Sunday, May 19, 2013

Breast Cancer 3-Day 2007 Day One Pit Stops | Cheering Stations | Cowboy Mike

DAY ONE – Friday, August 24, 2007

Pit Stops – Along the route (about every 3 miles) walkers stopped at Pit Stops, staffed with amazing crew members who helped with grabbing snacks (fruit, peanuts, chips, string cheese), water and sports drink, first aid and blister self-care. Here is a chance for walkers to use the porta-johns (PJs), rest and stretch.  Each Pit Stop also had a fun theme with signs, music, and costumes for the crew – everything from Wizard of Bras to Mardi-Bra to Decades of Music to Boobs Anatomy (Grey‟s Anatomy). Many of the pit stops had entries for a drawing for prizes that would be awarded later that night at camp. Gosh… anything to keep us motivated. It was very important to keep hydrated - I averaged about 16 oz. of liquid every 3 miles, which is why having waterless hand cleanser and hand wipes outside the PJs was very important.

Cheering Stations – We left the first pit stop and the skies were clear and the sun was out. People in passing cars honked and waved as if they just saw the Pope drive by. Drivers stopped at the stop lights watched in amazement as hundreds of people walked by. As we approached the first cheering station of the weekend, we heard the cheers well before we arrived. People were lined up on both sides of the sidewalk for blocks, clapping, cheering and holding signs with creative messages supporting the walkers they knew. As we walked by, I was overwhelmed with all the cheers to the point that tears formed - “Thank you for walking for my mom”, “Great Job Walkers”, “We are proud of you”. Outside of the cheering stations, there were random cheering stations set up along the way. We passed by small groups of people standing on street corners, sitting in lawn chairs, holding handmade signs, holding bowls of candy and handing out popsicles. Many had noisemakers and costumes. These people helped us get through miles and miles of road! We looked forward to seeing the cheering stations and random supporters – it helped us continue on.

Cowboy Mike – Speaking of the random cheering stations, there was one special supporter that we saw along the entire route – each and every day we would see him about 5 to 7 times. A single man who had a decorated van and wore a pink leopard print cowboy hat who was there supporting his fiancĂ©. Cowboy Mike. I found a message he left on the 3-Day message boards that I thought was wonderful.

Message from Cowboy Mike: “I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of the 3-Day walkers and staff that made the 2007 3-Day something I'll never forget. When I showed up at the walk, I had a job to do. I knew there were 2500-some-odd walkers, but I was there to support just one of them—Tricia Liebert. She is the love of my life, the one that I'm going to grow old and gray with, and my reason for living. I will do anything & everything to support her. This was her second 3-Day. She walked every single step last year, every single step this year and there is no doubt in my mind that she'll walk every single step next year. My job is to make it just a little bit easier for her. My plan was to try to meet up with her every couple of hours. I had a cooler full of ice-cold Smart Water, cool towels, Arnica Gel and other various and sundry supplies that Trish might need during the walk. I had a chair that she could park in or a truck she could go hide in. Oh -- and by the way, we painted up the truck and I put on a goofy pink hat so I could cheer on walkers while I was waiting for her to show up. This year, instead of dealing with the crowds, I decided to pick a spot just outside of the cheering stations. Anytime that Trish passed me, I knew I had plenty of time before I had to go pick out another spot ahead of her, so I hung around and cheered walkers on. Here's where it changed from a job into an experience. Somewhere around the end of Day 1 or the beginning of Day 2, walkers started realizing that they were seeing me over and over again. There's that guy with the painted-up truck and the goofy pink hat. People started taking my picture and asking my name and asking why I was showing up all over the place. The smiles on their faces got a little brighter and their stride got a little brisker every time they spotted me. Don't get me wrong. I was having fun right from the start, but I realize that just by showing up with my painted-up truck and my goofy pink hat, I was adding just a little something extra to a lot of people's 3-Day experience -- and all the smiles and waves and cheers that I got added a ton to mine. So I want to say THANK YOU to all of the 3-Day walkers and staff who made the 2007 Twin Cites 3-Day such a wonderful time. I’m glad that I could be a little bright spot in your day. I had an absolute blast and you can count on seeing me again next year. I wouldn't miss it for the world. ~ Cowboy Mike, The guy in the goofy pink hat”

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