6:15 a.m. Friday morning, Hogan Park, Midland, Texas - it’s time for the Permian Basin API Scholarship Golf Tournament. We’re at Hole 13 on the Quail course, where my firm sponsors the hole-in-one contest, putting up our sponsor tent, setting up for the 7:30 a.m. tee time. This is my 23rd year to serve as one of the organizers of this tournament. A cool 540 golfers play two days, two courses - and there are 12 cookers and several sponsors scattered out over each course. It’s a lot of fun, and the tournament enjoys a stellar reputation and provides scholarships for some 24 college students.
My brother, Scott, calls. He’s in the parking lot, having brought me his brand new Kawasaki Mule for my personal use during the tournament. And yes, I know, I’m spoiled. He unloads it, brings it to me, and I take him back to the pro shop. He hops back into his truck, and hauls butt back to Big Spring, where he has an 8:15 a.m. sales meeting. He’ll be back for his 1:00 p.m. tee time.
The tourney kicks off, and all carts head out for a shotgun start. The golfers are ready for a great weekend. About that time, Robert Walker, The Harley Davidson Shop in Big Spring (the original Texas Harley Davidson dealer!), shows up to deliver the Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle motorcycle we’re displaying at our hole. We get his trailer placed, the bike unloaded, banners hung, and everything’s set to go. His bike is beautiful, and the golfers are already drooling over it!
Robert’s gone out of his way to help us by providing the display bike. I just can’t let him go home empty-handed! I tell Robert about the renown pork chops that the Baker Hughes guys cook, and I can see I’ve flung a craving on him - no matter it’s not yet 8 a.m. We hop on the Mule, grabbing a long-time friend Susie at the parking lot, and head over across the course to the Baker cook wagon to grab some pork chops.
We’re enjoying the ride on the Mule, it’s a beautiful crisp morning, and all the golfers are having lots of fun. I think Robert’s getting a feel for just how big this two day charity tournament is! The beer is already flowing out of the kegs, and delectable aromas waft across the course as different cookers prepare their wares.
It takes about three minutes to get to the Baker tents. There are about 10 salesmen there, working their fingers to the bone, cooking and talking to customers. Once there, I pull up to the cooker and we get off the Mule. We’ve just started to give our orders when I hear a huge blast. I look around and everyone that can has hit the ground, or is ducking down. The blast is LOUD!!
It is huge! Birds are flying everywhere, and I scream, “We’re in the city! Who’s shooting the dang shotgun? That's against the law!”
One of the Baker guys says, “Janie! It’s your cart! Turn it off!”
Boiling antifreeze was going everywhere, and smoke was billowing from the Mule. I reach across and turn it off.
I couldn’t even think, I just hit redial on my phone.
Scott answers: Hey, Little Sister?
And for once in my life, I’m speechless. I cannot say a thing. How can I tell my brother I just killed his $11K Kawasaki Mule?
Scott can hear all the commotion in the background. Everybody’s recovering, and talking about it. We’re all in shock.
Scott: Janie, what happened?
Me: Ummm, ummmm. I, ummm, blew up your Mule.
Scott: What? What happened? Are you okay? is everyone okay?
I hand the phone to Robert. Robert tells Scott that we’re okay, it just scared us all. He thinks the hose has blown up like someone shot something through it. It’s his opinion that the thermostat stuck, causing pressure to build up, thus the explosion.
Scott calls the Kawasaki shop, and they head over immediately to see what’s up. The Mule has been driven less than 3 hours, (I've been on it less than 5 minutes!) is brand new, and that shouldn’t happen!
We are so blessed that we were (1) off the cart, when it happened and (2) not one person was burned. (And did I tell you those Baker guys can Flat. Out. Move. when they need to?)
Within minutes, the entire golf course knew about it, and I caught grief all day long about blowing up my brother’s cart. Scott headed back our way, and met the Kawasaki mechanics, who loaded it up and took it to their shop. To their credit, they had it fixed and back to us prior to day’s end. Saturday morning, I had my ride back, and though everyone teased me, there were no more Mule incidents. And Scott? Well, he is definitely one prince of a guy, even if he is my brother! Love ya, Scott!!
You can always count on one thing - it’s never boring around here!!