If I Had a Hammer...
The most common job for professional handymen these days? Fixing all those home-improvement projects that amateur handymen have botched in their own homes. "That's probably 50 percent of our business, fixing things that people make a mistake on because it looks so darn simple," says Andy Bell, president of Handyman Matters, the guiding force behind this weekend's first-ever Handyman Olympics.
Those repair jobs have kept Bell busy since he left the restaurant world (he was one of the Wynkoop Brewing Company's original managers) and started his own handyman business, which now has operations in Denver and California. Flush with success, he's sharing his expertise -- and celebrating the entire construction industry, "which sometimes gets a bad rap," he says -- with the rest of Denver. His "Battle of the Bathrooms" pits teams of handymen, contractors and craftsmen against each other as they construct bathrooms -- in just fourteen hours -- that will later be retrofitted into Habitat for Humanity homes. "While the teams are working, people can ask these workers questions about how to handle their own improvement projects," says Bell. "It's going to be very interactive." It's also for a good cause: The event, co-sponsored by Handyman Matters and Ace Hardware (Westword is a sponsor as well), will benefit not only Habitat for Humanity, but Housing Services Initiatives, which provides free home repairs for seniors and disadvantaged citizens. "Sometimes it's as simple as a breaker that just needs to be flipped or a water bill that's unnecessarily high," says Bell, who formed the group with Joni Seivert of Connections Unlimited, which works with the elderly.
In addition to the bathroom competition, the festivities include assorted handy demonstrations (Tom Martino kicks things off with a "ram shot" Saturday morning), musical entertainment and food booths, kids' activities, raffles and the Artistic Seat Show, also known as the "A.S.S. Project." If that sounds suspiciously like Cherry Creek's Mask Project, it's no mistake -- although in this case, celebrities will be decorating toilet seats rather than masks. The resulting A.S.S. masterpieces will be on display all weekend, then go on the road until they're sold at a benefit auction in December.
Whether you're looking for inspiration for your own home-repair projects, or just that unbeatable thrill of seeing of seeing a bunch of guys wearing toolbelts, the Handyman Olympics promises to be quite a potty.
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