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Prost at Oktoberfest

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood
ALL |

Two characteristics about me make what I did Saturday night doomed from the start.

The first is my lack of upper body strength. Sure, I can lift a piece of furniture if necessary. Like when I’m moving or if somehow were to become trapped under a heavy dresser. I can pull a fairly stealthy backhand from my magical tennis hat. I probably need to be in much better shape to make that happen.

Time to start Jazzercizing again.



When it came to having the upper body strength to climb that terrible rope that hung from the ceiling in middle school, epic fail comes to mind. I also could never navigate the monkey bars as a kid.

In short, I was always kind of a big weenie.



I also don’t have the strong will that public contests of strength, stamina or beer-related shenanigans require. This is why I was one of the first women out in Saturday night’s stein-holding competition at Carbondale’s Oktoberfest.

I think I did OK in the costume portion of the evening.

The thing about contests is I have trouble in saying no to them. They’re like New York-style pepperoni pizza. Or a vintage Christian Dior ball gown 75 percent off its retail price.

And, in this case, beer at an Oktoberfest celebration.

The idea of the stein-holding competition is to fill the glasses with one liter of beer each and see how long a group of 15 participants can hold them. The arm must be held outward, straight-ahead. No bending of the elbows. No raising the stein high above the face. Also, no drinking of the beer while holding it. Of course.

I’m sure sometimes that rule must be enforced.

I tried to make as much eye contact as I could with the competitor directly across from me, Kathie, whom I had just met. Apparently that’s supposed to help with concentration. All I could think is, “I am going to drop this glass of beer, I am going to drop this glass of beer.” Wrong tactic.

I should have been imagining myself as a body builder, able to lift heavy pieces of furniture and play tennis like Venus Williams. I should have been telling myself, “Win one for the Gipper,” like in “Rudy” or “Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here,” from Coach Dale in “Hoosiers.”

Yes, I can always find a way to work in a “Hoosiers” reference.

My uniform – if we’re going to call it that – was at least fancy. I borrowed a felt number from my friend Ananda that included some tall tube socks. I’m sure at Oktoberfests across the world, the typical uniform involves a dirndl and tube socks. Looking back, I wish I could have lasted at least until the top five. Or 10. I was sponsored, after all. To win, not lose.

I hope this won’t affect my approval ratings.

In all, I could not get my game face on to win this thing. I could not focus on the big prize, and I didn’t even know what the big prize was. That’s how much of a competitor I am.

I just wanted to win to win.

I will admit there was one incentive to the contest that didn’t drive me to win it. It drove me to enter it, which is fine if just entering it is good enough. I also was motivated by the fame associated with trying to be the strong woman to balance a liter of beer the longest.

This stuff is made for a Lifetime movie.

And so it goes, I did not win the beer stein-holding contest at this year’s Oktoberfest. I did not even come close by a lifetime of winning it. But I tried. And I failed. I will try, and try again someday, I’m sure. Maybe it will be in at a high-stakes tournament. Could be in someone’s garage at a Halloween party. And so my upper-body building begins.

See you next year, stein-holding competitors.

“April in Glenwood” appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark will host “The April Clark Show” at 9 p.m. Saturday at PAC3 in Carbondale. Think David Letterman if he magically transformed into a woman named April Clark. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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