May 1999 Gathering

Attendees: Lady Lou, her hubby Big B, their dog Gizmo, Green, MJ (with her husband TT, daughter LuLu and their foreign exchange student, Olga), Dave Young, Eags, Mom and Dad with Emmy and Hannah, Terry and Inks Valentine, and Patsfan all the way from St. Louis, Missouri.

The May 29th STB-L! was held at Lady Lou and Big B's log home on a lake in western Wisconsin. The weather was perfect—sunny, warm, but not too hot, and a beautiful view.

Lady Lou and Big B were the perfect host and hostess. There had been lots of prep work done before we arrived. Lady Lou is quite the cook and she had been baking, fixing, and preparing food for at least a week. There was one counter just loaded with food when we arrived—and that was just the snack stuff for the afternoon!

The activity of the afternoon was visiting, laughing, and fishing. Wisconsin made good money that day on fishing licenses. Two stringers of sunnies were caught that afternoon right off the dock!

As dinnertime approached, the grills were fired up and everyone fixed their steaks or brats and put out all the accompanying food. Some of us were so full from the salads, home-made baked beans, and the snacks from earlier in the day, that we had to bring part or all of our steaks back home with us.

We also celebrated birthdays. Big B's, Patsfan's 2-year-old - FHOFer, and Terry's. Lady Lou had gotten a cake with a football theme for the FHOFer, a fishing theme for Big B, and an angel looking over the whole thing for Terry.....all on one cake!

We also sent some gifts home with Patsfan for the new baby at his house....a baby girl dubbed Mz. A!

Eventually, we all headed back to the Twin Cities, though it wasn't easy to leave. Big B and Lady Lou live on their own little piece of paradise and big thanks go to them for sharing with the Cooler Crew!

April 1999 Gathering

Attendees: Eags, Mom. Dad, Emmy and Hannah, Inks and Terry Valentine. Several of the other regulars were not feeling well or were out of town. We decided to have a potluck barbecue this month at the Valentine's.

For this gathering, we celebrated Mom's 30th birthday. Earlier in the day, 4-year-old Emily, who is smart as a whip, helped Terry bake, frost, and decorate a cake for her Mom's special day. Doing dishes was part of the deal and she was a great dish rinser!

Later, Mom, Dad, and Hannah arrived, and Eags arrived shortly afterwards. We grilled and shared a fabulous feast. This Crew definately knows how to eat well!

After dinner, we visited, sang "Happy Birthday," ate cake, and watched Mom open the gift we had picked out for her. It was a nest-shaped, hanging bird feeder with Woodstock (Snoopy's bird buddy) nestled inside.

The Woodstock theme was the result of Mom and Dad having recently purchased a wooded lot from Bob e in Sturgeon Lake. The lot is on a road called Woodstock.

After cake and ice cream, Mom took the two girls to Grandma's for the rest of the evening. We visited, thought about playing Trivial Pursuit, visited some more, laughed, and about midnight decided to call it a night.

We're hoping that the crew is healthier by May!

Monthly Gathering in St. Paul, MN


For more information about future STB-L gatherings, we're available for chitchat most every night at the Pioneer Planet's message board, "Shoot the breeze with the Water Cooler crew." If you have more formal questions about the Cooler Crew, contact the one and only Green or Terry Valentine.

Crew Veterans Ace Fitgers Bock Hunt & Festival

Cards, Conversation, and Camaraderie

The annual bock hunt at the Fitger's Hotel and Brewery complex in Duluth was a smashing good time for several of our Coolerheads. With a year's hunting experience already under their belts, they were able to find five of the seven bocks hidden. Considering only six of the seven were found at all, the Crew came as near a sweep as they could get. It may not be as well known as the granddaddy medallion hunt, but the Fitger's hunt serves as a nice confidence booster and an excuse for family fun on the shore of Lake Superior. For details, check the Bock Club.

Cooler Crew - In Charlotte?

From Quarter Moon on STB-L message board

Was in Charlotte last night at at Japanese restaurant..had on my COOLER shirt....a lady came up and asked me if I was from St. Paul? I told her "no" but that I had friends there. She asked where she could get a t-shirt like this, and I told her she had to be a member of the Cooler Crew and gave her the Web site address. Hope to see her soon....she was a very nice person.

Cooler Crew Contributors

The list of credits for online and offline dedication to the Cooler Crew continues to grow. Many people have helped get this thing off the ground, which means if you see that a name needs to be added to the list, contact the webmaster. Credit will be given to both those who have inspired and those who continue to aspire to great things for the Cooler Crew Online Community. Those who perspire heavily and for no good reason will likely be left off the list (unless a medical certificate is included with an explanation for all that sweat).

March 1999 Gathering

Attendees: Dave Young, Eags, Allison, MJ and TT, Emmy and Hannah's Mom and Dad, Green, Radar, Inks and Terry Valentine. We had our favorite waitress there, too. Her name is Katie. She's a very mature 16-year-old, and she's a real sweetheart.

We wandered in as usual, in a span of about an hour. Most of us were there by 5:30 p.m., with Eags and Dave Young coming a bit later. Allison brought some games to share.

We had dinner - and it was wonderful! We ended up playing Scattergories most of the night. There were lots of laughs, lots of fun, and lots of great company! Eags brought some pictures from the prehunt bash, the rehash bash and our meeting with Bob e, and the torte-eating contest that Dave Young entered at the Fitger's Bock Fest! It's fun passing pictures around. Now that the snow is about gone, it seems like quite awhile ago that we were hunting. Time does fly!

Then as the evening ended...we all went home, got on our 'puters, and talked with each other online.

1999 Fitger's Bock Hunt and Festival


Those attending the 1999 Fitger's Bock Hunt and Festival in Duluth, MN: Dave Young, Eags, Ian and his wife Micki and sons Kris and Kollin, Allison and his friend Kirsten, Inks and Terry Valentine.


The Cooler Crew was extremely successful this year! Of the seven bocks hidden, and the six found, the crew found five of them! Kris found the King; Micki found the Queen; Inks, Kirsten and Ian found three of the months.


The prize associated with the King was a night's stay at Fitger's hotel. The Queen was good for dinner at Bennett's (the restaurant at Fitger's). Inks won a $25.00 gift certificate to the Wine Cellar and Ian won a sweatshirt. Kirsten won a $25.00 gift certificate for the Lake Superior Brewery store.


That hunt is just so much fun! It's four hours in length: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. All the bocks are hidden in stores throughout the Fitger's complex. It's great being able to hunt indoors after a full week of digging around in the wet snow of St. Paul for the Winter Carnival medallion.


A fellow Crew member, "Bob e" joined us at about 12:30 p.m., and we ended up visiting more with him than hunting after that. Although we did continue to hunt and peck around the complex, we had already found most of the bocks and had nothing further to prove.


After a meal in the Fitger's complex and a nice drive up the North Shore, we planted ourselves in a Duluth coffee shop called Browser's. They serve coffee, tea, and Internet access, so we had some beverages and posted to the Pioneer Planet Water Cooler from there. Eventually, we all went back to the hotel, where "Emmy & Hannah's Mom" had brought her computer with her! She was connected in the hotel room, so we slogged a bit and some of us posted a few messages.



Cooler Crew -- A History

During the 1990's, the St Paul Pioneer Press opened online discussion forums. These forums were called Water Coolers. The forums had discussion topics related to sports, politics, news, and current events. Each year, the Pioneer Planet — the online section of the Pioneer Press — opened a discussion forum as a media for hunters to discuss the clues for the Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt.

During the earlier years, one might find a few hundred posts during the hunt. As more hunters had computers, those numbers jumped. From 1997 to 1998, the number of posts increased from the hundreds to the 5-digit thousands. It was during the 1998 hunt the Cooler Crew was born.

The community spirit and teamwork displayed in the Pioneer Press Medallion Hunt thread was inspiring. The group of hunters found themselves at the end of a hunt not wanting to let go of new friendships and the camaraderie found on the Water Cooler board. The idea emerged to do what anyone would do in the middle of winter in Minnesota. A picnic in Cherokee was planned - the first Rehash Bash!

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