Ten Things I Learned From Crashed Ice.

Yes, the spectacle has ended – although dismantling the course and cleaning up is another matter entirely –  but the wisdom gained endures.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom I’ve managed to gather from the entire Red Bull Crashed Ice extravaganza….

#10: IF SOMEONE IS ALREADY AS PERKY AS A SQUIRREL ON CRACK, THEN GIVING THEM FREE RED BULL IS A REALLY BAD IDEA. Seriously, I saw some young ladies literally bounce off walls without feeling a thing. One poor girl fractured her nose and it still hasn’t felt it….

#9: WITH ENOUGH HYPE, YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING! I ran into some acquaintances of older persuasion at Tim Hortons (where else?) who spend most days complaining about everything from big business to open-toed shoes and even they were excited about Red Bull Crashed Ice. “Hey have you heard about this thing they’re having by the Falls? They’re going to race bulls on an ice track!” Hey, I said they were excited. I didn’t say they knew what the hell they were excited about..

#8:DRINKING FIVE CANS OF RED BULL WILL NOT MAKE YOU MORE ATTRACTIVE TO THE OPPOSITE SEX. There were A LOT of people who learned this the hard way. I saw one of our regulars deviate from his routine of ordering take-out – food and a hooker, but not from the same place – in order to try his hand at scooping up one of the thousands of eligible young ladies who were caught up in the racing frenzy. Did he succeed? Let’s just say he was going to need that hand…

#7: THERE IS LITTLE TRUTH IN ADVERTISING. Attempting to verify the validity of Red Bull’s slogan “gives you wings”, will just leave you walking with a limp for at least a week. And that’s all I have to say about that.

#6: YOUNG LADIES WHO AREN’T INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO BE CAST IN ADULT FILMS LOVE TO HANG OUT AT EXTREME SPORTING EVENTS. In all my years as a bellman, I’ve never seen so many beautiful bodies devoid of coherent thoughts jammed together in one place. Something about ice, energy drinks and a large body of rushing water draws out the “pretty, but dumb as wood” crowd.

#5: MEN OF ALL AGES LOVE EXTREME SPORTING EVENTS. PERIOD. They could have called it “Red Bull Crashed Shuffleboard” and a few thousand guys would have turned out to drink and scream. Guys love any event with “extreme” in front of it.

#4: ADRENALIN JUNKIES ARE A VITAL PART OF A CITY’S ECONOMIC SURVIVAL. The hype machine keeps throwing a figure of 60,000 spectators around, but I’m not sure how accurate that is. Regardless, I guarantee more than one Niagara politician is making plans to entice Red Bull back here – no matter what it takes. The same goes for business owners of all shapes an sizes; Red Bull may not actually give you wings, but it can put heads in beds, bills in your till and, well, you get the idea.

#3: SERVING EXTREME SPORTS ORGANIZERS REQUIRES FINESSE – AND A LOT OF REST. Any bellman worth his salt knows you have to be a chameleon; you need to be quiet when your guests aren’t in the mood for chit-chat and when your guests are young adrenalin junkies, you need to adjust your behavior accordingly. I’ve never said “YEAH, I HEAR YOU, BRO!” so often in a single week. I felt like I was an extra in Top Gun.

#2: SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO TAKE ONE – OR TWENTY – FOR THE TEAM. Crashed Ice was a marketing victory for Red Bull.Crashed Ice was a financial victory for the city of Niagara Falls. Crashed Ice was a victory for my place of business. Crashed Ice was not a financial win for myself or any of my colleagues. The hotel is full on any given weekend throughout the year, but this past weekend our guests were adrenalin junkies and corporate drones, all of whom were pleasant and for the most part, fun to be around.

However, they’re young and cheap. Having a young, immature workforce works for Red Bull – big time – but it doesn’t help pay off my mortgage any faster. But that’s the way it works; I lost in the short-term but a victory for the hotel helps ensure my survival in the long-term. And that ain’t bad.

And finally, I learned something important about myself.

#1: FOR THE HOOK, HAPPINESS DOESN’T INVOLVE ICE, ROCK MUSIC OR THE RUSH OF THE CROWD. When my shift ended at 8 p.m Saturday night I found myself moving against the rushing horde making their way across Stanley Avenue, down Murray Street (Murray Hill to us locals) and into Queen Victoria Park to watch the Crashed Ice spectacle unfold. I cranked my iPod, put my head down and enjoyed the walk home.

When I arrived and shook off the December chill, I found myself peering down at a Shih Tzu, an offering of a toy in its mouth – any dog can bring your slippers – and a tail wagging at superhuman (super-canine, I mean) speed behind it. One quick pat later, I peered into the living room and saw my young daughter and my father-in-law watching television. My dinner, and the lovely chef who prepared it, were waiting in the kitchen.

I was home. And I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.



Benjamin Wallace is a new friend but a true one. Like Vina Kent, – and Jo Bryant before her – he’s come through with helpful tips and contacts where others have  brushed me off, in a friendly way, of course. Check his site out. He’s blazing a new trail for dumb, white husbands everywhere…


A shout-out to my blog buddy, Kristen Lamb and her best-selling tome, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. Give it a try, folks. You won’t be disappointed…


A fellow bellman and artiste/filmmaker extraordinaire, Joseph Mancini, has created a new digital presence to share with the world. Show him some of that awesome devotion you’ve bestowed upon yours truly and check his work out, okay? I appreciate it, folks. Until next time, stay cool…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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49 Responses to Ten Things I Learned From Crashed Ice.

  1. I’m an admitted Red Bull junkie. The stuff is A-MAZ-ING! Though I can see how everyone around you being supercharged with caffeine can get a little irritating…

    • The Hook says:

      Too bad you weren’t in town last week, Lakin, I could have set you up with enough Red Bull to stop your heart!

      • Ah, and isn’t that every girl’s dream? To be so caffeinated I can’t feel my face. It would take a LOT. I drink coffee from the time I wake up till my husband gets home from work…my heart can take the rush. It’s like building a tolerance to cocaine- you don’t know how you got to the point you’re at (where you’re consuming enough to kill an elephant), but it feels so good you don’t care. (Not that I’m a user, just an analogy, and probably a poor one at that…)
        Looking forward to your next post. I’ve gotta log off n do some “real” writing. Wishing you the best.

      • The Hook says:

        And you as well. Good luck with the “real” writing…

  2. My husband loves Red Bull. I rank Red Bull breath right up there with morning breath. UGH.

  3. becca3416 says:

    I hear you bro. I hear you ;).

  4. rebecca2000 says:

    What? You mean if I look like a bouncing buffoon from downing drinks full of chemicals I am not more attractive to the opposite sex? Well hot damn… wait you said red bull not booze.

  5. Ink Pastries says:

    I’m convinced after my initial swallowing of a Red Bull on a road trip out of fear I’d fall asleep and kill my kids that Red Bull is liquid meth. It’s big business profiting from the wave of meth addiction in this country. Regardless to say, that shit will never touch my lips again if I can help it. I didn’t sleep that night in the motel and almost killed my kids anyway.

  6. twindaddy says:

    Sounds like an interesting weekend.

  7. Am I the only one who hates the tastes of Red Bull or anything of the sort? lol! I get wired with coffee, I couldn’t dare try anything else. I hope your book is going well, and you 🙂

  8. Ray's Mom says:

    Nothing more restoring to the soul than a loving wife, daughter, devoted fur covered ball of puppy love and an understanding father-in-law to end an exhausting day. Whew! How do you do it?

  9. leah says:

    Thanks for the recap! You have a Shih Tzu. How cute!

  10. With regards to #6, I thought the one requirement for the lovely ladies to star in adult films is to be devoid of intelligence. Have I been missing something here all along?!

    And with #5, I’d love to see the fellas gather up for the Extreme Knitting Challenge of Niagara Falls. That’s an event I would pay you money to write about.

    • The Hook says:

      But these young ladies were soooo clueless, they couldn’t even take the small amount of direction starring in an adult film requires!

      As for #5: if it happens you’ll be the first person I notify. I ‘d love to meet you!

      • Bahahah…unfortunately, it seems like its not at all that rare to come across such lack of common sense…which works really well for people with blogs 😛

        Witnessing such great amounts of stupidity and moronicness with the one and only Hook would be a hoot and a half.

  11. “I was home. And I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.”
    Sounds pretty good to me, my dear Hook..!
    Whilst watching the news on TV recently they showed the ice track with a few ‘fliers’ making their way down; scary…! However, I said. “K, come look; they’re showing that ice track in Niagara Falls, The Hook was talking about!”
    Even here in Oz you’re a ‘household name’….! 😉

  12. You had me cracking up with “Red Bull Crashed Shuffleboard,” sad for the cheapskates and your deflated tip jar, and warmed of heart that you are actually able to walk home … and then have all of the loves of your life waiting for you. What a nice ride that was to read!

  13. You’ve such a good heart Mr. Hook. Home is where the heart is … always.

  14. MissFourEyes says:

    This post makes me want to have lots of Red Bull! And then some more.

  15. mairedubhtx says:

    Sounds like Crashed Ice was quite the success. Now if they could just entice big tippers.

  16. susielindau says:

    I had my first Red Bull at 1:00 in the AM in LA and texted my kids, “Red Bull really does give you wings!”

  17. Coop says:

    I visited the Red Bulls Soccer Team office a few years ago, they have this giant cooler/refrigerator case that you find in a supermarket that can hold thousands of cans beverages… It was full of Red Bull products. They were drinking the stuff like it was going out of style. I can’t imagine functioning all hopped up on that stuff…

    Dealing with the ladies in #6 would have driven me insane.

  18. Fantastic lessons! If Red Bull comes back – I might have to visit 🙂 (But I will be sure to leave excellent tips! ^.^)

  19. dogear6 says:

    Sounds like the welcome home was the best anyone could want on any day!


  20. filledandfooled says:

    That stuff is no joke. But great with vodka.

  21. raisingdaisy says:

    It’s not for me, but I know a guy who LIVES on Red Bull. I imagine he’d be really dull without it….

  22. I have a son who hits things and doesn’t feel anything. It has nothing to do with Redbull or stupidity, though, he just runs into a lot of things.

  23. The Guat says:

    I love your lesson #10, but what I love even more is that your night ended with family and your dog. Very awesome my friend.

  24. Phil Gayle_For Singles and Couples says:

    Hi Rob,
    After crazy days that you’ve described, it must be such a relief to sign off, and go home to normality.
    The plus side being…your working hours must fly by when you have days like that. 🙂

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