Gravy Train!! That’s what is was! I remember that dude on the Chuck Wagon zippin cross the kitchen floor and those dogs sliding to a stop as the Chuck Wagon guy disappeared into the cabinet. Then the lovely Vanna White hand would open the cabinet door and there in all its majestic glory was a gleaming bowl of dog food nuggets. An almost human smile stretched across the faces of the dogs as they eagerly began to inhale their Gravy-ish reward.
Now, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Chuck Wagons, or Gravy Train for that matter, but me and my teammates at Chirco spend a measurable amount of time talking about how much we love dogs. That being the case, when I recently met this super cool lady named Tera at a free dog wash at Starbucks a few months back, and we got to talking about maybe combining two of the greatest forces known to man (VWs and Dogs) into one mega event of epic coolness/cuteness proportions…inevitably, “DUBS AND DOGS” was born.
The idea was pretty simple. Hold an event in the Chirco Parking Lot. Free Dog wash on one side. Free car wash on the other side. Allow people who attended the event to make donations and give it to the Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue (DLRR). Cake. Well, we continued talking and thought it would be cool to get some food trucks to show up, and maybe have some music, and chainsaw jugglers, and high flying stunt kite exhibitionist, and a Griffin, and a…..ok…just the trucks and some music and maybe some other vendor/exhibitors related to the rescue. Turns out that was another good idea!
So…I gotta tell ya…The morning of the event I was worried. Not about what happened to the Chuck Wagon driver as I’m pretty sure they just used “movie magic” to make him disappear like that….(Please note how little I think about Chuck Wagon.) I was more worried about the weather. It was a predicted scorcher again in Tucson and I thought the heat would keep folks at home. The event started at 9 a.m., but still it was already 85 degrees by then. Next we had to set up. I rolled in about 7:30 and a few DLRR people were already there! Good sign! We started setting up easy-ups and fiddling around and man truck loads of DLRR people showed up. It was like an army! They were all agreeable and coordinated and highly efficient. Set up was a breeze and after that it was show time!!
The Cowboy Kettle Corn truck arrived. His name is Steve. He’s was cool and he drives a Baja Ghia to boot. He put one of his nifty mechanical mannequin signs out by the street with an arrow pointing in to the event (smart move). Next the insanely delicious Pin-Up Pastries Truck showed up. These ladies are da bomb! Make no mistake…maybe the best cupcakes EVER! Next the BBQ Rush Truckshowed up and the smell of brisket almost made me forget the Chuck Wagon wheels….almost.
Next thing I hear is the unmistakable raspy-clackyclack-purr of aircooled VWs. I looked to the West and saw The Tucson Aircooled VW Club known as “The OTHERS” rolling in. I don’t ever think I’ve seen them in a pack smaller than 5. Their like vehicular lemmings or maybe they’re just stuck together, I don’t know. I do know they are awesome. They agreed to be the car washers for the event. Chirco sends a big big thank you to them for coming out on a hot Saturday to work for nothing. VW people are the best…period. We owe you guys.
At this point I had a moment like the townspeople of Rock Ridge did in the movie Blazing Saddles. I looked around and saw we had all the elements. Car Wash, check. Dog wash, check. Food Trucks, check…..but where are the people?!?!?!
Nothing will kill an event faster than not having people at it. That’s kind of a rule. Well it wasn’t long before that moment of panic faded. Man…people started arriving in bunches. It was like a dog lover apocalypse.
The Tucson Bus mob rolled in with buses, an easy-up, banners, and some of the coolest folk there is. They always bring a sense of family to every event. If you haven’t met them, your next chance in Tucson is at the Red Barn Round-up which is the camping event that happens during Chirco’s annual Bugtoberfest aircooled car show starting on October 18th this year. Sometimes weak segues and shameless plugs find their way into the stuff I write, it’s weird.
Edit: I would have deleted it, but I already posted this.
The DLRR was fantastic! They had volunteers of all ages washing dogs. The turnout was bigger than expected due to all the hard work Tera and all the DLRR people did to get the word out. The event also took on a bit of a spectacle aspect and started to draw in folks just walking or driving by. It was a very festive environment. We found ourselves saying “wow….ummm…WOW!” a lot.
The food trucks stayed busy and people really seemed to enjoy the selection. The BBQ Rush brisket was to die for. The Pin-up Pastries use the slogan “Sinfully Delicious” that is a tremendous understatement. Soooo good. Not to mention Cowboy Kettle Corn almost selling out and being largely responsible for pulling in looky-loos with his mechanical mannequin, plus the popcorn is beyond tasty.
All in all it was a fabulous event. The dogs were so happy. The crowd was tremendous, and the volunteer army was outstanding. The official donation total was in the $1200 range which is awesome for a first time gig. We can promise you this, it won’t be our last. When we do it again next April, hop in your Chuck Wagon and zip on down here. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel good because you’re doing good.