toilet bowl

From left, Melissa Kramer, Shannon Radl and Megan Firari give their all during the women’s tug of war contest at the 54th annual Toilet Bowl in Hustisford on New Year’s Day.

HUSTISFORD -- It might lack the pomp and pageantry of the Rose Bowl in California, but for the residents of the small Dodge County community of Hustisford it doesn't matter to them. They wouldn't change their biggest event of the year -- their annual Toilet Bowl.

"This is the biggest thing in Hustisford," said Phil Nehls, one of the event's founders. It was held Tuesday for the 54th time.

Nehls and his wife, Sherry, along with longtime friend Brian Cook, stood watching this year's parade and recalling those from years ago.

Cook said he and Nehls and some other friends came up with the concept for the annual Hustisford Toilet Bowl, which started as a pickup game of tackle football between two of the bars in the village. The tackle football game was discontinued a few years ago because of liability concerns.

Cook said the annual event was a fundraiser for the Hustisford Fire Department for many years and now is a fundraiser for the Hustisford Community Hall.

"These two were the king and queen of the annual parade," Cook said as he motioned to Phil and Sherry Nehls.

"It was really something back then," Sherry said down playing the couple's reign in 2006. "The crowds were huge. It's a fun community event."

Her husband said the same.

"People came out in droves. They still do," he said. "The street was almost white with toilet paper."

For many in this year's parade, the cruise through Hustisford's downtown was an onslaught as those who lined the streets armed with a seemingly endless supply of toilet tissue tossed rolls at passersby.

Following tradition, after the parade completed its first trip through the downtown, it circled again and again to give paradegoers another look and three opportunities at throwing more toilet tissue.

Rick Stenson, who moved from Milwaukee to Hustisford with his family, said it's their fifth time at the parade.

"The first time we came here we didn't know what to expect," he said as a roll of toilet paper sailed over his head. "The kids love throwing stuff so why not have a unique and fun event for the children and their parents to enjoy together. And no one gets in trouble for throwing the toilet paper. It's a great event. One of a kind."

That's exactly what Daryl Hundt wants to hear.

Hundt, who is a chairman of the Hustisford Toilet Bowl and serves on the board of directors for the Hustisford Community Hall, wants people to come out and enjoy the daylong festivities.

Hundt said no matter the weather, the event is held every New Year's Day.

"Last year, the weather was just too cold. I don't think we made it above zero. If we did it was in the single digits," he said. "This year the weather cooperated and we had lots of people lining the streets. I think today was a success."

He said he is trying to get more community groups involved like the Sinissippi Trail Hawks Snowmobile Club who were selling brats during the parade and the Hustisford Wrestling Club who helped with the cleanup of the toilet paper that covered the streets and sidewalks following the parade.

Hundt also mentioned the Hustisford Lions who served food in the Hustisford Community Hall.

"We just want to get more of our community involved and so far we are doing a good job," Hundt said.

Hustisford police Chief Dan Link said he enjoyed the festivities this year.

"The temperature was just right. It wasn't bitter cold like last year," he said. "It was a good time for everyone."

Last year before the parade kicked off at noon the temperature was minus 6 degrees. This year the temperature took a drastic swing and cleared the 20 degree mark, jumping to a balmy 22 degrees.

This year's Toilet Bowl king and queen were Jesse and Tami Bischoff and the runner-up couple was Kirk and Audra Miller.

"It's all in good fun," Jesse Bischoff said while watching the tug of war contest. "This is a fun event where you run into old friends and make new ones. It's a great way to start the new year."

Also on Tuesday there was a fire department water hose fight and a tug of war contest for both men and women's teams.

There was also live music indoors, along with food and drinks for those who wanted to mingle indoors at the Hustisford Community Hall.

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