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This History of Camp and Brew

From simple seeds tall oaks and big ideas sometimes grow...Such is the historic beginnings of an Indy May tradition known as Camp and Brew.

In Kentucky, on the Saturday before the August 10, 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series "Belterra Casino Indy 300",  I met a new friend and race fan from Colorado. A fellow IRL CREW Member, Glenn was able to travel to many IRL races that year due in part to his job, and our paths crossed at an interesting point in time.

My younger brother Jim had lived in Indianapolis since about 1987 and in 1994 I attended my first Indy 500 with him. He wasn’t so much the race fan, but loved the party atmosphere. When I learned that he would be moving in early 2001 to San Diego, I knew I was too hooked on the racing to give up. Somehow, I knew staying at an Indy friend of Jim’s house would be okay for a year or so, but I had always wondered about the die-hard maniacs we saw every year camping around the Speedway?!? That, to me, looked like something NOT to miss.

Hating to reinvent the wheel, I began to search out advice from those who had camped there at previous 500’s. Sometimes online, but in person when I could. That’s where Glenn came in. After I met him at the CREW Booth, we sat next to each other that night at a CREW social at Jillian’s Restaurant in KY and I picked his brain. What to bring? What did you wish you had while camping? And so on.

My plan of camping began to take shape from there. We were going to borrow an RV and make a go of it in 2002. Glenn was invited and the three of us spent lots of time trying to make it a once in a lifetime trip to remember. Exactly how Glenn, Jim and I figured out the rest of the logistics is at times, a little unclear.

I named it Camp and Brew 2002 simply because it rhymed. I was just glad to finally put that Marketing degree of mine to use . Glenn took off from there and had a banner made, I did up some stickers and we were off and running. We talked it up on TrackForum.com as a place to stop and get a beer and talk some racing. Our official Bail Bondsmen and Camp Nurse is a good named Barb, known to thousands of IRL race fans!

We had a blast that first year and although my idea of calling it Camp and Pee 2003 was shot down by Glenn, I have to say that in honest retrospect, was a good decision. It kept the world from having to endure Camp and Whore 2004 and a retro 60’s idea Jim came up with complete with Afro-wigs to be called Camp and Jive 2005. Camp and Heaven 2007 had a nice ring to it, but Camp and ?????? in 2013 would have been a large challenge to come up with.

The first year C&B memories included Melissa and her group...The [bleeping] Canadians who camped next to us, were very cool and despite having drank all the MOLSEN in the lower 48, returned and even remembered us in 2003! On the BAD side, don’t even ask us about Drunk-Speaker-Boy who came closer then he realizes to losing his life that year. We also fondly recall (OK I have a memory of it, but not so fondly) when a drunk chick walking by poured her wine on me as I held a sign up saying “Show Us Your Rain-Soaked Hooters!”.

Through our first 2 years we've been provided with freebie Camp and Brew t-shirts from our very good internet buddy "Radio"! In 2003 he increased his involvement and provided us with hats as well! We're sure these fine products will continue to increase in value as the years go by. Thanks again, Radio!

Glenn created, and still maintains the CampAndBrew.com website and has posted lots of pictures. That was all it took and in 2003, several people wandered up and said they had read about us on the web. Including a few dudes from a college back east that had stumbled upon Prissie's picture on the ‘net and came just to meet her! The addition of her was meant to bring some class and civility to the event...Boy, THAT sure didn’t work!!!

Also invited in 2003 were more friends of Jim from San Diego and many fellow Air Traffic Controllers from Indy Center, that he used to work with. We're not too sure they knew too much about racing, but they sure knew a lot about drinking!

In a country wide attempt to influence the national economic recovery, we have out-spent our selves with each consecutive year, outfitting the festivities. I’m quite sure Glenn’s wife thinks they got no tax refund that last 2 years! A Honda generator and pop-up 12 by 12 EASY-UP Tent were added in 2003, as well as some internet connectivity. Party lights and flags of various sizes also added to the festivities.

A highlight of the first year was the Eureka 4 man tent on top of the RV with a sign next to it on the morning of Race-Day that read: Sarah Fisher Slept here!

In 2003, we had the local media visit, as well as an interview we also gave to a Japanese racing website. ABC Weekend World report also spent some time with us, but unfortunately it doesn't appear that we made it on the air. On our more philanthropic side, we raised several hundred dollars for Brian’s Wish—A racing related charity for Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ALS awareness. visit the Brian's Wish website for more on Brian's story and the charity.

Each year we get more salubrious (look it up!) with the food that always includes Longs Donuts and lots of beer. Fortunately, also in 2003, we were introduced to Chez Bubba - The BEST in Smoked Meats. Man those guys cooked us up a storm! Various strings of beads made their way around the necks of many fine female race fans, more than one puppy dog and a mounted policeman’s horse, if memory serves me correctly.

We’ve become more generous too! The admonition of “You’ll never even tap that second Keg” soon became “OK, where can we get a third one?!?” as the BREW part of our name was lived up to beyond expectations. A jockey box cooler and tap set-up has been purchased for 2004 to keep the cold beer flowing! Additionally, a new Mr. Coffee that will work with the 1000 Watt generator, has also been procured—More Brew!

Join us this year, for what will surely be an even more memorable chapter in the C&B saga,—there’s a movie deal in this somewhere, we hope—as all fans of racing and having a good time, are cordially invited. Sorry, your engraved invitation must have gotten lost in the mail!

--Historical commentary by TommyDaComic

Year by Year History of Camp and Brew


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