More like a cereal bowl than a grail, the bowl held 23 little plastic baggies. Each contained a glistening bud and was marked with nothing but a letter. Apparently the names had been changed to protect the innocent. In reality there wasn’t an innocent face to be seen.
My job, if I chose to accept it, was to consume each entry in whatever fashion I decided, and pick a winner. I was provided with all of the equipment I would need. Rolling papers, a lighter, a magnifying glass and even my own commemorative TB2 glass pipe, complete with alcohol and cotton swabs to clean it. But having spent several years in the field, I knew that if I was to accomplish this, I had to travel light and could only rely on my own time-tested equipment. My grinder, a pack of vogue papers and a new Bic would be all that I would need.
As the task at hand loomed, I couldn’t help but reflect back on previous battles. I remembered the many skirmishes with Barge in Amsterdam, where we chased down 22 coffeeshops in six hours, or the Australian Campaigns, when we smoked 52 strains in one night. And the early days in Montreal trenches, when the harsh bud nearly ripped our throats out.
As I looked around at these 200 warriors, I knew that some of them would not be coming back, and that all of us would be changed by the experience forever.
As I lay in my hotel room, the ceiling fan beat a drone like a nark’s helicopter. The bud bags were strewn across the bed. All I wanted was a mission. Every minute I stayed there I got weaker and the ganja got stronger? hey wait a second, that wasn’t me, that was Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. Sorry about that.
In reality, I was surrounded by 200 happy judges from all over the world and over the next 72 hours, we would consume 22 pounds of bud that would make you drool.
Because the entries were labeled alphabetically, our conversations came to be reduced to single syllables. Should an outsider have walked in on us, they may have thought we were smoking horse tranquilizers or something. For three days all you’d hear when someone passed you a joint was “M,” or “R.” Sometimes the succession of joints actually spelled out words. We got almost all of the way through “Prohibition’s Fucked” before we all drifted off after the third I.
The last day of the bowl was spent at a big restaurant whittling it down to the final winners. Now through a distinct smoky haze, the alphabet was being uttered with some sort of conviction. Tally sheets were filled with all sorts of remarks and pictures. People teamed up in pairs and in groups. Some smoked them all in a row, others had spread it out over the days. Everyone had his or her own method. But I wondered, “how the H are this bunch of F’ing stoners going to be able to pick a winner?”
As Marc added up the results I circulated through the room. The picks now were in fact being narrowed down. I was hearing much less diversity and oddly enough, none of them were vowels. There were H, R and Q’s aplenty, but not an A, E, I, O, U or even sometimes a Y in sight.
I attribute a lot of this to personalized license plates and electronic messaging. But I also blame Vanna White. Perhaps this is evidence that the world is finally sick of having to pay for their vowels. At any rate, this weekend the consonants ruled.
H was the winner and is a local favorite called Rene that was entered by BubbleMan. His entry was excellent and was combined with a pretty good promotional campaign involving a vaporizer called The Volcano. After a hit from that you were unable to do much but breathe out the letter H.
Second place went to Great White Shark entered by Lizard, and third to Blueberry from our good friend PW, who had supplied all the buds to some of our earlier CC pot parties.
Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who entered. The buds were some of the best I’ve smoked at the many competitions around the world. Just about all of them were clean burning, really frosty and full flavored. My personal favorite was the Blueberry. There’s something special about its sweet fruitiness and the clear, up stone you get. When smoked, you can easily see why it always finishes at the top of these competitions.
R was another stellar entry ? a Mighty Mite x Dutch Treat that easily had the best smell and taste. Why it didn’t place higher on that day, I can’t remember. The rest of the list included a remarkable pedigree of marijuana genetics with strains like Chronic, Shiskaberry, Blue God, Honeypot, Burmese x Fucking Incredible, Hashplant, Five-O, Sweet Tooth, Ultimate Indica, NL x Blueberry, and Champagne, along with a number of locally named buds.
Thai, one of my long time favorites, was the lone Sativa entry in this field of mostly Indicas. In most places, pure Sativas generally soar above the rest, but this weekend it finished dead last. Can’t blame Vanna for this one, as it was entry N. I did smoke a bag of it when it came in to be entered and it wasn’t the best example I’ve seen from that grower. Next year I would like to see more Sativas in the mix, but who wouldn’t? But hey, you can’t be doing bad if you have 22 strains to smoke that are better than Thai.
One of the best things that I’ve come to look for at these events is the guy who brings his own bag of weed. If you can pull out what you brought, with 20 pounds of AAA around you, this is a person who I want to sit next to. There was some Sweet Skunk, Juicy Fruit and several kinds of bubblehash floating around all weekend, that were absolutely stunning.
When the smoke cleared, The Tokers’ Bowl 2 was a blast. And you can bet TB3 will be even more fun people, good food, and lots of fabulous smoke. This is not something to be missed and everyone should try to attend next year.
If not, O have I got some A and E for U!
* 2004 Tokers’ Bowl 3: email in[email protected]; web www.tokersbowl.com
* Watch the Tokers’ Bowl on Pot-TV: www.pot-tv.net/shows/2006.html
* Watch Marijuana Man rip the lid off the Tokers’ Bowl on Pot-TV: www.pot-tv.net/shows/1982.html
* Tokers’ Bowl coverage on CBC: www.pot-tv.net/shows/1971.html
SPECIAL EARLY-BIRD OFFER! Send in your payment before December 1, 2003 and save $75 off your entry fee. See www.tokersbowl.com for details.