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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 2, 2012

A super cool Super Bowl party features lots of beer and lots of hugs

GUILDERLAND –– Last time Bill Jones hosted the traditional outdoor Super Bowl party, in 1994, his wife’s favorite wicker chairs were burned. That was never the plan.

“But shit happens,” he said, explaining that is why he’s no longer married.

Also put to flames during the Dallas Cowboys’ 30-to-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills was the cooking apron of honorary chef P.M. (Post Menopause), which, until that point, had never been washed.

“We burned a lot that year,” Jones said this week. “I feel like that was the last straw for my wife.”

Jones, a scientific glass blower for General Electric, is one of the original eight people who were present for the inception of the outdoor Super Bowl party in 1983 in Watervliet. Now, with the party in its 29th year, Jones is getting ready to host again at his Settles Hill home in Guilderland.

The “Stupor Bowl” party, as those who carry on the tradition call it, was created by accident. Jones, originally from Menands, was over at Joe Gilchrist’s house in Watervliet because he was a friend of Gilchrist’s four sons. While tuning in to Super Bowl XVII, the group got raucous and Mrs. Gilchrist kicked everyone outside.

“We didn’t know how serious she was about it at first, but she locked the door on us,” said Jones, who was 26 at the time. “So, we fired up the grill and got a television. We were cold, but we thought it was kind of fun.”

Jones said that some neighbors were curious as to why eight men were watching the game outside in the cold. “They came over to check it out, and, eventually, it grew into this whole thing,” Jones said.

As a New York Giants fan, Jones is glad to be hosting the party for Super Bowl XLVI; he expects to see a classic game against the New England Patriots. The two Northeast teams met in Super Bowl XLII, with New York winning, 17 to 14. Jones is running 80 feet of cable for four or five televisions.

“People tend to mingle more if the game features two teams that no one really cares about,” said Jones, giving the Miami Dolphins versus the San Francisco 49ers as an example; they met in Super Bowl XIX. “But, since it’s the Giants, I think people will be paying attention,” he said.

Whenever the party is held outside of Watervliet, a school bus is rented for safety purposes since the party-goers like to drink. Jones said that 42 people are signed up to ride the bus this year. “We don’t want 40 guys drinking and driving,” he said. “Plus, it’s more fun if everyone rides together.”

As of Tuesday, the weather forecast for Sunday’s big game has a high of 37 degrees and a low of 28. It’s usually much colder than that, but the climate has been a little on the strange side this winter; total snowfall so far is just 13 inches. Jones remembers the temperature getting as low as 14 degrees below zero.

“I mean, it’s winter, right?” Jones said. “We want to have snow on the ground, sure. If it’s really, really cold, less people show up, but it’s important to dress warmly. Some people have showed up with sneakers on. If you do that, you’ll be leaving at halftime.”

The lack of snow might make building Beer Mountain difficult this year. Beer Mountain is a huge pile of snow made to prevent the beer from freezing.

The Stupor Bowl group has lost a few members over the years, including Mr. Gilchrist and Jones’s father; whenever a regular dies, a cross is put atop Beer Mountain.

“You do notice who’s missing if someone passes away,” Jones said. “Most of these guys only see each other on this day –– we have people coming from California, Massachusetts, Delaware… It’s more about the camaraderie than anything else.”

Since New York versus New England is such a big game, Jones is opening the Stupor Bowl to the public. Anyone who wants to attend, he said, should bring plenty of beverages and may want to bring warm food as well.

Jones is making sure to put a television in front of the two chefs this year. The two cook up tons of meat –– wild antelope, water buffalo, moose, and caribou –– as well as crock-pots full of warm goodness.

With all the people and all the alcohol, how crazy does the Stupor Bowl get?

“It doesn’t get too crazy,” Jones said. “I’ve never seen a fight in 29 years. We all love each other’s company. Actually, there are a lot of hugs.”

By Jordan J. Michael

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