Cougar Crew Days and Class Day 2009
By Tim “Haole” Richards
Greetings and Aloha to Family and Friends, Team Members, Alumni, and Supporters!
The weekend of March 21 and 22 found current and “historic” Cougar Crew participants making their way back to the Palouse for the annual gathering of Cougar Crew Days and the Class Day Races. As you might recall, last year a new parents “Cougar Crew Booster Club” was formed. It was decided that this spring event should include this new group and thus was born Cougar Crew Days.
The weekend started with the “ice breaker” BBQ at the old Stock Pavilion. For those of you who have not made it back as yet, you will not recognize the stock pavilion; it has been entirely redone as a hospitality facility. (It is a far cry from the cinder floors of yore where we used to refinish the wooden shells!) Under the ever present and even keeled Doug “D’Engle” Engle’s stewardship, a combination of 80 or so alumni, parents, and friends showed up over the evening. Our greeter, none other than Ken and Marj “Crew Mom” Struckmeyer stayed the entire night. With burgers and bratwurst, stories were recounted and friendships rekindled. As to be anticipated, the party ended with many people still in attendance. Many hands made the cleanup quick and groups soon adjourned to old favorite haunts like Rico’s and My Office for further reminiscing.
Saturday morning started with the annual Cougar Crew Alumni Association Board of Directors Business Meeting. Many topics were covered; most revolving around the future and direction of Men’s Cougar Crew. During the winter and early spring, the team had met with WSU’s President Elson Floyd and put forth the concept of a Varsity Club. The Team was invited to make a presentation to the Athletic Council several weeks ago. (The Athletic Council reviews and makes recommendations to the President and the Athletic Director on things concerning university athletics.) The reception from the council was positive but not overly optimistic in the near future due to the current fiscal problems. The team was invited to represent again in the future. (For details of the meeting go to the minutes.)
Adjournment was at lunchtime and then all dashed to the river for the “races” and “fun rows”. We tried something new this year; Robb Obom organized a “fun row” for those who did not want to attempt anything too stressful for fear of trading one type of “stroke” for another…….. Several 4’s and an 8 made the ranks with a voice out of the past as Celebrity Coaching; Struckmeyer! Being on the water with all those same guys and that voice booming over the water……. Déjà vu! I swear Mike Pabisz and Tim Zeiler had flashbacks to Fall Saturday rowing of mile after endless mile.
Another celebrity group showed up as a team to remember and just slightly relive history; The MeatWagon 4! (They won the IRA National Championship in 1979.) Rich “el Flipper” Ray, John “Yumbo” Holtman, Doug “D’Engle” Engle, and Chris “Squishy” Gulick under the direction of none other than Al “Horsehack” Fisher! Talk about a stumble down memory lanes.
The weather was perfect. The wind had quit and temperatures hit in the upper 60’s/low 70’s. (Alumni informed the current team that we had called ahead and arranged the weather. We also told the team we would teach them how to do it AFTER they graduated..) The Sophomores had won the right to race alumni during their Class Races on Friday so after the slow row, 4 eights took to the water for the race. The Sophomores, a boat of Sub-30 youngster alumni, and 2 boats of “Masters”. 500 meters of pain lay ahead for the less conditioned. At the start, one of the Masters took an early and impressive lead. (There are those that would say it had to do with when we actually started rowing but without irrefutable evidence to the contrary I believe it was seasoned racing technique.) A reasonably close competition with the boats having some proximity…. At the end of the race(2 ½ hours or it just felt that way) the Sub-30’s were able to hold off the Sophomores and cross first. The “Masters”? Happy to report all finished and made it out of the shell without medical help. A few coxswains were sacrificed to the River Gods. (One or two other alumni found themselves offered as sacrifice by way of taking long walks off short docks.)
With river festivities over, all made the trek back to Pullman to ready for the evening Banquet. This year it was held at the newly renovated CUB in the Senior Ballroom. The remodel of the CUB is spectacular. Greatly modernized and done quite well. Gatherings started on the lower level in the new restaurant & bar. As more and more showed up, the ballroom filled. By last counts, almost 200 people were in attendance. University President Elson Floyd was invited and attended a portion of the evening. He gave a very complimentary talk of the Men’s Cougar Crew and pledged to work towards getting it the university support it needs to excel. He closed by making a personal $2000 donation to our efforts.
As the years in the past, a silent auction and raffle was organized. Lisa (Coble) Curtis headed up the effort and doing things a little differently, she orchestrated a live auction as well. By the end of the night, over $25,000 had been raised; nearly doubling last year’s efforts. The evening wound down with groups once again going to local hangouts to spend a few more moments reliving shared experiences before having to go back home. Sunday morning brought many getting together for farewell breakfasts. A group of the 70’s & 80’s got together with Struckmeyer & Marj and had a few more laughs before starting to make their ways back to reality.
To those of you who made it; thanks for coming. Any way you look at it the weekend was a great success! To those who couldn’t get there, I hope you can make it next year. We keep looking to reconnect with former members, men and women. Efforts were recently made and Kerin “Jane Jane” McKellar has been found! She promised to be there next year. Who was there this year?
David Yorozu, Tim Malkow, Chris Gulick, Doug Engle, John Delong, Alan Fisher, Robert Obom, Keith Kesselring, Tim Richards, Rich Ray, Mike Buckley, Lisa Curtis, Brad Carlberg, Mike Pabisz, John Holtman, Maureen Guido, Sandra Buckley, Tim Zeiler, John Lafer, Jess O’Dell, Michael Riley, Lynn Waelti, Vicky O’Dell, Ryan Hui, Dan Thayer, Josh Proctor, Ryan Herrington, Karl Cronk, Alex van Rijn, Tamee Wight, David Worley, Luke Jones, Charlie Remington, Peter Brevick, Patrick Pursley, Chris Jantzen, Chris Seaman, Jason Lackie, Jenny Besagno, Sean Martin, Karl Huhta, and Mary Andreotti.
I hope your name is on the list next year. Remember, CCAA Fall Meeting in Seattle November 14th (Saturday, the day before Head of the Lake Regatta). Next year Cougar Crew Days will be during the weekend of March 20 & 21, 2010. See you there!!!