Got Stump?

2011 got stump?

This year we raised $7800 for the Ouray Ice Park.  Thanks to all who donated!

Visit the Got Stump Blog at

Sit down my friends and kick off your boots because I’m going to tell you a story about a shirt. Not just any shirt, but a very special t-shirt. This is a shirt that has traveled the world in the company of some of the most famous ice climbers and gimps in the world. It’s lived in drawers right next to Kim Csizmazia’s panties and Jeff Lowe’s boxers. And it’s never been washed… That’s right boys and girls; it carries the sweat and the stink of eight Ouray Ice Festival auctions and only God knows what else. Here’s how it went down:

January 2003

I was in my prosthetist’s office in Boulder when Paul Martin, another gimp and successful tri-athlete, came in and sold me the got stump? t-shirt. It was a fundraiser for his Disabled Olympic Triathalon project. A week later, when I was the auctioneer at the Ouray Ice Festival, things were heating up in the room so I took off my sweatshirt. Underneath was, of course, the got stump? t-shirt. Things were getting pretty lively in the room. The Canadian’s had won both men’s and women’s comps that year and I was getting pretty seriously heckled by our friendly neighbors when they started chanting, “Sell the Shirt! Sell the Shirt!”

WTF? “What shirt are your talking about?” I said. “That shirt”, they said pointing to my got stump? shirt. “This shirt?” I said. “ Yeah, that shirt”.

I’m always one to want to raise money for the ice park so what the hell… “Will anybody give me twenty bucks for it?”

Every hand in the room went up. Thirty? One person dropped their hand.

Forty, fifty, sixty…all the way up to a hundred dollars and there were still four hands up. “A hundred dollars for a dirty shirt?, I questioned. Two hands went back up. $130 and, finally, at $140, a lone hand remained. I looked over to confirm and Chris Folsom nodded his head and said, “I’ve got to have that shirt”.

Turns out that Chris had lopped off a finger while wrenching on a car and earned the nickname. “Stump”.

Total Raised $140

January 2004

Auctioning at the Ouray Ice fest again. Sweaty, loud and lubricated with plenty of New Belgium beer. Halfway through I felt a tug at my sleeve and there was Chris handing me a wadded up shirt. “It’s the shirt, he said. Sell it again! I’ve never washed it.”

So I told the story from ’03 and started the bidding at last year’s selling price of $140. It took less than 2 minutes to get up to $1,000 where it stalled momentarily.

Meanwhile, Angela Donini was working the back of the room hard, putting together a consortium of locals to pool their money and go big. Sure enough, the next bid was for $1,400 and that’s where it stopped.

Someone came up with the idea to make the shirt a traveling trophy, giving it to a deserving person to care-take for the year. Warren Macdonald was in town for his first ice fest and seemed to be an appropriate gimp so he was awarded the shirt for the year. We made up 2 rules on the spot:

1. The caretaker couldn’t wash the shirt.

2. The caretaker had to agree to personally deliver it to the following year’s festival.

Warren agreed and the journey began.

Total Raised $1,400

Cumulative Total $1,540

January 2005

Since the got stump? t-shirt seemed to be taking on a life of its own, the Ice Festival committee decided to move the auction to the awards ceremony over in the Opera House. That night we played to a packed house. The front-row seats were stuffed with all of the competitors and the back was elbow to elbow with attendees and vendors. Dale Bard from Petzl had a wad of cash from donations at their party the previous night and opened the bidding at $500. Up and up it went, finally stalling out at $2,300 or so, when I had an idea…

“Look, I said, this is getting a bit rich for a lot of the people in this room but I know that all of you want to contribute to the ice park.” How many people here would be willing to donate $100 to make this a traveling trophy for Jeff Lowe (who we had just honored)?

Twenty-five people raised their hands, including virtually all of the competitors who had just been awarded their prize money in hundred-dollar bills. Added to the $500 from the Petzl Party that brought it to exactly $3,000. Not bad for a dirty t-shirt.

Total Raised $3,000

Cumulative Total $4,540

January 2006

The shirt was auctioned off again at the Awards Ceremony in the Opera House. Jeff brought the shirt back and we repeated what we had done the year before. This time the total came to $3,600 and we gave the traveling trophy to Kim Czismazia since she qualified as a semi-gimp (right) because of hip surgery.

Total Raised $3,600

Cumulative Total $8,140

January 2007

This year would turn out to be a biggie. When the Ice Festival Board asked me to auction the shirt again I requested that they define a specific project for the funds to go to. The Ice Park had been planning to build a warming bench as a memorial for Karen McNeill and Sue Knott, and suggested the fund go to that. ”No way, I said, It’s too small. Give me something that benefits the climbers, that benefits the community and costs real money.”

An hour later Chris and Mike came back to me with an amazing plan: 12 pitches of new ice perfect for kids and beginners, right above the upper bridge. Additionally, there was room for a warming area which could be dedicated as a memorial for Karen and Sue. It was perfect. I told them I’d get them $10,000.

That night, when the memorial presentation for Karen and Sue was over, I showed a PowerPoint with some pictures of the new area, pictures of kids climbing and made my case: The park needs a safe place for kids, media and beginners. A place that is easy to access and welcoming to people who didn’t want to go down into the gorge. Then I told the crowd that I wanted everyone in the audience to donate $100 towards this worthy goal. Damn if just about everybody didn’t get up and head to the payment line. I was sure that we would get $10,000 but it only ended up at $7,500. Not bad for a stinky t-shirt though.

The Got Stump? shirt went to Vijay Viswanathan, a T-5 paraplegic who lives as a ski bum, climbs like a maniac and fishes up a storm.

Total Raised $7,500

Cumulative Total $15,640

January 2008

How do we top 2007? More ice, of course. Mike Gibbs walked the gorge and found a nice wall across the gorge from the 5-Fingers area that had room for 8-10 new ice routes and featured a cave for some easy mixed routes. To get water over there new pipes would have to be laid across the lower trestle and, at the same time, facilitate building a walkway over the trestle. This would connect 2 trails up on the sides of the lower gorge making a nice mile-long loop hike from town. Perfect: it benefits the climbers, the community and it’s going to be expensive enough that climbers feel they played a real part in developing it.

This time when I asked for donations I asked first for everyone willing to donate $500. Eight people stood up. Then $200, $100, 450 and $25. Each time more people got up to donate. The total was $9,600 and I ran and interrupted Josh’s slide show to announce it. Laura was hot on my heels asking just 4 more people to pitch in $100 and we’d hit the goal of $10,000. Seven more go up and we ended up with $10,300. How are we going to top that for next year?

Joe Miller, a wounded vet from Durango, and competitor in this year’s Ice Comp, was the recipient of the Got Stump? shirt.

Total Raised $10,300

Cumulative Total $25,940

January 2009

This year, Mike Gibbs walked the gorge and found what could be the last place in the gorge where they could make new ice: the cliff section located between the New Funtier and South Park. Anyone who has ever walked in to South Park has walked right along the top of this section. It’s about 300’ long and runs anywhere from 60’ to 100’ tall. Our goal was to raise $25,000 because this was going to be an expensive area to rig. While the pipes ran very close by, and getting water to the cliffs would be no problem, the entire penstock would have to be covered with a trestle, a welding project that would be sure to keep Jeff Skoloda busy for months.

The US banks, financial markets and mortgage system had just collapsed but, astonishingly, the crowd came up with $10,700 that night. The bidding was led off by Will Mayo, the winner of the Ice Comp, who donated his entire prize purse from the comp. He was quickly followed by many of the other competitors and then, by the crowd. We had almost 100% participation by the crowd, with strong bidding all the way down to $5.

Heidi Duce, a local amputee and budding ice climber, was the recipient of the Got Stump? t-shirt.

Total Raised $10,700

Cumulative Total $36,640

January 2010

When the OIPI board went to the Forest Service to ask for permission to make ice on the cliffs between New Funtier and South Park, they were told that an environmental review would have to be conducted and new a permitting process would need to be followed. This process, while an important step to assure that the resource is protected, delayed the development of this area for at least 2 years. The funds raised in 2009, instead, were diverted to making major improvements to the ice-making system that will allow making more and better ice though-out the gorge.

Once again, the ice climbing community pulled together to support the largest public ice climbing facility in the world, keeping the climbing free, forever. The auction this year raised $8,000, an astonishing amount given that the US is still in the throes of the worst depression since 1930.

Chad Jukes, a wounded vet and volunteer for Paradox Sports and Amped Sports was the recipient of the shirt this year.

Total Raised $8,000

Cumulative Total $44,640


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