Take Your Best Shot

Throwing a few back for Katrina relief.

A quintet of twenty-somethings will throw down -- and maybe throw up -- on behalf of Hurricane Katrina survivors this weekend. The tenderhearted tipplers have concocted the Katrina Relief Drink-a-Thon set for Saturday, September 24, at Lodo's Bar and Grill, where they'll toss back their favorite cocktails for charity. "This is something that people our age can get involved in and will actually do and support," says Julie Oncken, one of the organizers. "Getting people our age to get involved is very tricky."

To get involved with the Drink-a-Thon, all you need to do is donate a flat sum to a favorite boozer or pledge $1, $10, even $50 for every drink that he or she consumes. "Most of the older crowd is doing the lump sum, usually $50," notes swiller Bill Walsh, "while the younger crowd, who have an easier time accepting the unorthodox nature of the event, are donating around $10 a drink."

Since these do-gooders claim to be professional boozers, if you're not careful, you could wind up emptying your wallet at the same time you fill charity coffers. To help even the odds -- and stave off economic headaches -- Off Limits convinced the Drink-a-Thon troops to spill some secrets.

Ethan Wenberg

For starters, Walsh's favorite drink is Red Bull and Jägermeister. "I can only do probably four or five safely," he confesses, "and that depends on if I'm doing shots or drinks. Am I a professional? Well, that's a little too close to Mickey Mantle, but I like a cold beverage as much as the next guy."

Oncken likes any cocktail that comes her way. "Free is my preferred drink," she says, "but in the name of alcohol, I won't be drinking any random thing. It'll probably be Jack and Coke. I'm not going to do anything to make me puke. I plan to have fun but keep it safe. How many does that mean? Well, maybe five."

Jasmine Listou's favorite drink is Stoli Orange and 7-Up. "How many can I drink? Well, if it was a good night, I probably wouldn't remember," she notes. "But for the Drink-a-Thon, I'll start out with a good dinner, and I'll pace myself and shoot for seven as a goal. I'm trying to keep my seat for the Olympics, so I have to stay amateur."

Ryan Eaves goes for vodka and tonic. "Oh, I don't know how many I can drink," he hedges. "I guess it varies on the night. But I'd say I'm a top-seated amateur. Everybody's going to drink as much as they can and end up killing themselves, but that's not what I want to do. Maybe eight drinks for me."

Lucas Johnson swears by Tanqueray and tonic, and shots of Jäger. "I've been drinking Tanqueray and tonic for about two years," he allows. "I like drinks that are acquired tastes. The most I've ever had? Well, I drank a bottle of Tanqueray Ten one night. For the benefit, I plan to do at least fifteen Tanqueray and tonics, but I have higher hopes than that."

Remember, give 'til it hurts -- them, not you.

Sole survivor: Dick Lamm can pound the pavement. Over the past three-plus decades, he's put more than 400 miles on his tennis shoes and hiking boots, always for a good political cause. In his 1974 run for the governor's seat, challenger Lamm walked 340 miles as he campaigned across the state. John Denver, Colorado's most famous adoptee, trudged through the snow alongside him on the last mile to the State Capitol.

Last Friday, the former Governor Gloom again donned his hiking boots and traipsed down Broadway on a leg of the Colorado Walk for Referenda C&D, a forty-day march from Wyoming to the New Mexico border led by state senator Ken Gordon. Some strange political bedfellows have thrown on their Nikes to just do it for the November 1 ballot measures: Both Lamm and current governor Bill Owens spoke on behalf of C and D on the Capitol steps that day, explaining why voters should allow the state to keep all the revenue it collects for the next five years rather than return it under the tight spending caps imposed by the circa-1992 Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. (The day before, Independence Institute head Jon Caldara and his date, Sue, the Special Interest Swine, had stood on those same steps to denounce C and D as so much pork for politicians.)

While the referenda are hot topics in the political world, many of the walkers found their fellow Coloradans to be completely clueless about the upcoming vote. "I've been surprised by the number of blank faces," says Jenn Berg, who quit her job in order to walk all 350 miles. "ŒWhat's that?' has really been the most common refrain." Another surprising discovery made by the Boulder vegetarian: "the number of places with dead animal heads on their walls."

Lamm's initial walk proved so winning with the electorate that many other causes have tried the gamboling gambit. Even before Gordon's group hit the road over Labor Day weekend, Coloradans had seen some interesting animals on the hoof. For example:

On August 20, Rick McKinney finished off a 900-mile walk that started in Idyllwild, California, and ended in Woody Creek, where he hoped to catch the private memorial service for Hunter S. Thompson. "I'm walking toward Hunter's funeral to raise awareness of depression and the high rate of suicide in the United States," he told Off Limits last month.

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