Sunday, July 29, 2007


Gosh, guys its been a really fun week. As much as I love hockey season, I can’t really disagree too much with the advantages of the summer season.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I might try to buy a little place in northeastern Minnesota that I could use later after I retire to spend my springs, summers, and falls. I figure that it could be a pretty damn nice place to invite my hockey buds where we could spend some time fishin, huntin, feedin the skeeters and all the usual bullshit that goes along with those activities. Sorry guys but I’m tellin ya my arthritis in my right shoulder is gettin so bad that I figure I’m gonna be turnin into one a them snowbirds by then and will probably have to winter somewhere down in Mexico.

I did some real estate investigatin and made some appointments for last Saturday and Monday.

I flew into the Twin Cities and then got a little shuttle fight up to Duluth and rented a car there.

In my younger days I had done a six day canoe trip in Boundary Waters out of Ely and this part of the world, I’m telling you guys, is civilized enough to get brews when ya need them but wild enough to avoid your neighbors if ya have too. You guys know what I’m talking about, ehh?

I made my base camp for the trip at the Cascade Lodge and Restaurant in Grand Marais. Stayed in room 5A of their motel up the hill into the trees a bit where the parking was close. Unfortunately the walls were thin and I could hear the shabanging during the nights from the room next door. Aw hell, the price was right and I got a forty dollar discount for the four night stay that I had arranged. That was enough for beer money I figured for a couple a the nights.

The place is right on Highway 61 (Hey you guys, Bob Dylan made this highway famous before most a ya were born.) with Lake Superior on the other side of the road. It’s got a decent enough little restaurant that’s open from 8:00 am ‘til about 8:30 pm where you can get beer and wine with your dinner.

I went out Saturday and covered a couple a hundred miles looking at some places; hoping that they had access to a stream or other body of water. Not bad. They call this area round about here the Iron Range, so its hills and low mountains and such are home to some of the taconite (iron ore) workings. I never was much into skiing but I know that, nearby, Lutsen that I had driven through on the way up and again while heading back to the lodge had been a destination for many from my high school days. They’ve got a place there that had been a little out of my price range, the Lutsen Resort and Sea Villas, that I stopped at on my way back to checkout because they also advertise real estate. It was mainly “resort” properties. Not what I wanted. But they’ve got a place to wet your whistle, the Poplar River Pub, where I grabbed a cold one (damn that was good), another one and a case for Sunday. While the bartender went in back to get the case I grabbed one of the resort brochures from the counter by the cash register and stuck it in my back pocket. A little quiet in there right then, but I thought I might come back down after dinner.

I jumped back in my rental and made the seven or eight mile drive north back to the Cascade Lodge, cleaned up and went to dinner at their restaurant. Had a good pork chop plate with three cold ones and pulled the brochure from Lutsen out of my pocket and read through it as I was finishing the last beer. In the brochure they described some of the fun activities available back at their place. You could fish, kayak, ski (in season), throw rocks, hike and watch wildlife. Ya the typical stuff.

I left the wholesome waitress of Scandinavian descent a fair tip and went back to my room to get ready to go back to the Poplar River Pub and to give the honey back home a call to describe the progress I’d made for the first day of looking. We chatted for a bit and closed with “I miss you” stuff. Damn if I hadn’t pounded another three beers while I was talking to her and I had to piss like a horse now. Got that taken care with my tool in one hand and another brew in the other.

Shit, I think I’ve got a buzz on now. I go over to the mirror above the bureau take my glasses off and try to focus on myself. No dice - can’t do it. Maybe I better not drive anywhere I’m thinkin. Damn, I feel good but my overwhelming, almost senior citizen, common sense says “uh uhh, nope, no-way, nada.” Now what, the night’s still young?

I decide to go down and across the road to the lake and sit like an old fart on one of the bigger boulders. So I stick four brews in my pockets and continue on with the one in my hand down to the lake. At this rate I’ll only have half a case left for tomorrow and you can’t buy here on Sundays. Aw shit, what the heck!

Down at the lake I’m just watchin the sky, lookin back at the resort, watchin the cars pass by, checkin out the water and all that crap. Just enjoying it all and enjoying the brew that’s now not so dang cold. Ah, just chug em and move on I think. There’s just tons of rocks here, its not a sandy shore that’s for sure. What did that brochure say? Throwing rocks? Yeah, I haven’t skipped stones in ages. So I start tossin pebbles out across the water and pretty soon that old right shoulder of mine gives me a rowdy stinkin ouch.

Ok - lets try this with my left hand.

Booger if I don’t feel like some sorta spasmo-taz. I’m so f’n uncoordinated doing this I gotta look like some kind a fool. Sure hope that nobody’s watching me, ehh.

Oh, yikes! Someone’s coming down from the road. Shit, it’s a cop too. He says to me “What ya doing there buddy?” as I notice my empties tossed about in the beam of his flashlight. I tell him that I’m just tossing some rocks. Then he says that that ain’t allowed here. (What the fuck???) He says the only place it’s allowed is back down to Lutsen. I tell him, with a hell of a slur in my voice, “Ya gotta be kidding”

Then he says “Ya been drinking buddy?”

No denying that I guess so I said “Yeah a little.”

“Let’s go up to the side a the road there. Ya got ID on ya? Let’s get it out.”

So we scramble back up to the road by his squad car. “Cook County Sheriff”, I can sort of read.

Shit, shit, shit I’m thinkin.

He scrapes out a straight line with his boot, about twenty feet long, along his car in the pea gravel shoulder of Highway 61 and says “I want you to walk that line.”

Crap! I’d have a hard time doing that even if I was sober I’m thinking because a havin that one leg so much shorter then the other. I give it a shot though and just about spin a complete circle, almost falling down.

He now tells me that he’s gonna have to take me in for throwing stones and public intoxication. Knowing that I’m from outta state as shown on my license he asks me where I’m staying. I let him know that its just right across the highway.

He thinks about that a bit and says to me “I’d let ya go back to the motel if you were only drunk but because you were throwing stones you’re gonna have to come down to Cook County Law Enforcement Center with me and fill out some paperwork and post a bond for fifty bucks.”

I’m thinking “fifty bucks Esther, maybe this’ll be easy except for the fine“.

So he has me get in the back of his cruiser, no hand cuffs - thank you, and takes me in. We get to station and I post the bond money and start filling out the paperwork and I’ll be damned if I didn’t fall asleep or pass out drunk, ehh.

I wake up inside a cell on a bunk to all kinds of commotion outside the holding area that I’m in. I look around and get myself kinda cognizant of where I am, seeing that I’m the only one in here.

Damn what is going on out there and what was that crazy dream that I’d just had?

I’d been dreaming that I was walking up to an arena with my gear bag and sticks over my shoulder. It was a big place, I mean something big enough for an NHL game. I’m feeling a little nervous - kinda like when ya get the shits before the first couple a game of the season, ya know. And outside the arena were all these vendors pushing carts and hawking their goods like the guys ya see downtown selling ice cream and cold treats with bells ringing and shit. ‘Cept these guys were selling stuff called Durdy Deeds.

I walk by one vendor and he yells at me “Wut ya want kid? I got sum Hi-Stix, But-Ends and Cros-Chex left. Ya gonna neeeed em! Anything ya buy comes with get outta jail free cards.”

What the fuck is this ???

Another’s yelling “Get ya hooks right here! I got elbows, come on guys, I got elbows! Get ya hooks! Right here, right here, now!”

A vendor over to the left is hawking “Stitches, get your stitches, sutures here, you’re gonna need em! Get’m here! Going fast! Stitches!” Catches his breath and he starts again “I got knuckle bumps and black eyes, it’s all good shit guys, gettttemmm here!”

The dream continues and I’m feeling really queasy as I head through the doors of the arena.

Inside the music is screaming over the loud speakers of the public address system. So loud and so strong are the bass notes that it takes my breath away … “DURDY DEEDS DUN DURT CHEAP … DURDY DEEDS DUN DURT CHEAP …” I walk through the mezzanine with the adrenaline now coursing through my veins and look down upon the ice surface below.

No glass, no fish nets for the crowd’s protection - just from the top of boards to a structure of steel framework that runs all the way across the rink - nothing but chain link fence! This is old time hockey at its rawest - inside the cage. You go in and ya can’t come out. It’s the lions den, in the style of Roman gladiators. A fight to the finish; where only one man remains skating and his team will hoard the glory as being victors of it all.

That’s it. That’s when I woke up to all this damn commotion. I was sweating like crazy and really needed to take a wiz.

I got that taken care of and the sheriff that had popped me comes in through the far door and sees me standing in the cell. He says “Good, Mr. Wheats, glad to see your up. You passed out up front when we had you filling out the paperwork, so we put ya back here to sleep it off. We gotta get ya out of here though, need the room, cuz we got several carloads of rowdy asses that we gotta put away!”

Still feeling a little toasted, I ask him what time it was and what’s all the noise.

He lets me know that its past 4:30 going on 5:00 am. Says they had to bust up a bachelors party down at the Lutsen Resort. Says it was Eric Staals’ party and that he’s getting married in couple weeks or something. He and his brother Jordan and bunch of cousins and such had come down from Thunder Bay and they’d all gotten out of hand and they’d have to spend a little time in the poky.

I’m thinking to myself, why’d these boys (A couple a them were NHL stars, ehh?) come down here into the States to party. Eric’s maybe legal age here, but Jordan sure the hell isn’t yet. And how about those cousins? For my own dollar I’d rather party in Canada. The clubs up there are often times pretty good too.

Crazy man, just absolutely crazy!

So the Staals are walking with wood, doing a little time in this here sin-bin. Me too, done my time. Crazy dreams! And great Minnesota surroundings. The beer had been cold, the skeeters weren’t biting too bad and I had all of the rest of Sunday to get my shit together before I went looking at properties again.

Jasper here until next time.

Hey, skate hard you guys!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Potter Party vs. Hockey Party

Shit! Its just f’n amazing how fast time flies by when you’re having fun. Ehh? Still involved with that new job search routine, but it doesn’t seem that anybody has a use for a little ole puckster like me. So I’m enjoying my time off instead. Kinda feel like a young pup again. Not a worry in the world (yeah, right, wtf). The honey and me drove over to a nearby town last night and caught one of those concerts in the park. It was some good shit and the beer as always was cold.

Yep. Another week’s gone by since my last bit of writing and Ms. Rowling’s released another Harry Potter book at midnight last night. Guess that’s her seventh story as compared to about thirty of my stories here at the blog. Kind wished I’d a met her back when she was poor and possibly was still a good looking bitch. Maybe we’d a made some time together or something. Anyway, I could sure use some of her income right now. I hear that she’s got more money than the Queen of England. Ain’t that something you guys?

This morning I see on the news how a bunch of these bookstores had “Potter Parties” last night with lots a the folks in costumes and all that make believe shit. Now I’ve got nothing against good fiction. Hell, you guys get a shit load of that here, ehh? And I gotta say that I’ve never, ever read one of the books or even seen one of the movies all the way through. But what the heck, I’ve seen enough to make some Wheats relevant comments here.

I’m kinda a nut for things bewitching, mysterious, fantasy and horror. And this Potter dude seems to be ok even though he’s not a puckhead. He’d probably been a pretty damn good one though if that’s the way Rowling woulda written it. You know ya see him flying around on his broom - he zigs when his pursuers zag and all that damn shit. I think he coulda put on some ding-dang good deaks and go top shelf easy. Whatta ya think about that? And that broom, it ain’t that damn much different then a durn good old wooden hockey stick. How many of you folks out there in your youth, didn’t pull that tripod trick where you squatted down and put your weight on your stick as you tucked it between your legs. Yeah, you were riding a broom, buster. Potter’s got the chick too. Nice! All in all I gotta say Harry is walking with wood.

Back to the “Potter Parties”. They remind me a lot of the hockey team’s Halloween parties. Shit if we didn’t get all duded up for those things. Dressed up like witches, wizards and warlocks. Monsters, whores and sexy little bunnies too. They started early and ya didn’t have to wait in no line before ya could get the party going. And they always lasted into the wee hours of the morning. We always had lots of liquor and plenty of cold beer. Well, never enough, someone always made a last beer run before the liquor store closed. Most a the time we had good eats cuz the ladies always liked to make a fuss about that stuff. Chips always worked for me or an occasional slice a pizza would do, but the girls always made it a bit better bringing lasagna, salads, deserts or something delish.

I remember one particular party that we had over to Damon’s. Damon was one hell of a burley sorta guy. He had played as forward up through Juniors and then there would occasional rotate through as de. When he came on board with us he was playing defense only and the first year or so he was my partner back there. He and couple of work buddies had rented a house over in the old part of town where the joints were well shaded under nice forty or fifty year old trees. Kinda quiet side of town but economical enough for him and his buds. It was a corner house with plenty of room for parking up and down both streets.

I can’t remember what disguise I was wearing that year - shit it doesn’t matter for the gist of the story so don’t worry about it, ehh, cuz I’m not going to. I’d been over to Damon’s few times before this party to watch video tapes. He was really into Friday night movies and beer if we didn’t have a game. But the night of this party the whole inside of his house had been stripped down. The only shit in the house was in the kitchen where there was still a table and couple of chairs, plus the fridge and stove. I don’t know, but maybe the guys were getting kicked out or leaving soon, but the place was bare. We all had to stand around but it made it better for dancin and shit.

The floor of the kitchen was a light/dark vinyl tile that was slippery when wet. With the keg in giant trash bag with bags of ice around it we were making one hell of a mess. Most of us slipped a couple a times, at least, and one time I saw Damon’s dog, a rowdy shepherd mix, come around the corner a bit too fast and slide out into the far wall. The whole time his nails scrappin like a mile a minute to get traction looking like some fool cartoon character.

Anyway, kudos to Damon for throwing the party. Yeah, guys, he’s walking with wood too.
We’re all shooting the shit and other bullcrap just getting totally krunk. Flirting, dancing, doing a little sqeezin and just generally all having a crazy ass time.

One of our teammate’s, Woody, was as usual having his share of beer. Good guy, always walking with wood. I had coached him when he was a Midget and after Juniors he came and skated with us. He’d been born in Scotland and raised as a young kid in Toronto. Was always fun to listen to his mom yell at him with that strong Scottish accent of hers during games. Woody wasn’t too tall but he’s a hell of good center. I believe he led the league two years in row for scoring. A little fire hydrant full of zip!

Yupper, full zip and that night of the party - full of beer. I’m sure that night in his boisterous lilt he led us in singing “Here’s to Brother Damon, Bother Damon …” and for sure in a round of “Mack the Knife”. Loves to sing that drunken fool!

Like I said he’s full of brewskies and full of shit. I’m standing there talking to him and he starts burping and clutching at his belly. I said to him “Ya alright dude?”

He says back “I think I better go outside for a bit and get some fresh air.”

He disappears for a while and comes back in and acts like he hasn’t missed a beat just looking a shit load better. I quiz him a bit and he tells me he just went out and threw-up so that he could keep drinking. No point in feeling sick, I guess, when there’s cold beer to chug.

After a certain point, Woody, always gets a bit obnoxious. Factual. No denying it - he just does. Hits the wall and he’s beyond shitfaced. That night was no different.

So what you do with a belligerent drunk that’s on the verge of passing out? Well, you take him outside and saran-wrap him to one of those fine shade trees in Damon’s front yard. And that’s zactly what we did. Fool never even knew what happened too him. Eventually someone took him down, yeah, poured him into a vehicle and took him home.

Yes-sirree, nothing like a kick-ass hockey Halloween party. I betcha that none of those “Potter Parties” last night were as good as one of these.

Later, my friends.

Jasper here, krankin from the backwoods telling ya to skate hard.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

California Trip

Hey there all my puckhead, hockey hood and little puckster friends.

Here’s a little shout-out:


Good shit, I hope. Ehh? It’s summer and as far as I’m concerned we all ought to be havin a good time.

I sure the shit am. I managed to get a little vacation in this past week and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to write it off as a job search expense on my stinkin income tax.

I’ve been looking for a new job and sending out applications all over the damn world. It seems as though its tough for a short little lopsided puckster like myself to find the appropriately rewarding employment that I seek. Such is life when you’re just a little ole party animal that otherwise likes the reclusive atmosphere of the backwoods, ehh. You guys know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I set up a few interviews for the week in the Sacramento and San Francisco area or as they say out there “Northern California.” I don’t know why the fuck they call it Northern California. Sheesh, look at a map folks, this is Central California. In my opinion Northern California’s got to be up at the end of the state near Oregon. Shit, I think most of the folks on the west coast have got their heads up their asses anyway. Kinda like most of the ref’s that we have had to deal with over the years, ehh?

I flew into Sacramento and I tell ya that area around the airport could pass for the wheat fields back home. Had an interview in town and hoped maybe I’d catch sight of the Governator. No luck on that. Sacramento’s a fairly big city I came to realize not just some farm-burg like I was expecting. Plus I kinda got lost tying to find my way to the interview on Q Street. Oh well, I was almost late but afterwards it was time to move on.

There was some Major League Baseball Allstar Game activities over in San Francisco that I wanted to see. So I figure out how to get outta town heading west on Interstate 80. It must be ninety to a hundred miles to get to San Francisco but I did have some time for a side trip or two.

There were some ice rinks that I wanted to stop in and see and then my girl back home always says that if we ever get married then we’re going to honeymoon in Napa Valley. She’s a bit of wino you know, so I thought I better check that place out in preparation in case hell ever freezes over, if ya know what I mean.

My first stop was the Vacaville Ice Sports a rink in Vacaville which was right off I-80. But what a pain in the butt trouble I had trying to find it. Damn, whatever happened to having streets organized in a nice square grid? Anyway, I found the rink. It’s a nice double rink but doesn’t have much spectator seating and shares its parking lot with one of those monster size movie theaters. I roamed around a bit outside and chatted with some of the local folks, most of which I came to realize didn’t even know the rink existed.


I saw one of those Outback Steakhouses across the street and thought I get a late lunch but the place wasn’t opened yet. Kinda figure that chain’s probably going to go out business if it don’t open up for lunch. I settled on a Denny’s, which was OK cuz I figured that they’d have something I was familiar with then got back on my way again.

Checking my map, I see that pretty soon I’ve get off of I-80 and jog a bit north to get to Napa. Damned if in the next town, Fairfield, there isn’t one of those Budweiser breweries just south of the interstate. These places I’m told hold tours with some sampling activities. I got an idea that if me and the sweets ever come out this way, like she talks, then she can do her wine tour one day and I’ll come over here. Not bad thinkin ehh?

So I get through Napa and head over to Santa Rosa to see the rink there. That’s where Charles Schultz of comic strip fame always held his annual Snoopy Tournament. Doesn’t look like they hold it anymore since he passed on to that big rink in the sky. They were showing some announcements for a Woodstock Tournament but it was only going to host eight teams. Not the same I guess. Wished I’d been able to play in one of those earlier tourneys.

From Santa Rosa I head south on US Highway 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge, spectacular, into San Francisco. Here I’m going to hang out with one of Bronzy’s friends, Ricky, for a few days and try to see some Allstar Game shit. Well that didn’t really pan out cuz everything was sold out but I kinda hung around everything and toured about in this humongous city. Fuckin scary with all the skyscrapers and too damn many people. Traffic in this town absolutely sucks too. I don’t know why Ricky likes living here.

There’s a lot to see that’s for sure but I kinda wanted to be by the water so I spend a day walking the Embarcadero and had wanted to see the Sala Burton Maritime Museum again. It’s the only thing I remember from a visit here as a kid with my folks. But that place was fenced off and boarded up as some construction company was fuckin the hell outta the place. Sad.

Like I said I did hang out around AT&T Park for some baseball stuff. My kinda people partying over there. Thought maybe I’d see some stars or famous folks walkin around but was just too blasted to notice, really. I met this dude, Jason, while wandering about. Bumped into him actually and thought that we were going to throw down and go at it at first off. But he said he caught my accent (what accent) and it reminded him of his bud, Bobby. He says to me, “Do you play hockey, stud?” Hell, if we didn’t hit if off from there. He had played baseball and football in high school and college, but I’m tellin ya this tough little shit would a been one hell of a grinder on the ice if he’d had the opportunity that we just seem to take for granted. This dude walks with wood guys. He said that he’d been to the home run event and was going to the big game too. It was a good deal for him, being a Giants fan and all. But, damn, if we didn’t get rowdy drunk and Jason knew some of the honeys where we were at that hung with us (I think the rest of the night????). Don’t know where we were and I don’t know how I found my way back to Ricky’s, but the next morning I woke up in front of his front door. He let me in to crash while he headed off to work. Some good time ehh?

The next day I had a couple of interviews scheduled south of San Francisco. Got my act together and pulled them off OK I think. And from there I went further south to check out the rink in Cupertino. The Cupertino Ice Center is where the California Cougars youth hockey club skates.

I pull into the parking lot off of Wolfe Road to park and go inside and give it a look see. The parking lot was pretty full and I thought it was a little odd to be so packed this time of the afternoon. Most of the ladies’ coffee skates are over by one or two o’clock right? But it just didn’t seem right. I noticed that some of the cars were limos and there were a whole bunch of AT&T vans in the lot too. Curious, it didn’t stop me, so I went inside.

Oh lordy folks. You’ve never seen such a mess. You know how you set the cones out across the redline so that ya can run a half-ice practice for both Squirts and Mites at the same time? Well they had sort of done the same thing here.

What they had going on was on one half of the ice they were testing out the I-Puck and its system requirements, so Apple and the AT&T folks were networked all over the rink connected to Versus Cable Network equipment. Cables, wireless shit, cameras and video systems all over the fuckin place. And all these f’n tech heads with only three or four guys laced up out on the ice. The other half of the rink was being used to simulate the Zambooma ice cleaning/intermission entertainment system. Seems as though Apple and AT&T are married together on this little project too but with the boys at Zamboni. I’m telling you though, there was one hell of a lot of activity going on in this place.

I gotta tell ya that all of this was one big cluster fuck in my opinion. I talked to one of the tech heads a bit and he said that they wanted to see how the Zamboomba and I-Puck system interfaced with each other. You know, were their operating frequencies going to mess each other up and that sort a shit. The cones were out there to delineate the boundaries for the Zamboomba test but as we all know those cones never stop all the pucks from crossing over to the other side of the ice. (Hell, from my experience they don’t even stop Mites from wandering.)

I don’t know what was happening technically but I gotta tell you guys I saw the Zamboombas chew up about six or seven I-Pucks while I was in there for my short visit. Figuring that they’re prototypes, yet, both the Zamboombas and the I-Pucks, their manufacture hadn’t realized any cost economies so they were awfully expensive little units. It was like the Zamboombas chugged and puked and the I-Pucks got spit out as slivers of rubber and crushed electronics. I’m thinking that it’s a good thing I’m not seeing any NHL lawyer types or we would be seeing another lockout season for 2007/2008. Scary again but fuckin hilarious.

Come on guys, lets bring back some old time hockey.

I look at my watch and its coming on to about 5:00 pm and I’ve got a red-eye out of Sacramento later tonight. I gotta hit the road. Get some dinner. Shit, I’ll probably get lost trying to find my way on this crazy freeway system that they have here in California.

Its like that there in California. Too much innovation is making everything so ding-dang complicated. Give me the woods. Give me a frozen pond and a good old wooden hockey stick. Let me enjoy life and walk with wood.

California? A road trip or vacation - it can be OK. They got some good folks, like Jason. But I don’t know if I could work there. Wonder what’s going to happen with those interviews?

Later guys. Jasper here, signing off ‘til next time.

Skate hard!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Whollapucklooza 2008

Hey you guys. Here in the states our celebration of our independence, the 4th of July, is now past and I’ll be damned if it isn’t full on summer! Hell yeah! It’s the time of year to enjoy life and do some celebrating.

My guys from the Outlaws used to usually have an annual alumni game and dinner party scheduled before the end of the summer season where we all get together for a couple of fun hours of ice time, a decent meal and one heck of a lot of drinkin and carrying-on. Generally migrating to the west coast we’ve had these events in Southern California in such places as: Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, and La Jolla. My memory fails me a little bit once in a while now days but it seems as though we came inland a bit once and had one of these whollapuckloozas in Vegas too.

All of these, for sure, were really fuckin good times.

Damn though, we haven’t had one for a while. I really miss the free-for-all fun that we had at these celebrations and the chance to re-connect with folks that I’ve skated with over the years. I kind figure that one of the reasons we haven’t had one recently is that most of us now have finally gotten married, or gotten “real jobs” and have made commitments to another life style.

Bull crap guys! You can have that other lifestyle for 364 days of the year but for just one day you gotta drop that shit and bring back the glory of days gone by. You gotta walk with wood again. The days of losing on the ice but winning in the bar. Hell, the days of winning both! Bring the wife, bring the kids, heck all mighty bring the grandkids. It’s time these folks loosen their shorts a bit and learn how to have a good time! Ehh?

So I’m thinkin that I’ve still got a bunch of Outlaw buddies and I’ve now gained just a bucket-a-crap full of internet skaters that just might be interested in pulling together a whollapucklooza for next summer. Yeah, you're thinkin “why not this summer?” Well I tell ya, it just takes too much planning to pull off the perfect event - that’s why. Puckheads - sheeeesh!

You know depending on participation it might have to be more of a tournament sort of thing eventually. But we’ll see. Maybe hand out some awards and do a bit of personality roasting at the dinner.

The idea that I have right now - to get the right party atmosphere - would be to tie it into the Sturgis rally in August of next year in western South Dakota. That’s a pretty central location for points in Canada and the States. Sturgis is going on August 4th through the 10th next year so start thinkin about setting that time aside. Do a little scooter-tootin, do a little puck shootin, and do a hella lotta partying, ehh!

About half my old Outlaws are now Harley riders so I think the tie-in will work pretty well. There’s a story to that you know. Back when I was coaching the Outlaws, this was when they were semi-pro, we had a kid that had skated for Badger Bob on our team. Maco, had gotten out a school and went to work for NCR as a bullshit sales person. He sold a software package to Bank of America and was set for life. Being from the great state of Wisconsin, having a particular love for that state’s famous brand of motorcycle and having an entrepreneurial spirit he started up EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals. The guys from the team invested with him and in turn got a Harley themselves. Not a bad deal now is that, ehh? He’s fuckin worldwide now and if you’ve got the money and the right location he’ll sell ya a franchise. I’m betting that if you don’t have a bike and want to participate in the Sturgis bike activities then you can probably rent one from Eagle Rider. Just remember to do it way in advance because the Europeans like to come over big time and get involved and just might already have him rented out for next year. Can’t say for sure though. Check it out, ehh?

So what’s Western South Dakota got to offer besides all the scooter-tootin activities associated with Sturgis?

Rapid City has the ice rink and is only about twenty-five miles from Sturgis. Its the Roosevelt Ice Arena over on Waterloo Street. Rage Hockey Club skates there. So while we’re staying in town let me tell ya that there are about sixty hotels, fifteen campgrounds and ten bed and breakfasts to choose from. If ya got your vehicle or scooter tied up and ya got the family with ya then they or you can get over to the rink on the Rapid Ride transit system. If ya show your skates ya can ride for free to the rink. The city has over forty bars and over ten banquet halls to choose from yet for our festivities. Shit howdy if I’m not gettin a bit excited thinkin about this!

“What else?”, your saying.

Well, damn right if we aren’t in the Black Hills. Pan for gold, ehh? We’ve got Mount Rushmore to go see. You know that that’s going to be a daily little scooter-toot for the bikers so that should be hella fun time. You can do some trout fishin if your into that sort of thing. And then there’s Deadwood.

I’m thinking that we could make a special excursion to Deadwood. Its become pretty famous these days due to the cable TV show of the same name and the whole town is on the National Historical Register. But why a special excursion, ehh? The Outlaws have an alumnus that has always carried the nickname of Wild Bill. He’s now become highly respected in the medicinal herbs and pharmaceutical industry; but that’s another story to be told at a later date, I’m sure. So to celebrate (Hell, who needs an excuse, ehh?) our Wild Bill, we’ll go visit the town where Wild Bill Hickock was gunned down from the back by Jack McCall while holding a dead mans hand (aces and eights) in a game of poker. Sheeeet, we’ll even have to go out to his memorialized grave site and tip some brewskies to the legend while we're certainly ensuring that our Wild Bill is getting totally inebriated.

One thing kinda interesting that I gotta mention about Wild Bill’s killer, Jack McCall, is that he got tried twice for the murder. The first time he was acquitted and set free and then later apprehended and found guilty and hung for his crime. Scary, the laws that they have in South Dakota, ehh?

I’m sure that there’s a shit load of other rollicking activities that we can get involved in and also a bunch of family doings around in the area - but I haven’t done enough research otherwise to discuss here at this time. I figure, myself, that about one tenth the population of South Dakota is related to me in some way or other, so I could catch up on some family ties and get rowdy drunk with cousins. Any of you guys and gals are welcome to join in, I’m sure. The Wheats family has always enjoyed a good time.

So whacha think? Whollapucklooza in 2008? Or another year? 2010 will be the 70th anniversary Sturgis Run. Wait til then and really whoop it up or what?

Jasper here - let me know what ya think.

Skate hard and walk with wood guys!