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Beerathlons and shotgun shot puts at the 2018 Winter Beer Olympics

Beerathlons and shotgun shot puts at the 2018 Winter Beer Olympics

February 12
19:07 2018

A 53-year-old man hoists the heavy pony keg to his chest and breaks into a sprint. He shoots through the rails of the patio and through the bar of the Denton County Brewing Company. Holding on tightly to his “keg-baton,” he weaves in-between an obstacle course of larger kegs in the Americana themed brewery room, and then out the warehouse door through a series of barrel obstacles.

Arriving back at his starting position, he exchanges his keg for a Nerf gun and proceeds to fire at a stack of empty beer cans. As the last Montucky Cold Snack hits the ground, the judge calls time, and the first round of the “beerathelon” gauntlet is complete — one of four events in the 2018 Winter Beer Olympics.

Denton County Brewing Company held its first Beer Olympics on Saturday with a packed crowed of seven teams of four, ranging in ages from 21 to late 50s. The teams competed against each other for free beer, T-shirts and medals in four different beer themed competitions.

“It started as a joke,” said Seth Morgan, owner of Denton County Brewing Company. “We were all sitting back there drinking a beer after work one day and we said, ‘Oh, we should do beer Olympics.'”

Initially, the employees helped organize the events and participated in them for fun.

Beer benefits 

The first event was a beer relay race, in which first place was awarded to the team that spilled the least amount of beer, followed by the “beerathelon,” a keg-based obstacle course. Next up was a beer-themed curling competition and shotgun shot put, which required a team member to shotgun a beer and throw the empty can as far as possible.

“It was a lot of drinking and coming up with ideas,” said Bryan Schulze, also known as “Major Domo” at Denton County Brewing. “The whole thing was like, ‘Let’s get drunk and have fun.’”

While the competition featured plenty of drinking and fun, the event was held for a different purpose.

 “We always partner with a charity for an event,” Morgan said. “We said, ‘Hey, you know what, let’s do a fun event to raise money for charity and have a good time.'”

Proceeds of the event went to Orant Charities, which operates medical facilities in Africa and builds water wells for access to fresh water. The 12-year-old grassroots organization sees 4,000 patients per month and has provided clean water to nearly half a million people.

“Oh, we suck,” said Ron Hamilton, member of team Pulska. “But it’s about the fun. There’s [a place] in Africa that is going to get a well, that’s what it is really all about.”

Brewery beginnings 

With the support of his wife and family, Morgan decided to turn his love of brewing into a local Denton startup last April. He opened Denton County Brewing Company, which serves both its own unique craft brews, as well as other craft brews from around the area.

“Denton is an amazing place,” Morgan said. “My goal was to create what we called ‘Denton’s second living room.’ Everybody’s got a living room at their house, but we wanted a place where people could come and hang out together with friends or meet new people, or just have fun and be part of the community.”

After Morgan’s wife saw how happy brewing made him, she encouraged him to open his own craft brewery. Five years of extensive planning later, Morgan left the corporate workplace and trekked into the unknown.

“I was in corporate America for 25 years,” Morgan said. “I tell people I think I can get most of my soul back. I wanted to do something that created and really brought people happiness. I’ve lived in Denton since 1976, and I wanted to be more a part of the community.”

With the success of the Beer Olympics, there seems to be no doubt of another Beer Olympics in the future.

“We already have plenty of ideas,” Schulze said. “I want to do something with swords next time. There’s no fencing, and you have to have fencing.”

While the brewery is already planning for its next series of events, regular patrons and new customers are already planning to come back and compete again.

“We will probably be here for every single one,” said Kathy Hamilton, member of team Pulska. “We will probably lose every one and we are okay with that. They are trying to do something for charity. It’s a good idea.”

The end of the event concluded with a classic medal ceremony with beers, flags and all.

Team Natty Iceland placed gold in the “beerathelon” event and went on to sweep all three medals in the shotgun shot put event. However, Dyslexic Turtle took the gold in both the Texas Curl and Beer Relay competitions.

And in true alcohol-induced nature, what would a closing Beer Olympic ceremony be without post-event interviews.

“We usually travel around to other Olympic beer events,” said Jimmy Phillips, member of team Dyslexic Turtle, who referred to his job title as “gold medalist.” “This is our fourth one of the season. We gotta hurry up, we got a flight to San Antonio. We got another meet tomorrow morning bright and early. This is a busy season for us in the Winter Olympics.”

Featured Image: La Sha Thomas, 37, throws a can of beer in the “shotgun shot put” portion of the 2018 Winter Beer Olympics hosted by the Denton County Brewing Company on Feb. 10. Sara Carpenter

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