Early in the year, Tom and Glenn started planning to
camp out for the Indy 500. Basic plans were made to use Tom and Jim's parents RV
and meet Glenn in Indy on Community Day. Although Glenn and Tom had met the
previous year at the Kentucky race, it wasn't until shortly after the RV pulled
into Indy on May 22nd 2002, that Jim and Glenn met for the first time. It all
seems so simple, compared to what it’s grown into 10 years later.
We had become familiar with Brian Hall's fight with ALS and the Brian's Wish
foundation and had plans to meet Brian later that evening. When we met Brian's
parents and his hospice nurse, Barb, at Community Day, we found out that we
would have to reschedule as Brian wasn't having a good day. Unfortunately, we
never did get to actually meet Brian because he died early the next morning. The
role he would play in the popularity of C&B over the years can not be
For that first evening, we then located a suitable backyard just off
W 25th Street to park for the night. After paying the homeowner $25.00,
we took a historic picture of the three founders hoisting the first
Official Brew with a self-timed digital camera propped up on a red wagon.
As a first unofficial act, we then attended a live radio show at McGilvery's Pub
that featured Sam Hornish and Billy Boat. One of the radio personalities for the
Janie Vogel, but did not officially meet her until a year or two later. Now
she is quite the C & B staple each year.
Back at our temporary campsite after dark, we saw the start of motorhomes lining
up on Georgetown Road. We hightailed it out of there only to be redirected (by
the cops - a scenario that would become an annual pain in the rear as described
below) to a staging lot off of 30th Street Soon. We never did get that $25.00
We don't really recall much the next morning other than we had tried to stake
out a site, but realized quickly that it was a first come first serve, “metal”
rules sort of atmosphere. We’ve come to affectionately refer to it as the “land
rush” when the gate is finally opened. Unlike most of the other campers, we
weren't drunk, (yet) just very tired. We realized that to get the coveted front
row spot, you had to have a plan that meant being in line on Georgetown Rd. Then
being told to leave by Speedways' Finest. Then, later, getting BACK in line and
again getting kicked out many times over the early hours of the morning. Wagers
in Vegas could be made on who’s gonna chance getting in line first and then side
bets on how long they’ll be there before the police rouse them. This goes on
every single year. We hate it - But are powerless to change it, or get our
corner spot reserved, and believe us, we've tried!
The Coors Light pile of cans, next to the RV and noted in this
picture, in 2002 became a testament to the fact that we had no keg until
2003. There were a few Budweiser cans in there and we've made a point to NOT let
that happen since!
Joining us that first year was Carol, the sister of Tom and Jim and a new guy
she was dating named Tim. They had only known each other a few weeks, camped out
at C&B and 5 short years later got married.
One thing we all will unfortunately never forget, was the guy behind us who
blared his over sized speakers until about 4 am each night. We concocted many
ways to disable those speakers, but we never did act on the impulses even though
the awful German Techno music severely hampered our sleep!
We also met Melissa that year, whose group always camped at the opposite corner
end of the Coke Lot, in the front row, from what has become Camp and Brew
corner. Seeing her, and her friends in their Class A RV, which is almost ALWAYS
the first in line each year, has become a tradition. Giving her one of the first
C&B shirts also became quite the tradition too!
It would just not be Indy without the fine oval taste treats known as Long's
Donuts. We visited in 2002 and as the photographic evidence shows (picture),
the bakery checkered flags were adorned with an Official Camp and Brew 2002
sticker. Over the course of the next few days, our stickers ended up in a
variety of places like porta-Johns, the side of a tow truck, on the kitchen door
at McGilvery's Pub and one in a secret location on IMS grounds that is STILL
As testament to the amateurs we were in our first year methods, our rigged flag
pole bent in half in 2002. Due to better planning and expenditure of many $$$,
we have since not had that problem. Another gaff that was corrected for the next
year was a blue sign with red print declaring Camp and Brew. It was difficult to
read, but none-the-less, put us on the map.
A hit that remained popular for the duration was the dry erase board. We flashed
all manner of signs at passing cars as well as labeled people behind their back
Helio Castroneves won the 2002 race driving in a Dallara/ Chevrolet for Roger
Penske that year and is the only driver to ever win twice in his first two