I am convinced you don't earn ˜fame', someone grants it to you. And like the guy on TV describing the "tornada that wuz out behin' the barn", fame is fleeting.
Our 15 minutes of fame came back in 2003 when, in a period of poor judgment, I decided to take my family and two of my nephews on a cross-country, 3.5 week vacation in our new Itasca Suncruiser. We also brought our new dog at the time. Since I did not necessarily consult my wife on any of the planning or the fact that I was including the two nephews, she was not a ˜happy camper'.
One of our stops was Reno, Nevada where ESPN was holding their Great Outdoor Games. Three days of axes, jumping dogs, souped up chain saws, archery, skeet – a real ˜guy' event! Son Matt had been watching these Games on TV for a few years and they were always held in Lake Placid, NY. Unfortunately, after I promised to take him, we found out that ESPN, in its infinite wisdom, decided to move the Games to Reno... Hence, a cross country vacation was born.
While watching the preliminary shooting competition, I struck up a conversion with the lady behind me. After telling her our 6,000 plus mile itinerary and the vast amounts of human cargo I was transporting, she invited my family to be interviewed on her Arizona radio show and brought over an ESPN producer that she knew. Boy, all this over a crazy Dad...
So our next day starts with a 6AM (!!!!) interview on the radio. Do you know how hard it is to get 5 boys and wife up at 4:30AM so that everyone can get washed up, fed and dressed (one bathroom, thank GOD I do not have girls!)? The dog was no problem... I pack everyone up in the toad, haul butt to the interview, and they only want to talk to me!!! ˜Grumble' is an understatement.
Later that morning, I get THE CALL from ESPN. Meet at the Games at 1PM in the blistering heat for a ˜shoot' (I guess that is TV lingo). We get there and boom, we see camera guys, lighting guys, produces, ˜on air' talent (Jamie Little who was relatively unknown at the time but is now a NASCAR trackside correspondent and appeared in FHM magazine with VERY little clothing on, ahh but I digress...). All this commotion for a bunch of RVers?
They ask us questions, they line us up, they do ˜retakes' (I'm getting good at this TV lingo), more questions to the kids, we sign papers, and then they decide to do a ˜remote shoot' at the motor home.
My wife's face goes WHITE! The motor home CAN'T be on TV, it isn't CLEAN.
She bolts to the toad, speeds to the campground, and has that camper as clean as a whistle in no time (we should be on TV more often...).
The rest of us are loaded into indiscrete vans (probably so the fans won't attack us) and trucked to the campsite.
Here it goes again. Questions, retakes, shoot inside the motor home, shoot outside, retakes, lighting, props,... And then like that, here are some T-shirts for the kids and everyone is GONE!
Is our fame over? Are we going back to being a normal family?
We go back to the Games and to watch dogs run fast while middle-aged women who can't run fast chase after them. I think they call it ˜Agility'...
Once again my phone rings. A reporter from a San Diego newspaper wants to interview us NOW. As my ˜now famous' son Matt coolly leans back against the bleachers, he says ˜Dad, after this one, I'm not granting any more interviews'!
Click below to see our family's 15 minutes of fame: