|An example of what our 11 hour day at the conference is like...|
Meeting and greeting a whole lot of great folks!!
Here with Hunter Brito - a bigfootsongs fan and bigfoot enthusiast!
Morning broke and I need not even mention the weather.
(Yes, Mom, it is muggy here. A cloudy sky, but looks like the rain will hold
off.) Saturday is the “main event” at
the Ohio Bigfoot Conference. We had everything that we needed ready to go (that
is, a few dozen souvenir photos, a guest book and a packet of free souvenir
photos I carry with me when I travel.)
We proceeded to breakfast at the restaurant and ran into some great friends. Nicole Law is a wonderful young lady who is enthralled with the bigfoot subject and pursuing knowledge in the related fields of anthropology and archaeology. She and her Dad, Dan, also drove all the way to Yakima for the Round-Up last October. So as we approach the host of the restaurant we ask for a table for 8 and fill those seats with whomever is present. It just so happened that Maria DiFranco and her brother John were standing there in line for a table. And a friend we made last year, Tom Cinefro and his daughter, Harmony. That’s how we arranged meals and such…on the fly. It worked out great. Enjoyed talking with all these folks and they sure enjoyed having breakfast with Bob.
|Our breakfast with friends in Ohio.|
Left to Right: Dan & Nicole Law, yours truly, Harmony & Tom Cinefro,
John and his sister, Maria DiFranco and Bob Gimlin
To describe the scene outside of the conference room here at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference would start with the vending area. 30 tables of sasquatch/bigfoot related wares and crafts – an incredible assortment of rare books, cool t-shirts and organizational tables…like our friends at the International Cryptozoology Museum and nearby New England bigfooters, “Squatchachusetts”.
|Artist Andy "Mongoose" Finkle with his|
|Such an honor to be painted by Andy Finkle!|
This piece was donated to the International Cryptozoology Museum
curated by Loren Coleman in Portland, Maine.
|The scene at our table when Gene Romo filled in for me.|
Helping Bob hear over the din whose name to put on the photo or item
they wanted autographed.
(Tom Page and Loren Coleman to the right)
Bob and I – along
with assistance from our friend, Gene Romo – take up our places at a table
between Bluff Creek artist Wayne Barnes and Loren Coleman’s Int’l Crypto Museum tables. This affords us a seat
next to Tom Page as well. For Bob, this
starts the full day of meeting, greeting and signing autographs for attendees –
as well as posing for photographs. If this were ComicCon, he would be charging
big money. He is that popular. As it is, the modest honorarium he receives
suffices. I sell 8X10 color photographs of him and bigfoot for $10 – the kind of
discount souvenir I would want to buy. We were at the table for over 2 and ½
hours before taking a break with the Holasek Family. We returned and continued
the wonderful day of meeting new bigfoot enthusiasts, old friends and
knowledgeable supporters of Bob and Roger’s film achievement.
|John Kirk III (right) receives commemorative gifts after his presentation|
from organizer Marc DeWerth and event emcee Sharon Lee Lomurno.
(tech staff volunteers and proprietors of Grassman Gear - as well as
producers of the new documentary "The Minerva Monster" -
Jesse and Alan to the left)
John Kirk III, our very good friend who is the President
of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, spoke first. His
presentation was well received as he is a dynamic public speaker. He reviewed
the history of bigf…uh, er…sasquatch research in his home province. British Columbia, Canad is
where it all began – research wise – back in the early 20th
with JW Burns and on to John Green and Rene Dahinden soon bolstered by Bob
Titmus…and the rest is history. I can’t
speak to the other presentations as we were always busy out in the lobby vending area. Jim Sherman of the BFRO – and author of a new bigfoot book about
his research experience – spoke as did David Floyd, a professor from Carolina
Commonwealth University. David addressed the recurrence of a hairy hominoids throughout history starting in Mesopotamia
and on up through the Middle Ages and into recent times. And, as I mentioned previously, Loren Coleman spoke on Friday night about secret
millionaire benefactors of bigfoot research.
|Prof. David Floyd and BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman|
pose with Bob Gimlin during the conference.
My role on Saturday at the conference was also to perform some bigfoot songs between presentations. I started with my tribute to a pioneer of sasquatch research, John Green. “The Ballad of John Green” tells the story of his involvement in this search for evidence and information about the sasquatch – and how he published books “to disperse what he’d learned.” I asked Nicole Law to come sit up front and act as my “human teleprompter”. J When I performed in Yakima last October, I noticed Nicole sitting in the 2nd row singing along – she knows all the words to my songs (as does her Dad). Guess they play the CD as much as I do. Well, I had her sit there and sing me the first line of each verse just in case I could not remember it. It came in helpful on one or two verses, but overall it was just fun to have her sitting there singing along.
|Here with Nicole Law and her father, Dan.|
|Ready to play "Roger and Bob (Rode Out That Day)"|
with River Gibbs sitting in on harmonica.
Later on, I asked River Gibbs to join me on stage to play harmonica on “Roger and Bob (Rode Out That Day)” – my tribute to Bob and Roger Patterson. I did this because River is a performer as well as a very informed bigfoot researcher. His appreciation of this song resulted in a wonderful tribute video he made last year with his older brother. They sit in a meadow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and perform the same song. (Search for River Gibbs Roger and Bob on YouTube…it’s awesome!). So, not to throw him into the fire, we grabbed the guitar (THANK YOU, JEFF “Oakenshield” CRISMAN of Ohio for doing everything to loan me your guitars!!) and went into a loading dock area just outside the packed conference room. There we played through a few verses and harmonica solos. As we returned to the hall, we were called to the stage. It was a pinnacle moment for us to perform that song to a packed, appreciative house – and for Bob Gimlin. River did great and received rounds of applause after each time he played the harmonica. It was very cool. I forgot the last verse but kept playing until I recalled the 2nd
As I began to sing it, I pulled a line Neil Young used in the movie “The Last Waltz”: “I got it now, Robbie!” We were treated to a standing ovation! And that is how bigfootsongs was part of the Ohio Bigfoot Conference.
|Performing with River Gibbs at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference 2015|
|My good friend, Jeff Crisman!!|
He generously outfits me with guitars to play all weekend long!
THANK YOU, again, JEFF!
The night concluded with a question and answer session
with Bob Gimlin. I assisted by moderating this which involved repeating the
question to Bob or in some cases, clarifying an answer with a brief explanation
of some P-G film history. Bob took
questions for close to 45 minutes. One person asked to tell about his
experience the day the film was obtained – October 20, 1967 – and that resulted
in a very nice, long reply. Other questions were about his personal opinions
about topics such as kill or no kill, are they human-like, etc. When it came to
questions about his involvement with research and conferences since September
2003, he stated that the friends he has made since then make him “richer in
spirit than any amount of money.”
|Bob Gimlin speaking to the packed room during his Q & A session|
at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference 2015
As has always been the case, when he says good night, this crowd jumps to their feet and gives this man a standing ovation. The feeling in the room was electric – and loving. It is something to experience from the front. Wow!
|Freeze frame as Bob begins to remove his hat to acknowledge the standing ovation.|
Another pinnacle moment of this year's Ohio Bigfoot Conference.
Marc DeWerth and Sharon Lee Lomurno (Event Organizer and
both acting as Emcee’s) had great gifts for Bob and each speaker…and they
concluded the conference with special surprises for young people in attendance.
It was really something else I will explain at a later time. It takes about an
hour to wind down and say good-bye to all those great folks. Photos were taken
and autographs signed on most anything you can think of.
|An "end-of-the-conference" photo with our friends from|
Jonathan Wilk of Granby, MA founded this Northeast bigfoot research group;
Our longtime friend Dave McCullough poses between Bob and me.
John Kirk III, president of the BCSCC and dear friend, to the right.
|Another final photo with some notable figures in bigfoot/sasquatch research.|
Yours truly, Loren Coleman, Bob Gimlin and John Kirk III.
The night goes on and on in the lobby area on Saturday
and it’s a time to let loose. I play guitar in a living room setting and it
doesn’t disturb any guests because of the design of this lodge. Somewhere
around 40 people gather and sing along to songs I’ve played at campfires and in
garage bands. It’s awesome!
(PHOTO REMOVED FOR PROPRIETARY REASONS) :-) j/k I need to request a photo from the after hours sing-a-long party.
“Brown Eyed Girl”, “Let It Be”, “Country Roads”, “Folsom
Prison Blues”, “La Bamba”, “Twist and Shout”, “Oh Pretty Woman”, “The Boxer”,
“Sloop John B”, “Fun Fun Fun”, “Nowhere Man”, “Imagine”, “Everyday”, “Looking
Out My Backdoor”, “Bad Moon Rising”…it just is so much fun! Two other
guitarists were present to afford me some breaks so that worked out! (and the folks were
treated to performances by Matt Pruitt!)
When it gets really late, the super balls that can be had in the game
room as prizes, begin to drop from above…haha! That’s when you grab your drink
and cover the guitar…”Balls of Fury” has begun. That’s an inside joke but it
|After hours with friends.|
Mike Hall, Matt Pruitt, Jeffery and Tonia Thomas and "Yams"
Sunday dawns a little dimmer for all the energy expended on Saturday – and it rained on and off but nobody noticed. Thanks to the rain, the picnic hosted by the USBigfootResearchOrganization was moved to two covered picnic areas near the beach volleyball courts at Salt Fork State Park. The had provided delicious, simple barbeque fare and everyone comes and just socializes for 2 hours. It’s really a nice way to conclude the weekend for many – and one more chance to visit with friends before having to say “Good-bye”. Many photos were taken.
|With friend and fellow bigfoot conference organizer,|
One person I should mention that was there was primatologist Dr. Esteban Sarmiento. He like to attend this event and travels in from New Jersey. I also think he likes my music because he enjoys the “campfire sing-a-long” scene on Saturday night and also complimented me on the lyrics to “The Ballad of John Green”. It’s such an honor and a delight to be able to spend time with someone like Esteban – and I’m thrilled to call him a friend. So we said good-bye.
|At the USBRA picnic on Sunday with|
Jenny King, Bob Gimlin, Dr. Esteban Sarmiento and his friend Andrew.
(unknown "photo-bomber" far right)
|Essential event staff - and Ohio Bigfoot Investigators -|
Mark Maisel and Bea Mills happily pose with Bob Gimlin
|View of the picnic area at Salt Fork State Park on Sunday.|
Dark clouds and a patch of blue sky over the picnic shelter.
Those of us staying one more night went our way and met
up again later for dinner. I will continue this story tomorrow as we had Monday
to tour around the Cleveland area and Tuesday to travel home to Yakima by way
of Portland and the Columbia River.