ASS Does Downieville: A trifecta of debauchery

Booze, guns, kids, trail building, and the legend of Stinky Larry

Opinion Travel
Jake and Neil - the local yokels.

Jake and Neil, the local yokels (click to enlarge).

There’s a saying that goes, “Downieville: a drinking town with a mountain biking problem.” So when the first annual Downieville Mountain Brewfest was held last weekend on Main Street, it only seemed fitting. In fact, many people were asking themselves what took so long. Much like the Downieville Classic, the Brewfest sold out early, proving the town’s appetite for alcohol consumption. Seeing Main Street packed with people was an encouraging sign that this little town of less than 300 can make awesome happen when it wants to.

The First Annual Downieville Mountain Brewfest was a sellout success.

The First Annual Downieville Mountain Brewfest was a sellout success (click to enlarge).

The awesome got even awesomer later that evening when I walked into St. Charles Place, the local – and only – watering hole in town, and was greeted to the neck-snapping odor of vomit. Turns out a couple out-of-town patrons were having such a good time drinking all afternoon in the sun that they didn’t heed the event organizer’s advice of, “You don’t have to try all the beers.”

Aside from the smashing success of the Brewfest, Downieville also played host to the Santa Cruz Bicycles company party and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) Epic weekend, making for a trifecta of debauchery. I never made it over to the Santa Cruz compound, but I heard reports of 100 people all camped by the Downie River shooting pellet guns at stacks of silvery dead soldiers, and a podium awards ceremony for the top marksmen.

The game of Crud is addictive and a rite of passage. Photo by “The Metal” Mike Haire

The game of Crud is addictive and a rite of passage (click to enlarge). Photo by “The Metal” Mike Haire

Instead of shooting guns, I spent the evenings with the SBTS crew at Yuba Expeditions shooting a cue ball at an eight ball in an addictive game called Crud that has become a rite of passage for anyone involved with the Stewardship. It’s hard to explain all the nuances of the game, for there are many. But the three basic rules are: you can only shoot from behind the ends of the table, don’t let the eight ball stop rolling and you can only shoot in a forward direction. Oh, and the more you drink, the better you get.

When I wasn’t playing Crud, I was reveling in tales about the legend of Stinky Larry, a ghost who allegedly haunts part of the old Craycroft Building where the Yuba Expeditions shop used to be. The old shop manager, Wayno, swears that the ghost of Stinky Larry dumped a bucket of piss on him when he was sleeping one night. How did a bucket of piss end up in Wayno’s room? Instead of pissing out the window like most normal humans, Wanyo pissed into a bucket. The next morning when he woke, the bucket was empty and Wayno was covered in his own whiz.

Continue to page 2 for more from Downieville and a photo gallery »

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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