HUSTISFORD, Wis. – This community of about 1,100 people about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee has its own claim to fame on New Year's Day.
"They got the Rose Bowl, and they got the Cotton Bowl. Well, we got the Toilet Bowl," said Phil Nehls, one of the founders of the 43rd annual event held Tuesday. "This is the biggest thing in Hustisford."
Begun as a pickup game of tackle football among friends to work off their New Year's hangovers, the event has grown into a communitywide fundraiser for the local fire department.
The highlight of the events Tuesday was a the parade, presided over this year by King Justin Perschke and Queen Bobbi Niemuth. They rode in a giant commode, ducking rolls of toilet paper lobbed at them.
The parade also included an ancient John Deere tractor dragging a case of Budweiser beer, its ornamental deer antlers serving as a perfect toilet paper holder. And there were Green Bay Packers backers who shaved their heads and then painted them to look like helmets.
"We come early to get front row seats," said Patty Herbst of Germantown, whose grandchildren 7-year-old MaKenna Sonnenburg and 6-year-old Richie Herbst sat on a snowbank to watch the parade, which was so short it went around its route twice.
After the parade, the crowd made its way to Fireman's Park, where two teams played football on a snow-covered field without benefit of helmets or pads.
Randy Peplinski scored the winning touchdown for the blue team, but not before nearly losing his drawers in an earlier tackle.
Laurie Kuehl, who stood on the sidelines, tried to explain the allure of the events by saying: "It's tradition. Hustisford's family, you know."
When someone suggested a similarity to dips taken by others each New Year's Day at several locations along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shoreline, Kuehl responded: "Now those people are crazy."