Founder’s Day: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

October 5, 2015

12049385_10153829568054349_8345328261614342629_nFriday marked my 13th Founder’s Day, the annual Fast Horse holiday when we celebrate the agency opening its doors for the very first time on October 1, 2001. Each year, Founder’s Day takes place in two parts. First, we spend the day together — typically doing some kind of outdoor activity, if weather permits. Then we clean ourselves up and gather with significant others for a fancy dinner somewhere. This year was another great success. Things started around 10 a.m. with breakfast and mini-golf, followed by a three-hour tour of Lake Minnetonka on a chartered cruise. We topped things off by taking over Tilia in Linden Hills for a wonderful meal. Leading up to the festivities, many of the newer employees asked about previous Founder’s Day events. And after reminiscing a bit, I’ve decided to put together a definitive ranking of everything that came before this year (based on the daytime activities only — not the evening dinners).

No. 12: Founder’s Day 2004
This is the only year for which there is no photo evidence, but I remember it vividly. It poured rain and we scrapped our plans in order to work on a new business pitch. It clearly ranks dead last on the list, but we did win the business.

No. 11: Founder’s Day 2006
Founder's Day 2006Can’t you just feel the excitement in this photo? We trekked to Taylors Falls for a hike, but the weather did not cooperate. The freezing rain ultimately drove us inside, where we painted plates and vases at a pottery store.

No. 10: Founder’s Day 2005
Founder's Day 2005It was a beautiful day to be in the great outdoors. It was also the day I learned that I don’t belong on a horse. My ass hurt for two weeks after this horseback riding adventure that went on about an hour too long.

No. 9: Founder’s Day 2009
Founder's Day 2009Another rainout, which shifted our plans inside for a little bowling and day-drinking. Not bad, but not our best.

No. 8: Founder’s Day 2008
Founder's Day 2008We headed to Lake Pepin for a sailing trip on Jorg’s boat. It was a fun day, but a little on the chilly side, which bumps it down on the list a touch. Alli is dressed like she’s about to ride sled dogs across Alaska in this photo, but it wasn’t nearly that bad.

No. 7: Founder’s Day 2011
Founder's day 2011We took a trip to Bob Ingrassia’s cabin in Big Lake. There was boating and badminton. All reports were positive, but I missed most of the day because I was returning from a business trip.

No. 6: Founder’s Day 2003
Founder's Day 2003We hit the courts for a tennis tournament, which didn’t take long to play out since we only had 6 employees — and one was 8 months pregnant. We haven’t played since, primarily because nobody wanted to see us in this gear ever again.

No. 5: Founder’s Day 2010
Founder's Day 2010We picnicked at a local park and played a spirited game of volleyball. There was a memorable setback caused by an undercooked hotdog.

No. 4: Founder’s Day 2007
Founder's Day 2007 013 copyOur first trip on the water was a good one. We rented a pontoon and floated our way around Lake Minnetonka. We caught a few fish and a buzz, then finished the day off with a friendly game of poker.

No. 3: Founder’s Day 2012
Founder's Day 2012We stepped things up in the boat department and took a guided cruise on the St. Croix River.

No. 2: Founder’s Day 2014
Founder's Day 2014We bowled at Elsie’s, followed by a river cruise on the Mississippi filled with card games and camaraderie. The fall colors were amazing on a beautiful day.

No. 1: Founder’s Day 2013
Founder's Day 2013This was our best-weather day — 80 degrees in October and perfect for a trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Following a hike and picnic, a touch-football game broke out. Things got a little competitive, and injuries started piling up on the opening kickoff, when Cydney sidelined Tim Holtz — one of the biggest guys at the agency — knocking him out with a severely sprained ankle. On the same play, Dave Fransen tweaked his knee trying to avoid the pileup and also ended up with a scab on his leg the size of a hubcap. The combination of the best weather and the ability to chuckle at Dave’s expense as he limped around the office for months puts it at the top of my rankings.

This list may be a little lighthearted, but Founder’s Day is a great tradition. No matter what we do, where we go or how the weather cooperates, our days are always filled with fun and laughter.