While each of the seven Underground events have been amazingly fun and profitable, the highlight for me in recent years has definitely been hosting the crazy Charity Power Hour event. CPH’s mission is to raise money for important causes around the globe by hosting a fun, unique, once-in-a-lifetime live-game experiences for adults 21+ at the end of the Underground Online Seminar.
Here’s the story of how it all started…
Three years ago, after the Underground Online Seminar 5 had ended, last call was coming too early. So as any crazy marketer would do…Perry Belcher (giving spirit that he is) wanted to really shake things up, and bought 100 beers. Maverick Jimmy Sweeney (M1000 #21) added 50 to that. And management threw in another 20 beers. Now, 170 beers sitting on a bar at once is A LOT…
In fact—and this might surprise you—the marketers in the bar simply didn’t know what to do with all that beer at once! Well, I flashed back to my college days and remembered the famous “Power Hour” (one shot of beer per minute, for an hour…or until folks scream “Uncle!” and/or or need a wheelchair). That’s all it took, and believe it or not, we quickly ran out of the 170 beers. Little did I realize this would turn into an annual event!
But since it was so much fun, everyone started asking me to do it again. Now we’ve turned it into a charity event, with all players donating in the jackpot. The top three people who make it the longest (1st, 2nd and 3rd place) get to choose which charities all of the money goes to. In the past, we’ve donated to Falling Whistles and the Caring House Project. And this year, close to $5,000 went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (a cause very near and dear to me).
Considering it’s insanely fun, crazy and celebrates our Maverick “give more back” DNA, it should come as no surprise it’s become an annual tradition. Each year, it’s bigger and better than ever. Over 41 people played this year (with 87+ pitchers of beer consumed) – and at least double that watching! Even non-drinkers got in on the action to support the charity, and help run the game.
Please visit the Official Facebook Fan Page so you can stay updated for next year’s special charity event, see pictures and discover the winners.
Here are a few photo highlights from the evening…
After talking with the general manager of the sports bar, he definitely “got” what we needed. (A special shout out to the GM Brian Pillard, for his help, discounts and the goodies he donated to our fun!) Here’s the “before” picture. 72 brand new shot glasses awaiting an evening of fun. But after one sober attendee started a food fight with chips (she will remain nameless, but I WILL point out she was a UG7 speaker!)…we lost our chip-eating privileges. Thanks a lot K.B.! 😉
Thanks to Adam Black, we got the National Harbor Peep Store to donate 100 “Peeps” hats for everyone playing. (Nothing says class like the “Peep show” we put on that night.) After rallying the troops with an opening speech, it was time to lead everyone in the first beer shot of the evening.
(Note: This is when management—and my balance—would still allow me to stand on a chair to address the crowd).
BTW, a HUGE shout out to the “Live Smart” team of Maverick1000 Member #110 Jeff Siegel, along with Phil Constantino, Raimee Rodie and Isabel De Los Rios (you can see the backs of Jeff, Phil and Raimee in this picture). They were not only our #1 donors, but came BACK into DC from an out of town St. Patrick’s weekend celebration just to participate in CPH. (Dedicated or drinking problems? You decide.
Here’s me having fun with my honorary co-host for CPH 2011 and new Maverick1000 Member #125, Dori Friend (also a big donor for the evening!). Check out those sexy Peeps hats! 😉
Dori definitely has the Maverick DNA. Not only was she one of the largest donors to CPH this year, but she also wanted to play a little prank on me. Thanks to her twisted mind (and the Internet), she hired a few folks to come in pretending they were with the Maryland Alcohol Board—closing in on me to say I didn’t have the proper permit to host this event. They kept trying to get me away from the game, but I wouldn’t budge! I told them, “I’ve known these crazy folks for over 8 years. I’m not sure who hired you yet, but if this is real, either bring security or the police…otherwise, I’ve got a game to play.” After 5-10 minutes of messing with me, I complimented their performance and they finally broke character and started laughing…and pretended to lock me up. What a fun time!
At this point, some folks have started to drop out. But you can see one of our chief instigators (and the sponsor for ALL 87+ pitchers of beer this year), Perry Belcher, holding his own. Also Maverick COO Andrew Way is still at the table, setting a “good” example. And a big thanks to Adam Summers, who bought an entire store’s inventory of “DEA” shirts to give away to top donors. ( DEA = Drinking Every Afternoon. Here’s Andrew Way and Maverick1000 Member # Mike Geary 3 (also responsible for bringing some of the top drinkers to the game this year) sharing the love and sporting the contestant numbers I issued to everyone. Clearly this picture was taken earlier in the evening. 😉
To help speed things along, the general manager suggested we move to larger glasses. You’ll notice: no more shot glasses in this picture. And you’ll also notice, over the half the players have left at that point. We’re down to just one table. 😉
After the game finished in a 3-way tie for first place—and a drunken (non-Maverick) contestant started pouring pitchers of beer over his head—we ended up migrating (read: kicked out) into the lobby areas for more celebrating.
To quote Maverick1000 Communications Samurai (and dedicated shot pourer), Aydika James about CPH2011, “The spirit oozed out of the walls (and into the halls, literally).”
[Editorial note: I’d like to chime in that this game didn’t begin until 11:30 PM, so by this time, well…let’s just say Mavericks have some serious stamina.]
For some reason, I ordered an extra 20 pitchers of beer at last call. And we all know Mavericks won’t let beer go to waste! So here you can see Jeff Mulligan and Yanik carrying around their beer pitchers for the rest of the night. (Yes, Yanik is holding two.) A special shoutout to Maverick1000 Member #104 Shelby Larson, our awesome sober accountant and fellow instigator for the evening.
… If you missed this year’s CPH, you missed quite an experience! Be sure to “LIKE” the Facebook page (facebook.com/charitypowerhour) so you can get all the updates for next year’s adventure. A HUGE thanks to everyone who helped us blow past the original fundraising goal. You all rock!
— Chris Zavadowski, M1000 Member #4 / Instigator Extraordinaire