within the tight confines of his, so played most of the day with his manhood on display. We had a great Southern dinner of pulled pork, cole slaw, pie, and sweet tea. We ate like kings, which completely made up for the fried food fest of the night before.
The Wounded Warrior debuted in the War Party: When the playoffs begin, each team began shedding players, one at a time, with each subsequent tie. It was finally settled when Kurt made “the putt heard ‘round the world” on the second hole, a monster of a putt from nearly 100 feet that hit the back of the cup, popped up in the air, and dropped home for the win.
Milestones of the 2011 Annual Walkabout:
Two side-by-side cabins split the tribe for sleeping arrangements, but there’s little evidence that we slept.
The Rattlesnake Saloon. And pink pants. It’s only surprising that TED didn’t make a second appearance of “Itchin’ for a fight.”
The golf was simply superb. So good, in fact, that we cancelled our tee times and played Fighting Joe.
2012: Fookarwie, Nashville, Tennessee Winner: Chief Talking Bull Runner-Up: Festoon O’Toole Second Runner-Up: Dashing Wolf Poker Champion:
Wow. The house in the woods was remarkable; the gravel driveway was nearly non-navigable; the camaraderie was at 2001 levels. We traveled to the beautiful hills of Nashville, the origin of the Natchez Trace, to battle for the mantle of Chief. Our accommodations at Lyric Springs Retreat House were superb, though Fish! suffered greatly from sitting in the grass to take a photo: attacked by a ravaging band of voracious chiggers, he spent two sleepless nights scratching his legs. The hot tub was a nice touch, but the pool was a bit chilly to dip anything more than your feet. The only logistical problem was getting there: the driveway was so steep that we had to empty the van of the extra weight so Fish! could continue the approach.
We played on two very nice tracks: The Hermitage and Kings Creek. The Hermitage was the highlight: from their infamous roaming sheep working to keep the heather trimmed to the coyote letting us know, in no uncertain terms, “This is my fairway,” it was both beautiful and surreal.
The War Party broke some new ground, as all three playing for the win would be first time winners: Talking Bull, Festoon, and Dashing Wolf picked their teams and set out to etch their names on the trophy. In the process, the Wounded Warrior returned in a big way: the final hole came down to a mano-a-mano, head-to-head, no guts no glory finish on a par three where Talking Bull made the final par for the win.
Milestones of the 2012 Annual Walkabout:
Poker made a nice comeback as we gathered around a huge kitchen table and played for a few hours. The island in the kitchen became an island of alcohol.
Dinner at Jack of Heart BBQ was a great touch and only a few doors down from both a gun shop and a tattoo parlor; something for everyone!
2013: Fookarwie, Lake Michigan Winner: Chief Broken Arrow Runner-Up: Festoon O’Toole Second Runner-Up: Stilts Poker Champion:
Talking Bull planned (over planned, perhaps?) an event that had so many items on the schedule we needed a spreadsheet, three calendars, and a concierge to keep track. Literally, everyone had a job: from kitchen duty to breakfast duty to entertainment duty to game planning, the intent was a well-oiled machine, the reality was something… different. Still, it was one to be remembered.
Arguably the finest accommodations we’ve seen: a beautiful house perched on a cliff above Lake Michigan, a large great room to easily handle the crowd, a wrap around deck with an awesome outdoor shower and dark, quiet bedrooms tucked into every corner. I’d happily go back tomorrow.
The lake was a constant companion. Whether sitting up top admiring the sunset, hitting golf balls into the sandy target, or taking a long spirit walk on the beach, there was something for everyone. Even the Fookarwie Swim Team returned.
Two new arrivals: Father Sheboygan and Sasquatch. Don’t really need to say anything else about that.
Kurt’s late Friday night arrival at the locked gate meant he had to drive another 40 minutes for cell service just to call and say, “I’ll be back at the gate… in 40 minutes.”
The breakfast competition was epic. Fish! and Stilts walked away with it by serving kick-ass breakfast burritos while Hands and Silver Elk excelled on presentation but came up way short of the “actually put food on the table people can eat” portion of the test. I recall we finished cooking their casserole for a late afternoon snack.
The golf was pure Michigan: beautiful holes meandering through orchards kept us all fed for the weekend on the best honey crisp apples you’ve ever tasted. Dinner was catered by a creepy guy from a nearby restaurant who clearly needed a friend, and tasted even better with a dash of oregano.
The War Party was impressive for a number of reasons. Broken Arrow was in a definitive “I don’t really want to win” mode since his upcoming trip to Scotland would make planning difficult and Festoon was in a definitive “If I don’t win I might just die” mode. This made for an interesting dynamic that played out in two ways. First, Fish! decided it would be fun to see just how fast they could finish the round. Answer: 46 minutes. Second, when Festoon came up short, he climbed deep– very deep–into a bottle of bourbon. So deep, in fact, had Elk not been holding his belt while he was swinging away from the cliff, he’d still be lying at the bottom.
Milestones of the 2013 Annual Walkabout
2014: Fookarwie, Killen, Alabama Winner: Chief Festoon O’Toole Runner-Up: Speaks With Fish! Second Runner-Up: Driving Three Iron Poker Champion: Stilts
Sweet home, Alabama! Our return to the land of cotton landed us at Turtle Point, which should be noted is Broken Arrow’s home course. It showed. He sprinted out to a commanding lead, attributed both to his level of play and the planning committee’s lack of foresight. [Editorial note: future events should feature team games on day one. Someone remember that…]
We stayed at Cliffhaven, where the beds were soft, the wi-fi was slow, and the back porch was about six inches too short. Still, the accommodations were way more than necessary and the segregation proved useful. With banjo music pumping and Sneaky Snake on repeat, the only person who wanted to be on the porch was Hands (who also happened to be running the playlist.) The rickety steps and ADA-non-compliant lower deck provided a nice spot for a nap, a suitable fishing pier, and such potential for serious injury to keep the intoxicated at bay.
In the Great Fookarwie Socialist Experiment, handicaps were rejiggered on Friday night ‘to give everyone a fighting chance.’ It probably goes without saying that, while successful, this will never happen again. (Someone should remember that…)
The golf course was the real highlight. A northern Alabama gem, Arrow’s home track could not have played a better host. Challenging but playable, offering beautiful views from every vantage point and some of the best finishing holes we’ve ever had the delight to play. Tin Cup’s appearance on 18th will be the stuff of legend. The only downside was the rain, a constant companion causing more costume changes than a Katy Perry concert, but still unable to dampen our spirits.
It was unfortunate that Silver Elk couldn’t attend (his first absence in 19 years), but he was with us in spirit. And, as it turned out, frequently on the phone. Lisa probably wishes he had just decided to go.
We ate two great dinners: slow roasted chicken, potatoes, beans, smoked cabbage, pulled pork, and at least 38 bags of potato chips, six bags of beef jerky, two boxes of Cheezits and 60 cookies.
The War Party brought Festoon O’Toole, Speaks with Fish! and Driving Three Iron into the mix. Unfortunately, the Wounded Warrior wasn’t needed, as the issue was settled without a play off and Festoon knocked over the bride and stepped right into her spot. All hail the Chief!
Poker returned (briefly?). It took almost two hours to play ten hands, and my only takeaway is the realization that poker is not a team game but is, supposedly, fun to watch.
Milestones of the 2014 Annual Walkabout:
New Fookarwie (and possible universal) handicap record: 54 strokes for Turkey
Opening round of conversations about the Fookarwie Legacy and how we can begin preparations for the next generation
2015: Fookarwie, Michigan City, Indiana Winner: Chief Broken Arrow Runner-Up: Chief Stilted Baby Fly Second Runner-Up: Poker Champion:
Our 20th Walkabout found us on the shore of Lake Michigan, hidden from the rabble by a large wooded hill and flanked on one side by a power plant and the other the city of Chicago.
From the moment we arrived in our side-by-side accommodations, it was clear this year was going to be different in a number of ways. First, the minimum number of steps required to get from one location in house #1 to any location in house #2 was 10,000 steps and fourteen flights of stairs.
Second, everyone arrived having completed a prior assignment. There were new hats and keychains and arrow heads and so many rules that even Talking Bull, who made most of them up, couldn’t keep track.
It’s really no wonder, then, that we mostly just retreated to the beach to swim, play football, hit sand wedges, listen to music, or share stories around the bonfire. So many stories, mostly told all at once… I can still feel the band squeezing around my head.
Milestones of the 2015 Annual Walkabout (20th Anniversary):
That bonfire on the beach, where every conversation was happening in my mind and around the fire.
That moment when Bret decided to do a downward dog over said bonfire, until the moment he realized he couldn’t get up, and Tim had to tackle him to save him from the fires of Hell.
2019: Fookarwie, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Winner: Stilts Runner-Up: Golden Bond Poker Champion: Dashing Fox
A few intrepid explorers embarked on a trip that would begin with delight and end in a deluge. Fish! organized a great event in a pristine location. Lake Geneva offered three challenging golf courses with a variety of playing types. When it came to the War Party, Stilts and his team had settled into a smooth groove, and were up by 5 shots when the event was called due to rain (better classified as a “Kentucky-style torrential downpour.”) It should be noted that all participants were ready and willing to play on, but the superintendent wasn’t having it.
Milestones of the 2019 Annual Walkabout:
Beautiful weather and beautiful courses highlighted the first two days. Unfortunately, they were also accompanied by cookies and candy, making the memories fuzzy at best.
Oddly, O’Toole suddenly remembered a prior engagement on Friday afternoon and was “forced” to bail on the event to take care of a sick loved one who was missing a foot (or something like that.) We’re all pretty sure he went home for a little afternoon delight.
In attendance: Joe, Tim, Jerry, Linhart, Ben, Bret, and Jim.