Walk Down ROTR Memory Lane…edition 3

If you’ve been following my walk down Rock on the Range memory lane you’ll recall that the expansion in year two allowed the ROTR Party Crew the opportunity to throw an EPIC PRE-PARTY. Well the planning all fell into place in year three and I believe I’m still feeling the effects of it to this day. Well maybe not in a manner you might think, but I can tell you this much I have not had a Natural Light since that hot and steamy Friday morning, afternoon, evening, night and into Saturday morning.

Plans were laid out since the previous year that several members of the group would order the camping packages and we would set up shop near one another in order to have a centralized party area. The plan worked to perfection as we had six spots next to each other and had the party zone in the middle.

Miscellaneous photos of the 2009 ROTR Party Crew Pre-Party

We had a keg ordered and were going to take donations to help with the cost of holding the party and then donate whatever was left to a worthy charity (something we’ve done on several different occasions over the years). Unfortunately a wrench was thrown into that plan when someone decided to walk away with the money box. They must have needed it more than the charity.

We had our friends in X Factor 1 (three time performers at ROTR) signed up to do an acoustic set at the campground. There were small swimming pools, surprise boxes (gift boxes full of adult themed items), alcohol, alcohol and did I mention alcohol. The stage was set for an EPIC EVENT. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we were able to achieve that lofty height by the end of the night if not before XF1 played their acoustic set.

My weekend started out great after I decided that this would be the perfect time to get some use out of the camper that I had owned for eight years (only used five or six time times during that duration). I had driven home following the show the first year and got a hotel across the street from Crew Stadium (now Mapfre Stadium) during the second so I thought what the hell, let’s do the camping thing. I had several people who were going to be camping with me including Mimi (co-worker), Buttons (West Virginia) and Metal Man Dan (Philadelphia).

I had everything packed and ready to go Thursday night including three 30 packs of Natural Light. I went with quantity instead of quality and it taught me a valuable lesson, one that I have adhered to ever since.

Although I was all packed up and ready to go I still had the fear that my truck, which had over 200,000 miles on it and had a tendency to overheat, wouldn’t make the trip. I had planned for that however by stocking up several gallons of water and a gallon of anti-freeze. But ‘Old Blue’ came through with flying colors on the way down and nary was a drop needed until I got to Columbus.

I was the first crew member to arrive at the campground and after conversing with ‘G’ (Justin Griffin) over the phone, I was in charge of finding the camping/party area. Once I had chosen the lot I set up my camper and while doing so built up quite a thirst so I cracked open that first Natty Light. Being a regular Bud Light drinker, I thought I would cringe at the change but surprisingly it wasn’t horrible. I’m pretty sure the over 90 degree weather had something to do with it.

Anyway things went well with the setup and I was still the only member of the crew to be at the campground so I hooked up my stereo and cranked out the tunes while enjoying (I use that term loosely) a few more of those Natural Lights before the others started pulling in.

Slowly but surely the rest of the Party Crew began to pile in; and the party was on. Things picked up at a steady pace, with our dysfunctional family reunion growing by the minute. I missed out on the arrival of quite a few folks because Crystal and I had to go pick up Mimi and Rodd who had broken down along side of the road. Once we had Rodd’s vehicle to the shop we headed back to the party.

It’s hard to put a number on how many people had shown up by the time we got back but one thing was for sure, there were a boat load of people who were ready to do it up right. And for the most part we all had a great time.

In fact Big Rick (Griffin) and I had so much fun that by the time I went to bed (somewhere in the neighborhood of 2:30-3:00 a.m.), that quantity of Natural Light that I brought was gone. And we were the only two who were drinking them so if you’re good at math, you’ll understand why I haven’t had another Natty Light since that EPIC CAMPGROUND PARTY.

Another highlight of the night was the flag football game that the ladies of the group orchestrated. It was, to say the least, very entertaining, however somewhere in the midst of the contest (it could have been alcohol induced) the flag portion was thrown out the window and it became a contact endeavor. In and of itself wasn’t a big deal that is until a couple of the ladies were injured due to the fact that the game took place on blacktop and the very rough terrain surrounding it. Most notably among the casualties, was Stalker, who had a severe laceration to one of her toes. But she was a trooper as always and continued to have a good time.

Miscellaneous photos of the 2009 ROTR. All photos taken by Larry Ritter.

Needless to say I wasn’t much into drinking during the early part of Saturday but I was there front and center for X Factor 1 who ripped up the Jägermeister Stage. Halestorm, Hurt and Static-X followed them while Black Stone Cherry and Saliva opened up things on the main stage, setting up an outstanding day of rock entertainment which is always the case at Rock On The Range.

On this particular chilly overcast day Slipknot was the headliner and their performance was well worth fending off the crisp, coolness. Corey Taylor and gang did not disappoint as they melted faces with their hardcore rock and delighted the eye with their onstage antics.

Of course the bands that preceded the Iowa rockers to the stage weren’t too shabby either as Flyleaf, Chevelle, Korn and Alice In Chains led up to the Slipknot crescendo. I was also able to slip away to capture a little of Rev Theory, All That Remains and Atreyu on the second stage as well.

Still feeling the effects of the pre-party my alcohol consumption tailed off dramatically on Saturday but I was still able to muster enough strength to party back at the campground. There was one slight difference from the night before, I was back to drinking my Bud Light, despite the fact that I had another 30 pack of Natural Light, thanks to my Philadelphia brother, Metal Dan. Since it was a gift he said I could do with it what I wanted to, so I was generous and shared it with others, naturally!!

Among the other interesting happenings of the evening was the trip to the hospital by a crew member who’ll remain nameless (but his name sounds a lot like gate). His fiancé (Jes, who is now his wife) took great care of him and made the 2 hour trip south to pick him up. He did show his Buckeye pride in the hospital when he awoke by answering the nurse who had asked ‘If he knew where he was?’ with a loud reply of O-H!

Fortu(Nate)ly everything checked out for said member and he was released into his fiancé care and they made it back home with no more issues.

Sunday started off much better than it had 24 hours earlier, thanks, to my slightly lower consumption of adult beverages the night before.

I made the trek through the Harley-Davidson, Kicker Speakers and as well as other displays of the other vendor’s who were showing their wares.

Once the music started rolling the day went by pretty fast. Framing Hanley was a pleasant surprise showing a lot of energy on the second stage which also featured the likes of Cavo, Pop Evil, Sick Puppies and The Used.

Miscellaneous photos of the 2009 ROTR on Sunday. All photos taken by Larry Ritter.

It was the first time that I actually got to enter the photo pit at ROTR and I was able to get some wonderful shots of Sick Puppies as well as The Used.

Meanwhile the only band I was able to check out on the Jager stage was Clutch, and once again I walked away impressed.

Hoobastank was the opening act on the Main Stage with Saving Abel, Blue October, Shinedown, Buckcherry, Avenged Sevenfold and Motley Crue closing out the weekend lineup.

After the Crue had finished I grabbed a few shots of the what members of the Party Crew was left prior to heading back to the campground to have a few last brews, pack up a few things and then get a good night’s rest.

Well the first thing on the list was accomplished and in fact the few of us that were still around had a surprise visitor.

Myself, Rocco and Will at 2009 ROTR. Photo taken by David Heasley (aka Photo Dave).

Myself, Rocco and Will at 2009 ROTR. Photo taken by David Heasley (aka Photo Dave).

One of the last beers that were shared that weekend was given to a homeless man named Will, who ventured in looking for some spare change for coffee. Not only did he get money for his coffee he also received enough for several meals. He stuck around for about an hour, enjoying a burger and a brew while sharing his views on life with myself and Rocco. It was actually a highlight of my weekend and one that I will never forget. I’m not sure what Will is doing today, but I hope he found his way to success, because he in no way shape or form deserved the status he held at that time. Will disappeared as quickly as he arrived and I figured that was as good a time as any to head to the camper to go to sleep.

However that’s when things went awry once again just adding to what was already an EPIC weekend. At some point in the middle of the night my propane tank ran empty, turning what was a comfortable abode into a meat locker. Since I had guests who were using camper for the evening I had no extra blankets. Being the nice guy that I am, instead of stealing someone else’s blanket, I journeyed to my truck and took refuge there from the chilly night’s air.

After waking with a slight discomfort in my back, I helped clean up the camping area that we used and finished packing for my journey home.

As I left the campgrounds on that Monday morning I had three things on my mind; first I’ll never substitute Natural Light for any other beer again in my life. Secondly my camping days at ROTR were over, I promised myself to always have a hotel room somewhere because the camping part was way too much like work. And finally, I was hoping that ‘Old Blue’ was up to making the road trip back home because I also had Mimi and Rodd along for the ride due to Rodd’s automobile misfortunate on Friday.

To put a topper on a memorable three-and-a-half adventure, ‘Old Blue’ began to have troubles half way home, but found a way to fight through her issues and wound up making it to my driveway before finally overheating.

Although it wasn’t the perfect ending to the weekend at least I was home. And after a few days of recovery I was back at it along with the rest of the crew, planning for ROTR 4.

Until next time this is Big L saying ‘keep those horns up and rock on’!! \m/ \m/





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Larry Ritter About Larry Ritter

Hello my name is Larry Ritter, or “Big L” to most of my friends. I’m a production supervisor for a major manufacturer of auto parts here in northwest Ohio. I received an Associate’s degree from Owen’s Community College where I graduated cum laude honors. I have a true passion for music, sports, photography and riding motorcycles. My love for these things are surpassed by just one thing, family, which includes two sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.

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