It should be a fairly straightforward exercise in manliness. The unwritten rules were obvious to all parties involved. However, to quote The Dude (or El Duderino if you’re not into that whole brevity thing) “New s&%# has come to light.” The story of the Booty Beer Scandal of Summer 2010 came across the “rumors and controversies” desk here at PL recently. This story is ripe with family intrigue, eye witness accounts, and a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to “sanitize” the truth. PL has decided in an effort to keep the waters from getting muddled any further to reprint the article as we first found it in the Salida Citizen. Thanks to the author and good friend of PL, Lee Hart, for making this available to all the faithful PL readers.
Under The River: New Controversy Brews on the Arkansas
Reprinted From the Salida Citizen
Under the River is the latest in a series of controversies brewing on the Arkansas River that may well, and mercifully, overshadow the long-simmering controversy about the proposed Over the River art installation. At the root of Under the River is a debate about the rules of the long-standing tradition requiring kayakers who fail to roll up and remain in their craft after a spill, and instead opt to pull their spray skirt and swim from their craft, to drink beer from a neoprene river booty, commonly known as a booty beer.
The question of what qualifies as a booty beer and whether a penalty booty beer may be in order for one unfortunate kayaker began last Thursday when longtime local businessman, former raft company magnate, former kayak school proprietor and money-minting restauranteur Ray Kitson found himself Under the River as he self-elected to eject from his kayak and swim No. 5 on the legendary Numbers stretch of the Upper Arkansas River and was rescued by his teen daughter, Sage.
Kitson, the swimmer, openly acknowledges he intentionally swam and that his floundering in No. 5 was not the result of an accident like a poorly timed spray skirt failure. Meanwhile, Kitson’s wife Penny questions the legitimacy of her spouse’s fulfillment of his booty beer debt on two grounds: a) said booty beer was not downed until five days after the swim, and b) the swimmer ran his booty through a commercial dish-washing machine before filling it with beer and downing it in front of his heroic daughter and her bemused friends.
Ray Kitson drinks beer from a booty but does it count?
To try to get to the root of booty beer rules, the Citizen scoured reliably questionable online sources such as forums on well-trafficked kayak enthusiast web sites such as boatertalk.com, mountainbuzz.com and boof.com. The murky picture that emerged, not unlike the murky picture of Kitson seen draining his booty at right, leaves many unanswered questions.
“Guido,” identified as a senior member – whatever that means – of boof.com, shed light on the possible origins and rules of this river runners tradition. Guido reminisces: “Actually, the booty beer goes back to the southeast in the mid 80’s. I remember one day a bunch of slalom paddlers were hanging out barefoot in our spandex. Eric Jackson, Corran Addison and Tony Prijon were all there (yep, they all paddled slalom) and they were practicing a move across this hole on the Ocoee.
“Tony, being German, had a bunch of beer in his car, but forgot his cooler. The only thing he had to keep the beer cold was a pair of old neoprene booties – kind of like a modern day coozy. Well, needless to say, on one of his runs he got stuck in the hole, flipped a few times, broke his flimsy slalom paddle, hand rolled, broke his flimsy slalom boat, sank, popped his flimsy slalom skirt and had to swim out.
“Of course after the workout we all made fun of what a sissy he was for swimming (slalom paddlers never swim) and EJ suggested that he chug a beer to prove that he was still a man. Corran chimed in and suggested he chug it out of his gnarly booty to further prove the point. Tony, being German, and not one to back down from a challenge, said “I’ll drinken ein booty beer if you both start ze boat company”. And that’s how the booty beer, Jackson Kayaks and Savage Kayaks came to be. I swear.
These seem obvious:
1. You swim, you drink
2. If your buddy rescues all your stuff, you drink from his/her booty, not yours (time to practice the self-rescue techniques…).
3. If you try to hit your pal with a throw rope and you miss him/her, you drink too.
4. If you don’t have a throw rope with you to throw to your buddy, you drink.
5. Consumption of one full beer is required. When doing Wild Turkey
Booty shots, the pour must be equivalant to a double shot or better.”
Another “senior member” of Boof.com, “new Randolph” offers some other rules boaters may or may not play by:
“The Corey Volt Rule: If there is a girl drinking a booty beer, you too should drink one with her in hopes that it will help you score later (it never actually worked for Corey, but that could be because of his messed up teeth…)
“The Eric Giddens Rule: No sally-ass PBR or Coors Light will due for Booty Beers, you need to drink at least 7% beer to truly be proud.
“The Rookie-becomes-a-Man rule: Drink one booty beer for each swim in a day/trip (not just one at the end of the day/trip). Talk about rookie-rapid-intoxification!!
“A-Team rule: If your buddy has to drink a booty beer, you MUST put the sick footy of it on your sick blog for all your sponsors to see (extra bonus points if you get it with your helmet cam bro). You should probably have more stickers on your car too…
“The Jackson Kayak Park Rule: If you swim at the Jackson Kayak Park in Reno, you are suspended from Kayaking for 50 days. You must also drink a booty beer each one of those days to make you feel shame.
“The Blonde-Roots Rule: If a friend is actively drinking a booty beer, and you ask that person “why do you only have one shoe on?” you must also drink a booty beer.
“BFF Rule: If you pal pulls your sprayskirt in a wave-battle and you swim, you still drink. If while he/she is pulling your skirt, you successfully pull THEIR skirt and they swim too, your buddy has to drink the booty beer and you don’t have to. While they are drinking their booty beer, don’t put yourself in jeopordy of having to follow the Blonde-Roots Rule (see above).”
Tragically, there seems to be no consensus on either the history of the booty beer tradition or any evidence of hard, fast rules, let alone any rules governing the questionable circumstances under which Kitson claims to have fulfilled his booty beer obligation.
To whit, has Kitson, by waiting five days and drinking from a sanitized booty, truly fulfilled his booty beer obligation? If not, would drinking another booty beer from an authentically unsanitized booty settle the score? If not, then what?