Baird Bash History

In the years since leaving UW-LaCrosse I have tried to keep in touch with a number of my old friends. We would usually try to get together and party every year. As always happens though, time goes by and you lose touch with old friends. Thanks to the UW-LaCrosse alumni directory, I was able to contact a few extra old friends for the party we had in 2002. It was the first year that someone different attended and was the beginning of what I hope will be a long line of annual events.

Since I was making a website for the party, I thought a catchy name was in order. I decided on calling the party Baird Bash, in reference to orientation week 1985. I was among the "elite" Baird Hall Council that year that chose for our theme B.Y.O.B., or Baird's Yearly Orientation Bash. The name was a sarcastic reference to the fact that Baird was known as the campus "study dorm." It was a weeklong celebration intended to get everyone to know the campus and each other. Although the current parties are no longer a week long, (but they are getting closer every year!) I felt Baird Bash was an appropriate name.

I have some pictures included on this page. For more, higher resolution pictures, click on the link in the box below. I currently have pictures from 2006 through 2009 on that site. I hope to get some older ones added soon.

BB02         BB03        BB04

BB05         BB06        BB07

BB08    Farwell Tour 09

BB09     BB10     BB11

BWB12     BB12

Pictures: 2006-2009

John and Steve at a "real" Baird Bash, the Halloween party
in the Baird Hall basement, 1985.
  Baird Bash at Dahlen's Party Patio on Lake
Tichigan, 2003.
Baird Bash in Onalaska, WI, 2004. Baird Bash 2006, at Token Creek Park, Madison, WI.

 

 


Baird Bash 2002

The first "official" Baird Bash was held in August of 2002. It was hosted by John and Cathy Sill and held at the ballpark pavilion at the park near their home in Newville, Wisconsin. It was attended by the Tuschls, Laurents, Quandts, and Dahlens. It marked the first time that I saw my college roommate Steve Dahlen in approximately 15 years. As the event was held in a park, we played baseball as well as a father vs. son basketball game. I am happy to report that the fathers were able to defeat the sons. I expect that that will not happen for much longer, as the boys ages will soon reach the double digits. But we can still claim victory in the first head to head matchup! Much food and drink was consumed and much reminiscing was done. Based on the amount of laughter, smiles, and beer consumed, I would say everyone had a good time.


 

 


Baird Bash 2003

In the long, proud, time honored tradition of the past, Baird Bash 2003 officially got under way at 1:00 pm, August 24, 2003. This year's party was hosted by Steve and Marilyn Dahlen, and was held at their family cottage on the shores of lovely Lake Tichigan in Racine County. Those in attendance were the Quandts, Overmans, Sills, Laurents, Tuschls, and half of the Kieffer family. Much reminiscing and catching up was done over the course of the day as a number of us had again not met in many years. We all rediscovered how easily the beer can flow when friends get together! The flow of beer seemed to unleash quite a flood of memories from our college days. Which is quite ironic considering how many of our memories are clouded also due to the flow of beer. Steve graciously gave us boat rides, including tubing for the kids. The kids all seemed to enjoy themselves with a whole day in the water. They were constantly boating, swimming, tubing, or at the very least, squirting people with squirt guns. In the end, much food and drink were consumed and much fun was had by all. The day ended with full bellies, tired children, and a promise to get together again next year.

 

 


Baird Bash 2004

I can't speak for everyone, but since this year's Baird Bash was held in the LaCrosse area, my family went up early and did some sight seeing. My son wanted to say he had been in Minnesota, so we stopped at Lock and Dam #7 and watched the lock fill up to let a boat through. We didn't take a brewery tour, but did stop to see the "world's largest six-pack." We took a boat ride on the LaCrosse Queen, saw the view from Grandad Bluff, and visited the zoo and playground at Myrick Park. We took a little stroll through the UW-L campus and me and the boys were able to get into Baird Hall and look around. They were surprised at how small a dorm room is. The hall looks pretty much the same as we remember, except the downstairs TV room is now bigger and brighter. Outside the hall is different as 16th Street no longer goes past the dorm. There is some sad news about Baird though. A story in the LaCrosse Tribune says Baird, as well as Trowbridge and Wilder, is scheduled to be demolished in a few years.  Many, probably most, of the bars we remember are either gone or have changed hands. Howie's Hof-Brau is still there but is nearly unrecognizable as they are putting on a HUGE addition. John's Bar is still under the parking ramp and The Helm is still across the street. Big Al's/Third Street is also still around. We just did a drive through downtown, but I did not notice any other familiar names.

Finally the big moment arrived. At 1:00 Saturday, August 21, Baird Bash 2004 got underway. Those in attendance this year were the Grosheks, Tuschls, Sills, Laurents, Diedrichs, Dahlens, Kiels, and Schwartzes. If I remember correctly, which may be a stretch due to old age and alcohol consumption, there were 35 alumni, family, and friends in attendance. What a great turnout! And what a great day! It was sunny and 70 something degrees, which made a great afternoon to party. Quite a lot of the kids and parents got together to play a baseball game. I'm not sure anybody knew or cared who won, but we all had fun and got more exercise than most of us had seen in a long time. Of course, all that exercise works up a big hunger and a big thirst! A lot of food was consumed and then the serious beer drinking and story telling began. It was good to reminisce with a few different people again, as they inevitably remember different things, and remember things differently, than you do. It's been a long time since I laughed as hard as I did Saturday.

While the guys were reliving the good ol' days, the kids kept busy playing football, ping pong, playing on the swings, playing video games, jumping in the inflatable bounce around, and playing volleyball with the moms. Even as it got dark the kids just kept running and having fun. It's really great that all of our kids get along so well too. It makes it easier to sit back and relax for awhile when you know the kids are getting along and playing well.

John Laurent provided us with what had to be the highlight of the day, though. Back in 1985 a bunch of us got together and made a video. John has what is probably the only copy left on the face of the Earth. And he brought it to this year's party, as well as a TV/VCR to play it on. Oh my god, did we ever look young back then! And did we ever look ridiculous! Some of the highlights of the video were the search for Frez Melville's vault, the mysterious land shark of Baird Hall, what would you like to see thrown from a 4th story window, and the classic Howard Cosell /sky dumping skit. I hope none of the neighbors tried to go to bed early because I'm sure our laughter was loud enough to keep them awake.

Finally, after 8 solid hours of eating, drinking, playing, and reminiscing, it was time to call it a day. Everybody got packed up and left around 9:00. And as much as I enjoyed spending time with my friends, I think my favorite part may have been at the very end of the day. As we were walking out to our van to leave one of my boys said "I had fun today" and the other one said "who's having the party next year?" I guess I can't say 100% for sure who is, but as long as us and our kids keep having such a good time, I hope the Baird Bash tradition will continue for a long time.

I hope to see you all again next year!

John

 

 


Baird Bash 2005



Baird Bash 2005 briefly showed some signs of life. It was planned to take place at Kieffer's cottage on the lake, near Sheboygan.
However, due to the timing, the distance, everyone's busy schedules, or a combination of the three, nobody was really able
to find the time to attend. A valiant effort was made to save BB05, but in the end we had to pull the plugs and cancel.
Although saddened by the early demise of BB05, we do not need to despair. Baird Bash successfully returned in 2006
and will hopefully continue on as an annual tradition from this point forward.

 

 


Baird Bash 2006

After taking a year off, Baird Bash was back and bigger than ever in 2006. This year's party was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2, at Token Creek park, near Madison, WI.  For some the party started a day early as a few people camped out overnight on Friday. The "official" start time of noon Saturday arrived and we were once again blessed with beautiful weather to enjoy a day at the park. A couple of people came and left early as they had other plans as well, but most of us were there for the whole day. This year word of the party spread to even more people than in the past. 18 former Bairdites attended this year's party, one all the way from Texas! Including family members, we ended up with 48 people and one dog in attendance for this year's party.

We kept ourselves entertained with music and beer as always, plus many games of rodeo golf and volleyball. I don't know about anyone else, but as I write this the next day I still have sand in my teeth and in my eyes from all the dives in the volleyball games! A lot of people brought along photo albums from the good ol' days in Betty Baird. I'm not sure who all those young people were in the photos, but they did sort of look familiar! The kids had fun playing volleyball and rodeo golf too, plus they played on the playground, hiked the trails, and played football. As far as I know only a couple of kids managed to get wet in the creek. I honestly expected more, including both of mine!

We continued eating, dinking and reminiscing for many hours until finally at 9:30 the last of us left the shelter. It was a long day but everyone there, adults and kids alike, seemed to have a great time at the park.  Everyone also seemed to agree that the long weekend and easy access to the park made it an ideal time and location for the party. I am hoping to be able to rent out the shelter at Token Creek again next year on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend for Baird Bash 2007. As always, I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again to everyone who attended and made Baird Bash 2006 a huge success.  I hope to see you all there again next year!

John


 Baird Bash 2007

This year's Baird Bash was held Saturday, Sept. 1 at Token Creek Park. However, just like last year, it started early for some as we set up camp on Friday afternoon. We had a few beers then tried to play some rodeo golf. Even though the targets were on the ground we had to do some tree climbing to free a set of balls wrapped around a limb. Krause risked life and limb just to get those 3 points! After dinner at the Sports Pub in Madison we did some more drinking and visiting around the campfire.

Saturday started with a round of disc golf. Despite the well mowed fairways we decided to get real familiar with the rougher areas of the course! When noon arrived we once again had perfect weather for a party at the park. Sunny with temps in the low 80's and hardly a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, there were plenty of bugs in the sky! All the recent summer rains have created perfect conditions for mosquitoes. I'm sure we'll all be scratching our bites for a few days after the party. Other than the annoying bugs, everything else was great. Lots of food and beverages and visiting with old friends. Including family members, this year we had 32 people and three dogs at the party. We played rodeo golf, horseshoes, and as usual, lots of volleyball. The kids played on the playground, did some hiking, and this year got wet on purpose, as a number of the older boys all jumped in the creek to cool down. They also had a good time playing apple baseball. We had another tree incident when a  kids fishing game get stuck in a tree. This time one of the boys climbed the tree to try to get it down. I think next year we'll have to play all of our games out in the grassy areas and stay away from the trees!

After dinner we all went back over to the campground to visit and get "buzzed" around the campfire. Thanks to the smoke and some Yard Guard, the mosquito population was dramatically less over there. The night finally ended around 10:00 as the non campers had to head out before the park's closing time. As always, everyone had a great time and is ready to do it again next year. Unless things change, I am planning to reserve shelter # 1 and some campsites for both Friday and Saturday night for next year's party.

Thanks to everyone in attendance for a great day of fun!  I hope to see you all again next year!    

John


Baird Bash 2008

Baird Bash 2008 was scheduled for Saturday, August 30, but again this year the party began Friday night. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, only a couple of us could camp out this year. We had a gourmet meal of Johnsonville brats and cheap wine then spent the rest of the night visiting and drinking beers by the campfire.

Saturday began with a Baird Hall registration week tradition, a 9 am game of Mexican! We used the big dice cup that was "borrowed" from Broadway Joe's many years ago. Really, I'll get it back to them one of these days! Krause quickly reminded me why I never sat next to him during Mexican games - he cheats! Our biggest challenge was remembering all of the names for the different shakes.

Early in the afternoon the Bairdites started arriving at the park. We had a total of 12 Baird alumni this year. Including family, we had a total of 33 partiers, plus 2 dogs. Once again we had an awesome day at the park. Not a cloud in the sky and temp. in the low 80's. As always, the kids almost immediately took off for a run around the park, including a dip in the creek. The adults kept busy eating, drinking, visiting and looking at some old pictures. Thanks for sharing the pics John! "The Doctor" showed up for a few shots to help us celebrate Krause's birthday. After a round of horseshoes the volleyball started. I think we all gained a few pounds due to all the sand in our pockets! Then we gained a few more pounds eating all the great food! After dinner brought more visiting, more horseshoes, more volleyball, plus a couple games of kickball. After the kickball game was called on account of darkness, a bunch of us headed over to the campground for more beers and visiting around the campfire. Finally around 10:00 everyone left for homes or hotels.                                                                              
It was a long day, but lots of fun. We had a few "new" Baird Bashers this year who I hope will keep coming in the future. We also had a few "regulars" who couldn't make it this year. I'm hoping next year they will all be able to make it out to the park. As of this moment, I am once again planning the party at Token Creek on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. However, Labor Day next year does not occur until September 7, after school starts, so the date may change.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who made the trip to Token Creek. I enjoyed seeing all of you and had a great time! Thanks for the great day and I hope to see you all again next year!

John   


Baird Hall Farwell Reunion Tour 2009

Due to the impending destruction of Betty Baird hall, a group of Baird alumni planned a trip to LaCrosse for one last visit to our old home before it is torn down. April 18 arrived warm and sunny, perfect weather for a campus tour and day of partying with old friends. We started off meeting for lunch at Lindy's Subs on Main St. Good, huge sandwiches! But for me anyway, the best part was a visit from our old friend Frez Melville! For those of you who know Frez, you know he doesn't get out in public much. It was really great to see him again.

From Lindy's we headed to the Cleary Alumni Center at UW-L. Katie had t-shirts made for us all to commemorate the occasion. The shirts had one small, barely noticeable typo, but they were still awesome! Thanks Katie! We were given a brief campus tour and then had a group picture taken in front of Baird. There were 26 Baird Hall alumni there for the picture. From there we went in and were able to take a tour through the dorm. While most of us were content to just walk through, a few people actually knocked on doors and took a look inside their old rooms. It's amazing how small those rooms look now! Hard to believe that Krause and I could get 30 people crammed in there to drink on weekends! We then planned to go to the bookstore and stimulate the University's economy, but the bookstore changed it's hours and was not open. We recovered from that setback pretty easily and decided to start drinking instead!

We all got out duffs up the bluff for some beers and visiting at the Alpine Inn. We spent some time looking through old yearbooks. I'm not sure who brought those, but whoever it was - Thanks much! It's always fun to look at old pictures of those young, skinny people who lived in LaX in the 80's. Many people continued visiting for the rest of the afternoon but a few of us decided it was time to start playing Mexican. It started with four of us at one table and ended with about a dozen of us around three tables. I still don't remember the finger on the nose rule, but caught on pretty quick. After another group picture on the deck of the Alpine, it was time to head down the hill and get checked into the hotel.

Right next to the hotel was Buzzard Billy's, where a bunch of us went for dinner. We had to wait awhile for a table, so we went upstairs to the lounge for drinks while we waited. A few got impatient and left, but most of us stuck around and a group of 22 of us finally got a chance to order dinner around 7:00. The food was good and plentiful and we all left with full stomachs.

After dinner we visited a few downtown drinking establishments. We stopped at Big Al's for drinks but didn't stay long. They are mainly a restaurant now and there really wasn't much going on there. We then headed to Coconut Joe's, Cornerstone back in the good old days. They had a DJ playing tunes so we stayed there and danced and visited for quite awhile. Kelly and Mike air guitared to Poison. Hoppe was giving lap dances. Just like old times! We eventually headed out out and briefly stopped at John's, Animal House, and Casino. I think most of us were back at the hotel by around midnight. However, a few people stayed up for drinks in my and Doug's room. Once again, just like old times! We were up visiting and drinking until after 2 am. Not bad for a bunch of old timers who met at 11 am. That's 15 hours of partying! Not as hard and heavy as we used to, but we still had a long, fun day! Click here to see some pictures of the day in LaCrosse.

I don't know when we'll get back up to LaCrosse to party again. Maybe some year for Homecoming or Oktoberfest we'll have to make another trip. But I'm sure it will happen. Until then, I am still planning to continue the annual Baird Bash parties on Labor Day weekend. I hope to see a lot of you again in September! Thanks so much for the great time in LaCrosse!

John


Baird Bash 2009

Baird Bash 2009 was held Saturday, September 5, at Token Creek Park. As in years past, the party began a day early as 13 of us camped out at the park on Friday night. It was a beautiful night for camping with clear skies and a full moon. It seemed almost as bright as day outside. We ate, drank, experimented with a watermelon, and had many lively discussions about my hot wood and Jims glowing balls that hang from his impressive unit. Johnny Rock came out to the park and joined us for a few drinks and invited us to his house for breakfast the next morning.

Saturday began with a trip to John's for eggs, toast, hash browns and juice. Thanks much John and Sarah for the awesome breakfast! Early in the afternoon the rest of the Bashers arrived. We ended up with 14 alumni and a total of 47, including family, friends and beagles. We once again had a beautiful day for a party. Temp around 80 and hardly a cloud in the sky. The only negative for the day was the bees. There were quite a few of them hanging around the shelter, including the one that stung my hand. Luckily, I had enough beers to ease the pain. Other than the usual visiting and drinking, we enjoyed games of bean bag toss, Mexican (once we could remember all the shakes), bocce and volleyball. We looked through some old pictures - Thanks to Ann for sharing her old photo albums! The kids swam in the creek, played football and joined us for volleyball.

After volleyball was time for dinner. As always, the Bairdites supplied an awesome array of dishes. I think everyone had at least seconds, if not more. We sampled the experimental, vodka soaked watermelon. Parts were good, some not so good. It was determined that it would require a little research and we would try again next year. (Jim, remember, this is your homework assignment for next year!)

Then the kids challenged the adults to a kickball game. I don't know how many innings we played, but it was hard to see when we finished. The scoring was hot and heavy and was tied 8-8 with one inning left to play. The kids took advantage of us tired, visually impaired adults and scored 4 runs in their half of the inning. They were feeling pretty cocky when they took the field, and were sure they had victory in their grasp. But never count out the old guys! We got our second winds and came back with a vengeance. Johnny Rock led off with a base kick. If I remember, Andy made an out, and things seemed a little bleak. But then Krause came through with another base kick. Brian then got a kick that knocked in John. Gary's kick knocked in Krause. Then I got a kick that knocked in Brian. We now switch to the play by play announcer: "One out, old men at second and third. The young kids are trying to hold on to their slim, one run lead.  The old guys send The Mighty Tusch to the plate. Here's the pitch. Here's the swing. It's a deep drive to right field! Fair ball! Gary scores from third! John scores from second! HOLY COW! Old guys win! Old guys win!"

After the game we had a challenging time playing Clean The Shelter In The Dark. The outlets seemed to work but apparently the other circuit breaker had been tripped and their were no lights in the place. With the help of a flashlight and car lights we managed to clean up and head back to the campground.

While we were busy playing kickball. Jim had been busy getting my wood hot. He had a nice, big, warm fire blazing for us when we arrived. We roasted marshmallows and visited and had a few more drinks until around 10:00, when people had to leave or else get locked in the park. The rest of us finally hit the sack around 11:30.

Thanks to Janet and Jim for providing the makings for hobo sandwiches which we cooked over the fire for Sunday breakfast. Then I had to head home a little earlier than I wanted due to my swelled up hand and arm. My bee sting was really swelling up so I got my kids home and went to Urgent Care. After taking some drugs, I am happy to report that my hand is nearly back to normal. Not sure when Krause finally left, but Janet's family spent another night at the park. So, what started a few years ago as an afternoon in the back yard has turned into an entire long weekend at the park. I think it's awesome that we all still get along so well and want to spend this time together! I once again had an absolutely fantastic time and can't wait to see you all again next year!

John


Baird Bash 2010

Baird Bash 2010 began on a chilly Friday, September 3. Temps were in the low 60's at Token Creek as a few of us spent the afternoon setting up our campsites. Krause had no problem with his camper, but Jerry and I had a challenge putting up our tents in the stiff breeze. When we were finished we celebrated with a few beers and Smirnoffs, had a visit from our favorite physician, Dr. McGillicuddy, and played games of bean bag toss and Mexican. We're finally starting to remember all the shakes! Due to the cool temps and cool winds we got the campfire started early, then had a dinner of corn on the cob and Johnsonville brats flame broiled with Jerry's Rolling Rock. After dinner it was time to sit around the campfire, until it started raining. Scattered showers kept us moving back and forth from the fire to the tent. Luckily, the rain had no adverse affect on our cold beers! Then Janet and family arrived and brought the heavy rain with them! The rain didn't last much longer, however, and we finally did get some campfire time later in the evening. The hardiest of us were up around the fire until around 2 am.

Saturday arrived clear, cool and absolutely gorgeous! Hardly a cloud in the sky. And hardly a bug in the park! The cool temps seem to have knocked down the skeeter and bee populations. We had some breakfast-ka-bobs made with Jim's latest culinary creation, the boozy tomato. Last year the watermelon did not turn out so well so this year he tried cherry tomatoes. They were supposed to taste like bloody Marys, but did not absorb the booze and flavors as well as hoped. Despite the lack of absorption, the breakfast was delicious!

Shortly after arriving at the park, there was some intense hostage negotiations. Last year a chair was left behind and Janet had held it hostage all year awaiting payment. The chair was safely returned to it's family upon payment of a couple of "good" beers. The day continued with games of horseshoes and lawn jarts. Yes, the real lawn jarts. Metal tipped, dangerous, you can put an eye out with those things lawn jarts. We even flaunted these highly dangerous weapons of mass destruction right in front of the park ranger. He didn't comment though, so we went right on playing.

Later we got in a couple games of our yearly tradition: volleyball. A few kids joined us, while the rest played ultimate frisbee. Then back to the shelter for more visiting, Mexican, and eating. Teri gave us a nature lesson when she and Jeff found a very strange caterpillar with a big head and weird, orange, retractable antennas. Grillmaster Kiel got the fire started and we all got our meat hot over the glowing coals.

After dinner it was time for the yearly kickball challenge: kids vs. adults. The kids were eager for revenge after last year's humiliating loss to the old guys. The adults were happy to just be able to play another year. The game stayed close for awhile. After 3 innings the score was tied 8-8. But the old timers were losing momentum. Plus we were losing our sight as it was getting dark fast! The kids must be able to see better in the dark than we do. Anyway, the kids gradually pulled away and won by a score of 20-14. I think the adults will need to do some sort of workout before next year so we don't get winded running the bases!

The day ended back at the campsite with a campfire, toasted marshmallows, and more visiting and drinking. The kids ran around the park in the dark playing ghost in the graveyard. Once the visitors left, the campers stayed up for a little while, but not nearly as long as the night before. Guess we can't do that anymore! Does that mean we're getting older? Or just wiser?

Sunday morning we had breakfast burritos. I gave Jim a challenge to make a beer salsa for next year. Then we can have breakfast beer-itos in the morning! I hung around until 4-ish in the afternoon while some other campers stayed until Monday morning.

As usual, this year's reunion was another awesome, fun afternoon in the park. We ended up with 11 Baird alumni and a total of 40 partiers, including family, friends, and dogs. We were hoping for more, but family obligations and car troubles kept a few people away this year. Hopefully you will all be able to make it back next year. Thanks again for a great time and I'll see you next year at Baird Bash 2011!

John


To see pictures from BB10, go to my photo album on Facebook.


Baird Bash 2011

The Baird Bash tradition of starting a day early continued again this year. Friday, September 2 was warm and humid as a bunch of us arrived at Token Creek and got set up for the weekend. It was so muggy it seemed like all we had to do was breathe to make us sweat. Luckily we had plenty of cold beers to keep us cool! Plus thanks to Krause, we had a cooler of wop to drink as well. We weren't exactly sure how to mix it up right but ended up with a drink that was "dangerously good." Johnny Rob supplied us some steaks and veggies for dinner. Too much heat and too little attention led to slightly crispy veggies, but they still tasted great. After a few more hours of eating, drinking and visiting we met Ranger Rick. He reminded us that there is a max of 2 vehicles allowed per site. A few minutes later he showed up with his friend Ranger Dick who was a little more forceful about us getting the parking situation figured out.

Early Saturday morning we were awakened by a major thunderstorm. Everyone sleeping in tents ended up wet due to high winds whipping the rain inside. I don't know who has invited the rain the last couple years, but I hope they stop! Once we were all awake and dried off we headed over to Johnny Rock's for the breakfast of champions - pancakes, eggs and bloody marys. Thanks John! While we were at John's, Mary Beth, (who came all the way from Houston for a party!), shared with us her latest Mary story. The story involved alcohol, bathrooms, dark restaurants and police and was VERY entertaining! Thanks for sharing Mary!

Back at the campground it was wet and cloudy but we didn't let that dampen our spirits. We immediately began setting up the Great Baird Bash Chili Dump. Everyone brought some chili and we mixed it all into a couple pots of Betty's finest. It was a great idea for a cool, cloudy day. After a few rounds of bean bag toss, bocce, and beers we made the only sensible decision we could think of. We need to eat some more! So we fired up the grills and got our meat hot. We never did play a volleyball game this year, but after a late breakfast, then lunch and an early dinner we were all so stuffed I don't think any of us could have jumped anyway!

The weather kept our group small this year. 28 Bashers total including 10 alumni, plus 2 dogs. And for some reason none of us remembered to take a group picture this year. I think a lightning strike may have shorted out a few of our brain cells. It was either that or Krause's Wop! The threat of still more rain kept our evening bonfire crowd small as well. However, the promised rain never came and those who stayed enjoyed a nice evening around the fire.

Despite the rainy weather, a good time was had by all. And as always, I had a blast getting a chance to hang out with my friends and their families. Thanks much to everyone who showed up this year! As I write this I am in the planning process for BB 2012. Next year will mark the 10th time we get together for a Baird Bash. I hope a lot of you are able to make it to the park and join us for our yearly celebration. See you next Labor Day weekend!

John

To see BB11 pictures, go to my Facebook photo album.


Baird Winter Bash 2012

It still amazes me how well our kids get along for only seeing each other once a year. Thanks to the wonder of Facebook, they are able to keep in contact very easily. Shortly after Baird Bash 2011 they decided they need to get together more than once a year. So we decided to try a winter get together. We met at the Wilderness Resort on a Saturday in late January. We couldn't check in until the afternoon, but we could use the waterpark all day. We almost immediately lost the kids as they ran all around the multiple waterparks of the Wilderness. The parents hung around the bar area drinking overpriced beers and visiting for awhile. We did finally get up and go down a waterslide a couple of times. It wasn't real good for my weak stomach, but I managed to make it down both times. We checked in to our condo later and had pizzas for dinner. Then the kids went back to the waterparks while the parents hung out at the condo watching the Love Guru and visiting for awhile. The next day we made a big breakfast and packed up as we had to check out by 11. It was a short but fun visit and made us wonder why we never thought of it ourselves. We may have to try it again next year.


 Baird Bash 2012

The second decade of Baird Bashing began with a Friday morning race to Token Creek. I knew Krause would get there early and I wanted to time my arrival so I would be close to, but earlier, than his. Aaron and I arrived at the park around 11:05 and found the campsite empty. As we opened our van doors we heard a horn beep and discovered Doug right behind us. Perfect timing! The first official Baird Bash beers were enjoyed moments later. After that we got down to the business of setting up camp. We knew we had some time before other campers arrived so we set up a croquet game. Krause said "make it challenging" so I set it up across 6 different sites and both sides of the road. It had rolling hills, catapulting saplings, and the Dizzy hazard. Plus a few game delays as Doug talked to the campsite host who also happened to be a WIAA referee. Doug and I had time for a little Mexican before dinner using my new, bigger, light up, "large print" edition dice. It's getting harder for us old guys to see the small ones! After a dinner of turtle burgers, sweet corn, and fine wine we made up some Baird Bash Blitzer and settled in around the campfire. We had a good time talking about the usual: life, kids, murders at the park, bird anatomy. "Did you know that owls don't have assholes?" Andy asked. Jim googled and discovered what we all suspected; owls do, in fact, have anuses. It was comforting to know that the park was not filled with constipated owls!

Saturday once again began with a meal at the Laurent Breakfast Buffet. Thanks John and Sarah for the awesome food and drinks! No Mary stories this year but Jim shared a few RV dumping stories from the campground at Plymouth. I never knew watching other people dump could be so entertaining! We went back to Token Creek and learned that the Kiels may have set a record for how much stuff you can stuff into a VW Beetle. Impressive! Then up to the shelter for some music, visiting, chili dumping, and drinking games. Andy learned it's generally a bad idea to sit between Doug and I in a game of Mexican. We all got a charge out of Johnny Rock's new pistol. We played a couple games of horseshoes and watched some guys fishing for apples. The kids were busy hiking, swimming, and practicing volleyball. Unfortunately for them, they did not practice enough, as they learned when they were challenged by a group of old men. The kids won the first game but the old guys rallied back and won the next two to become the BB2012 volleyball champs! Then it was on to Bocce and another round of the Croquet Tournament of Champions. The course was expertly designed by a young Tuschl who then became the youngest player ever to compete in a BBCTC event. Joe was eventually the first to make it through the long and winding course.

What to do after that? Well eat more of course! We all took some time off from our playing to cook out on the grill. Then we got the shelter mostly cleaned up before the day's finale: the (almost) annual kickball game. Once again it was the challenge of young vs. old. But this year the old were outnumbered 9-6. To even the odds we got one player from the young team. Matt, who is now in college, figured he was old enough to be on the old guys team and joined us. He became our starting pitcher and lead off kicker. Although we old guys played pretty well on the field, (gold glove award to third baseman Andy), we really needed Matt's help on offense. We can kick the ball okay but there just is not a whole lot speed left in our old legs anymore. With the help of our newly signed free agent acquisition the old guys annihilated the younger team 18-5. By the end of the game I had ran so much I was ready for an oxygen tank! I need to get out and exercise more if I'm going to keep doing this every year!

Meanwhile, back at the campsite, Jim was able to get the wood hot. A perfect campfire was waiting for us when we got back. While the adults wound down the day with a few more beers, wine, and wop, the kids were running around playing hide and seek in the dark park. We played some buzz and fuzzy duck and roasted marshmallows. It was great way to end an awesome day. At least for the adults. As the day wound down we finally found something the kids can beat us at: staying up late! The adults were all in bed by 12 to 1 if not earlier, but the kids were up to at least 2 am.

The next morning we all agreed it had been a practically perfect weekend. Awesome weather, not many bugs, and a great visit with friends. The only downside was mentioned by Jim who said we should probably stop having chili dumps at a campsite that only has a one holer toilet facility. He had to do the chili dump shuffle for a quarter mile to the next rest room!

Thanks again to all who made it to the park this year! There were 29 of us, including 11 alumni and 3 dogs. I had a great time seeing all of you and your families. To all of you who have not yet made it to a Bash or who have missed a few years, I hope to see you all soon. As of now, we are planning next year's bash for next Labor Day weekend and the kids are already reminding us that we need another Winter Bash as well. See you next year!

John

Pictures of Baird Bash 2012 can be found on my Facebook photo album.


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