To see photos of the Shake Weight Games, check out our slideshow.
There are scads of ways to get people to come to a bar, and in our experience cheap drinks, entertainment, free food, bands, etc. all work pretty well. Hair Balls has a special place in our heart for the more creative endeavors, though. That's why we made a mental note when we drove past Swaye last week and saw their sign advertising something called Shake Weight Olympics.
Our curiosity truly got the better of us, and it consumed our mind over the passing days. We tried to brainstorm just what feats of sporting strength were involved in such an event: would it be an endurance contest, a theatrical production, or something unexpected? And while the event's creator, Chassidie Pommier, was more than happy to have us come witness the shenanigans, she was reluctant to describe the events to us, lest contestants arrive too prepared. Thus, we had no choice but to investigate the matter personally.
It turns out that Pommier has crafted dozens of small competitions that brought to mind our childhood sweethearts Double Dare, Guts, and Legends Of The Hidden Temple -- minus the obstacle course run at the end. Hey, we watched a lot of Nickelodeon back in the day.
Each Wednesday night she selects five of the competitions, starting with around 10 contestants and eliminating people each round. Prizes are awarded for first and second place, and anyone who stops shaking their Shake Weight during a round is disqualified.
Suffice it to say that Pommier is quite creative. The first round saw contestants trying to eat a pancake while working the Shake Weight with both hands. The kicker was that the pancake had to start on the forehead, and the people involved had to find a way to maneuver it to their mouth sans hands.
Round two involved two buckets of ping pong balls, an empty pitcher, and a pint of Natty Light for each participator. Whilst shaking the weight above their heads, challengers were made to chug their pint through a straw. Upon finishing they then had to fire a ping pong ball into the pitcher, which sat on a chair about six feet away. It was so awe-inspiring that we had to capture some video.
During breaks between rounds we sat aghast with our companions and thanked our lucky stars that we didn't exercise our journalistic curiosity to actually participate in the games. When we asked Pommier the question on our mind the entire night -- Why? -- she replied, "When you're an adult, it gets kind of boring. When you're a kid you get to play games, you have all these toys -- I just want to make people feel like a kid again."
Rounds three, four, and five saw the necessity for some extra space, so the barbacks cleared out the front of Swaye's main room. We watched as shakers placed the Shake Weight between their legs, acquired a mouthful of bright pink trashcan punch (with the aid of an assistant who poured) do a dash across the room, and spit the concoction into a cup. The goal was to fill the cup over the taped line, and when we made an inquiry about the contents of the pink pitchers, Chassidie replied, "everything."
By now the competition had brought us down to four stalwart shakers, including reigning champion Jordan Hook, who wore his red jacket with an almost Augusta-like pride. Okay, maybe we're exaggerating, but Hook -- who had won the initial competition last week -- was looking like the man to beat.
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In round four, shakers again had to manipulate the Shake Weight overhead, while they maneuvered a straw on a string into a shot glass of Jägermeister. The catch? The string was tied around their waists, leaving the straw just inches below their crotch. Upon landing the straw in the glass, they then had to suck down the syrupy booze -- still shaking of course.
All this was fine and dandy from our spectator point of view -- aside from stomaching some questionable booze, the competition seemed pretty fun, and we began to rethink returning as a participator. We weren't prepared for round five, though -- where challengers had to fetch a ping pong ball (in hands-free fashion again) from a container of maple syrup & honey, and dash across the room to another container filled with flour and Alpha-Bits cereal.
Somewhere in the powder mess, each contestant had to find a shot glass, empty it, deposit said ping pong ball in the glass, and then stand it aright upon the table. All of this was done with the Shake Weight toggling overhead. We really should've placed a friendly wager with our friend, because while everyone emerged sticky-faced and powdery, Hook was the only victorious one in the bunch. His prize was a fifty-dollar bar tab, while runner up Brandon Buras walked away with a bottle of Bacardi.
We probably won't wind up returning to enter ourselves into the fray in the future, but don't be surprised if our car winds up outside Swaye again on a Wednesday. Pommier promises a laundry list of games that'll rotate each week, and we must admit -- we're just curious enough in nature to want to know more. Or maybe like the rest of America we just like watching people perform inane feats. Who knows?