LEGEND OF THE FAT BOY
As told by Ben Cherbonnier and Don Phelps.
It all began in the late seventies at a north Baton Rouge Catholic high school called Redemptorist. You may remember they were quite good at playing basketball in north Baton Rouge.
At this particular time, there was a player there by the name of Howard Carter. Howard started for Redemptorist for four years and later on played at LSU and in the pros, but Howard looked more like a line backer than a basketball player. He was about 6’4” and weighed about 250-280 pounds and had legs like tree trunks.
Well, Redemptorist goes to play a central Louisiana team kind of out in the country. They did not know much about Howard Carter and during the warm up before the game there was a man in the stands that kept hollering and trying to taunt Howard by saying “Hey, Fat Boys can’t play basketball. Fat Boys can’t play basketball.” Well, Howard being a quiet fellow, just continued to warm up. To make this long story short. Howard went out and scored 56 points against that central Louisiana basketball team. The moral of the story is:
Fat Boys aren’t always what they appear to be...
It was back in the early 80’s when a group of Baton Rouge runners, led by Jim Wansley, who has since moved to Tennessee, would see one of their friends at a race and call out “Hey, fat boy!” as a friendly hello. As time went on, there was a small group of runners, all friends of Jim, began calling themselves the Fat Boy Running Club. A few of the Fat Boy Running Club charter members, namely Jim Wansley, Don Phelps, Pat Rogers, Lewis Farmer and Ben Cherbonnier, ran together several times a week in the University Acres subdivision.
While running, the topic of discussion for a couple of years was to put on a 5K that would be most of all fun. It would also have a low entry fee, give awards 5 deep, and have lots of food and drink. To be sure that no one would think the Fat Boys were too serious, there were going to be doughnuts and chocolate milk at the race. The Fat Boys also wanted runners, that had never received a running award, to have a chance to walk up in front of the crowd and get a big horse show ribbon.
The first Fat Boy 5k was held in 1985-ish (Fat Boys don’t keep great records), and as the years went on it continued to grow bigger and better. The team competition was added along with lots of door prizes. The Fat Boys knew they had hit the big times when the port-a-potty count went up to 10. Manda Brothers was the first sponsor, furnishing the sausage po-boys. Other food and drink items have been added such as beer, from Mockler Beverage, which is served across the street from the school in Tom Campbell’s front yard to satisfy the no alcohol restriction on school property. Coca Cola provided the soft drinks and Moon Pies were added a few years ago. The Fat Boys also have a few bananas and some Powerade on hand for the hard core running nut cases.
Last year the Fat Boys consumed 70 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, 15 gallons of Kleinpeter fully leaded chocolate milk, 1000 Manda Po boys, 6 kegs of Mockler Beverage beer , 750 Moon Pies and enough Coke products to float a boat... And yes, we also had a few dozen bananas for those not so fat boys.