Wanna get wet for charity?

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel by Steve Estes

In order to get out of something that I really don’t mind doing but shouldn’t be doing if the weather is cold, I am about to ask for some brave volunteers.

Sunday is the annual Super Sunday Spectacular Tailgate Party hosted by the local Rotary Club. This is our fifth year for this event, and it has been growing each year (except for the year it rained on us all day).

We’ve tried to add something new each time to refine the experience for our friends and neighbors and some four years ago we hit on the idea to allow folks to dip some local celebrities in a dunk tank.

The first name that came to mind was our de facto Mayor of Big Pine Key Steve Miller.

Steve has been involved in youth sports and all manner of benefits for decades in these parts, as well as being politically active through the parks and recreation advisory board and now as President of the Chamber of Commerce.

The second name that came to mind was the local director of the Boys and Girls Club Cece Williamson. She knows every kid on the island and since she has to at times discipline most of them in some fashion, they like nothing better than retaliation by plunking her in the dunk tank.

Because it seems like everyone on the island blames the Key Deer Refuge for whatever is wrong anywhere, the then-Refuge Manager Anne Morkill was a logical choice. She was a member of our club and also a high-profile government employee. She’s gone this year, but maybe we can get someone else from the organization to take her place.

A couple of times we’ve been able to get local politicos to take a seat on the platform and allow folks to toss balls at them and drop them in the drink.

And then the club put me on the list as a target.

Now I don’t mind the job. It gives me a chance to heckle people in a controlled setting, keeps me from having to do something really serious like sell tickets and be…well…serious, and allows me to float around most of the day being obnoxious and drumming up business. I’ve been told I’m one of those you either love or hate with no middle ground. Unleash that hate, and make my club a few bucks in the process.

But there’s a cold snap on the way, maybe already here, and I don’t need to get dipped in cold water.

So I’m on the prowl for some surrogates to sit on the platform and be targeted by over-zealous pitchers intent on getting your butt wet.

The first choice would be someone people have a reason to dislike just a little bit, enough to get them to spend some money trying to put your arse in the tank. After all, this event is a fundraiser to help Rotary pay for the annual July 4 fireworks show as well as hand out the donations we do to other charitable organizations and youth leagues. Oh and the Take Stock scholarships we support every year.

The second choice would be a good-looking lady in a bikini, with or without a t-shirt on top. Let’s face it guys, nothing feels quite as good as dunking the ladies and having no repercussions to speak of.

The third choice is a local politico because everybody wants to wet down the local leadership. If you can’t get real pay back, a little light-hearted pay back will fit the bill.

You all have until Sunday morning to make up your minds. We won’t open the dunk tank until about 1 p.m. and we only need two or three people.

Of course, if you decide to take my place, rest assured I will pitch balls at the target and attempt to get you as wet as possible.

And I am an equal opportunity dunker. Doesn’t matter to me if you’re male or female, I promise you’ll get wet.

Of course, if it’s a warm day, a little session in the dunk tank might help.

At least there is no guaranteed dunk price this year. Some times, just because the lady taking the money wants to get someone wet, she’ll sell a guaranteed ticket for a few extra bucks that allows you to just walk up and hit the target with your hand and send whoever is on the platform splashing into the tank.

I sat in a dunk tank one afternoon with a guaranteed dunk price.

A lady who I always thought was a friend plunked enough money down on the table to buy four guaranteed balls.

She walked over and hit the button and down I went.

I was in the tank for about 45 minutes total and every time I got almost dry, she’d come waltzing back up and hit the target with her hand and send me to the bottom again.

I think she actually took an extra one, but no one cared as long as I remained wet.

So no guaranteed balls this year if I have to sit in the tank. But I’m sure you can negotiate with the staff at the table and get a few freebies for charity.

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