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After hours of cold, boredom, sleeplessness—free hot & spicy wings!

March 26th, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Dani Hayes

LOGAN—It was a night of class struggle, defamation and anarchy—all for a year of free wings.

There really should be a sociological study done when huge restaurant franchises open, like Buffalo Wild Wings in Logan, especially when it offers something as tantalizing as free wings for a year to the first 100 people through the doors.


The Dedicated—What would you do for free Buffalo wings for a year? DANI HAYES photo

Logan’s BWW opened on a Monday, but the wing-lovers started camping out the Thursday before. I know, because I was there.

I wasn’t planning on camping out. At first, I was just helping some friends, holding the fort—er, tent—while they went to the Aggie basketball game. They bought me pizza and I sat in their tent, freezing, studying for a midterm. I had no intention of being there when the doors opened at 10 a.m. four days later. I had to work at 8 a.m., so it was out of the question.

While my friends were gone, more people came to set up their tents, in a panic because they didn’t expect others to be in line already. They said they were just driving and saw my tent, ran home, got their stuff and rushed back to BWW to claim their spot in line.

To some, this opening was a big deal, and so were the free wings.

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As the days passed, the appeal of free wings for a year grew, so I decided to stay and camp out with the rest of the crazies. I got work off and told Curtis Lundstrom, my friend who was the first in line, to bring me his extra tent. The wing wait was on.


TAVIN STUCKI hunkers in.

Saturday night wasn’t too bad, but it was freezing and I didn’t have a sleeping bag. The loud music from BWW blared until 3 a.m., and the restaurant’s lights never turned off. I had to work Sunday morning, but when I came back that evening for the final night’s vigil, I realized how much drama there actually was in the line—and I was a part of it.

You caused a bit of drama,” said Jeff Hofheins, one of my buddies who had been camping out since Friday.

Me?! I was cowed, annoyed and angry at the same time. I could feel the daggers from people staring at me. Tents wrapped around the building, and there seemed to be more than 100 people camping out for free buffalo wings. The atmosphere was thick with intensity and I didn’t realize the level of tension until that moment.

Why were people singling me out? How did anybody even know who I was? Oh, maybe because I was one of, maybe, five girls. Also, I did just come from my apartment, freshly bathed, wearing clean clothes. The people surrounding BWW looked worn and fatigued.

I stood out in the crowd and I then realized that people had been talking about me all day. “Where’s that one chick?” “Is she coming back?” “Does she expect her spot to be saved?”

I was starting to understand the coldness of the situation. Yet, even though I was talked about, other groups were a much bigger threat. Groups had formed. Groups talk. Groups take sides. As there were no rules set by BWW, a lot of the disorder came from who was here first.

“A lot of the drama has just been a lot of animosity of who got here first versus second,” Hofheins said. “A lot of people have put in a lot of time here and there are a lot of unwritten rules and everyone is going by different standards, so it’s just been a lot of confusion. No one wants to get gypped after sleeping in the cold for three days.”

“This is like an episode of Survivor,” he said.

Hofheins prepares himself for the worst—getting screwed out of his free wings. But he’s philosophical.

“In the end, I think I’ve definitely have had enough fun,” he said. “I got two free meals, had a good time, a good experience. If I don’t get in, yeah that will suck, but it was still fun.”

Others were more confident.


WE’RE No. 1!First in line (for three nights!) outside Buffalo Wild Wings.

“I don’t think there’s as much sociological/psychological crap as people think,” Lundstrom said. “I don’t think it’s as dramatic as people think.”

Granted, he’s got a blanket of security surrounding him. “I’m first,” Lundstrom said. “I’m not worried.”

He certainly was first in line, most people agreed. He was also probably the most excited person there. Lundstrom threw his fisted hands over his head, yelling, “Livin’ the dream!”

This was Sunday night, and rumors flew about was going to happen. We knew some big shots from BWW corporate HQ, and some managers were coming to organize that night. There were also rumors that bands were going to be playing for our entertainment, and that some Red Bull girls would be coming to give us free stuff. That never happened.

Around 9 p.m. the managers arrived. It was an exciting moment as we crowded around them, bombarding them with questions.

Here’s the plan, they told us: Everyone would get a “boat”—a paper bowls they use to serve wings. There would be random “roll calls” all through the night to collect stickers. You wanted as many stickers as possible to increase your chances of being counted among the Lucky 100. If we missed a roll call on account of being asleep or at a gas station, tough luck.

“I think the important thing here is to not leave,” Hofheins said. “Just don’t leave.”

Now there was a plan, but that didn’t take away the drama. One group in particular caused turmoil. My friend Kelton Wells did some digging and uncovered this group’s sneaky scheme to ensure their place in the 100.


TENTS wind around the block, as music blares through the night. DANI HAYES photo

“There was one person, a man, who went to the mangers when they came out for a smoking break,” Wells said. “They went off by themselves and he joined them. He was with them for about 5-10 minutes, just kind of talking with them. And then he left them and went to his group of friends, they all huddled under a tarp for probably another 3-4 minutes and then he emerged from the tarp with all of their boats stacked. And then he went inside with the two managers and they came back out with all the boats. Then a friend of mine was over by the group and saw a girl who had her boat out and she has the sticker that we all have plus an additional sticker.”

I look over at the group, about 10 people, and they are again huddled under the tarp.

“Something is obviously going on,” Wells said. And what makes it worse, “they are people who have not been here the whole time. “

This was unsettling. Lundstrom said he was going to do something about it—at the next roll call, he was going to talk to the managers, tell them his concerns and let them know he was first in line.

“I just went in there and said, ‘Hey, I know some guys came and talked with you, got an extra sticker because they’ve been here since Thursday,” Lundstrom said. “I am first in line with two other people and I didn’t get that sticker. Is it possible for us to get that sticker?’”

Lundstrom’s partners were Tavin Stucki and Kimbralee Winslow.

“It was kind of hard when he pulls me inside, so people obviously noticed but he gave us a sticker,” Lundstrom said. “I just wanted to have us three come in, to be discreet, not to raise suspicion, but once when Tavin was pulled in, people noticed and it was definitely not discreet.

“Now I’m sure that there are people out there who are not very happy, but you know what? I’ve been here since Thursday. We were first in line, and if anyone deserves it, it’s us. I don’t care if they hate on me.”

Winslow, one of the few other girls at the BWW vigil, had my back and got me an extra sticker, too.

From that point on, the operation ran pretty routinely. The managers would come over the loudspeakers and say, “Buffalo Wild Wings!! Let’s go!” That was our cue to scamper out of our tents, line up and get our stickers.

At the end of it, I collected nine stickers. Things were looking good.

HayesBWW027Twice between midnight and 3 a.m., we got to experience the Blazing Challenge. Twelve volunteers were selected for this torturous competition—eating 12 Blazing Wings (BWW’s hottest) in less than 6 minutes, without drinks or napkins.

These things are hot! When the wings were brought out for the competition, the spicy smell irritated eyes and noses within three yards. I handle spicy food pretty well, but the time I tried just one Blazing Wing, the sauce put me out for about 10 minutes.

12 Blazing Wings? No, thank you.

The 12 guys who did the challenge seemed to be in pain; some threw up. But it was a fun distraction from the sleepless, freezing night.

Everyone hit a wall at 3 a.m. All we wanted was to be warm and sleep, but that was impossible, and no one wanted to miss a roll call for stickers. The last waning hours—between 4 and 8 a.m.—were dreadful. There was no more fun. No more energy. We were frozen. Some said they were just going to get their free wing coupons and leave, not even bothering to eat at the grand opening at 10 a.m.

At those last roll calls, we were zombies. We piled out of our sleeping bags and tents; got in line, got a sticker in our boats and crawled back in our tents Just give me the sticker!

I was grateful that the annoying frat boys down the line had lost their fire around 2 a.m. What an obnoxious group. One evening, workers at BWW handed out yellow bracelets. One guy would hold up his arm the bracelet is one and yelled, “Friendship bracelets!” Then the rest of the group would ape him yelling “Friendship bracelets!” I didn’t know junior high girls enjoyed BWW enough to camp out. They knew I hated them, too, because of the stares of death I would shoot at them. I even over heard one of them say, “What’s with that redhead chick? She hates us.”

Yes. Yes, I do.

Finally, light began to appear behind the mountains, silhouetting them against the sky. That boosted our morale as we knew that we had conquered the last night and are now completely worthy of free Buffalo wings for a year.


WINGS FOR BREAKFAST! After the marathon vigil, devoted wing-waiters are rewarded. It’s all worth it. DANI HAYES photo

The zombies turned back into regular college kids, eager for BWW to open. Excitement grew with the daylight as the last stickers came out at 8 a.m., with instructions from a manager on how the opening was going to work.

There were 104 people in line, and everyone had worried about who the unlucky four would be. But the BWW managers announced that all 104 people would be eligible for the free wings. There was a sigh of relief and a few yelps for joy, but those of us who had been camping since Friday just stared. Was it worth it?

In the end, yes.

We packed up our stuff and formed a line to wait until the restaurant officially opened at 10 a.m. I weaseled to the front of the line with Lundstrom, Stucki and Winslow. They didn’t care, but I’m sure some people glared at that “one chick” who had caused the ruckus in the small society we created for the opening of Buffalo Wild Wings in Logan.

When the doors finally opened, I looked back and saw the frat boys glaring at me as I was one of the first in the restaurant.

I couldn’t care less.



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