A Whole Lotta BS: Mollyockett Day

A Whole Lotta BS: Mollyockett Day

Mollyockett Day is my favorite holiday of the year. Unfortunately, the holiday only exists in the quaint town of Bethel, Maine. Molly Ockett was an Abernaki Indian healer who roamed Western Maine in the 1700’s. She loved the town of Bethel and was well respected in the area. However, if people were disrespectful or inhospitable to her she would put a curse on them. As the legend goes Molly Ockett was a bit of a promiscuous floozy and she certainly loved to party — too bad she never made the trip to Boulder. She passed away in 1816, but her legacy will live on forever…in Bethel.

This year there was an added treat to the festivities. The New England Forest Rally happened to be in town. Souped up Subarus were all over Bethel ready to perform in one of the bigger rally cross races in the country. Huge names like Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, and Dave Mira were seen ripping through the course. The local hero, Chris Duplessis however, won the two-wheel drive division and preformed extremely well overall. Go Bethel!!

I made it to town for the first stage of the rally, which was on July 17, 2009. This event took place on Concord Pond. Being such a country boy, I thought it was a good idea to sleep on an outdoor cot in a screened in tent. Apparently the screened sides do not hold the rain out well, because I woke up soaking wet. I then decided that the center of the tent must be waterproof so I moved to the dead middle. That worked better until I awoke from my sleep a second time because I had to go to the outhouse. I realized that the outhouse was far away and since it was still pouring rain outside, I decided to simply lean off the cot and urinate, instead of making the expedition to the toilet. However, I forget that all my clothing was located on the side of the cot that I was sleeping on. It was not a pleasant morning.

The true fun really began at about 8:30 AM on July 18th. This marked the beginning of Mollyockett Day. I decided to sign up for a five mile race. I managed to finish dead last with a time of one hour and eight minutes. That might have been some sort of course record. After the race there is a parade, a talent show, a pizza eating contest, booths set up by local artists, a rubber ducky race, more food vendors, and fireworks. There is also a frog-leaping contest where you catch a frog and see how far it will jump. Unfortunately they changed the age limit so I was unable to compete in this event. I won two years ago by soaking my frog in Red Bull before the contest. Simon Dumont is very sensitive about the fact that he is in the record book for shortest jump ever, one inch.

I met up with former Gould Sunday River Freeride coach, local legend, and skiing personality, Chris Brooks, to discuss the holiday we both know and love.

Would you say that Mollyockett Day is a big day for the town?
According to the gospel that is Wikipedia, a nation is defined by a body of people who share a real or imagined common history. Bethel, like many other great nations, defines itself by the history that serves as its origin, but identifies itself by the myth that maintains its relevance. Molly Ockett (translated as “Singing Bird”), the inspiration of Mollyockett day, has many times been referred to as “Androscoggin Valley’s Florence Nightingale,” the topic of great legend, romance, and mystery… much like the day that takes her name. So to answer your question, Brian — yes, what the Fourth of July is to America (and to Henrik Lampert), Mollyockett Day is to Bethel – perhaps even more.

Can you describe your ideal Mollyockett Day?
Mollyockett Day is what dreams are made of; there is no beginning or end to its magic. What I can tell you, however, is that when we were younger… you couldn’t sleep the night before, the excitement was just too real — there are 365 days in a year, yet there can only be one Mollyockett Day.

Mornings began with the one-mile fun run, followed by some reflection (fried dough included), only to later climb high aboard the fire trucks for the parade, tossing tootsie rolls and lollypops to those who crowded the streets below. Upon the parade’s conclusion, little time was left to prepare yourself (and your frog) for the Frog Jumping Contest, of which I believe you — Brian Schroy — were declared the 2008 winner (prior to a new rule, no doubt unconstitutional, forbidding elder statesmen from participating). With the winning frog in tow, the late afternoon’s were spent with lemonade and more fried dough, shuffling on the shuffleboard courts at the Bethel Inn & Country Club, counting down the moments until the greatest fireworks display in history… that, Brian… was Mollyockett Day.

Where were you at 11:55pm on July 19, 2009?
At 11:55pm on Saturday, July 19, 2009, I was where every other self-respecting American, Canadian, and Bethel, Maine local should have been… the local watering hole, known to all as “the Funky Red Barn.” Though the evening was spent celebrating, the reality of Mollyockett Day’s annual conclusion was surely about to set in, leaving a sea of teary eyes and drink-stained t-shirts, dripping onto a bar room floor.

What can you tell me about the Gould Freeride Program?
Having been a product of the program myself, and working in connection with the program for a number of years now, I can say with complete honesty that the combination of Gould Academy and Sunday River has deservedly preserved one of the best, most athlete-oriented programs in the country. Longtime friends and coaches, John Kimble, Doug Horne, and Brian Broderick, have done nothing short of an amazing job with the program over the past few years… their commitment to the athletes, and to the sport, is beyond compare. I am proud of what it is, and excited about what it will bring in the future.

And what are you up to now?
With snow conditions and weekend traffic dictating much of my winter schedule, I do make time to ski as much as I can…. with Sunday River still providing me with a pass, and Matt Berkowitz at Fischer setting me up with skis/boots each season, it’s tough not to. Outside of skiing, I’m currently serving as legal counsel for a social entrepreneurship venture out of Brooklyn, New York (started by a good friend, and former-US Ski Team Member, Marty Odlin) founded to provide funding and engineering support to the cause of economically, socially, and ecologically accessible transportation worldwide through the fabrication of sustainable bamboo constructed bicycle frames. Because this interview is slated for an online release, and it’s just a click away, I recommend everyone check it out at www.bamboobikestudio.com.

Your tricks were revolutionary with the Brooksie Roll and the Running Man Back Flip. Can you describe the Brooksie Roll?
Let’s just say “boom boom pow,” – I’m so 3008, double flips are so 2000 and late.

Do you believe that you are in fact the Godfather of skiing?
Shane McConkey will always be the godfather of skiing; he changed lives. In his absence, however, Mike Douglas is well deserving of the interim position. Me? Perhaps I am the hero skiing deserves, but not the one it needs right now… more of a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a dark knight.

Will I see you next year for Mollyockett Day?
Is that even a question?

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