Like many minor-league teams, the CHL's Arizona Sundogs have to get creative in order to fill their arena. The latest innovation, as the Prescott Valley club strives to sell 800 season tickets this offseason: torture.
On Sunday, April 21, at noon, four members of the organization were hoisted 33 feet into the air on a scissor lift at the corner of the Prescott Highway, with no intention of coming down until they had sold 300 season tickets.
"We hope we can get it done quickly and move on to the next big project," Sundogs co-owner Brad Fain, one of the four brave souls, told the Prescott Valley Tribune before the stunt began.
That's, uh, not what happened.
By sunset on the first day, they'd sold 17 season tickets. Five days later, they're still up there, using a pulley system to raise food and lower waste, fighting off the elements, and praying for an end to their arduous ordeal.
Trapped in the lift since the Sabbath: the aforementioned Fain, General Manager Chris Presson, Sundogs team captain Jason Morgan, and Lew Ree, the team's marketing and public relations director. A word of the wise to Ree: use whatever time you have left trapped in a 5-by-8-foot box above the Arizona desert with your bosses to convince them you deserve to have a job when you next touch the ground.
But Thursday may be the group's final day in that sky prison. According to Sundogs' merchandise operations manager Satish Athelli, who has been providing updates on the four men from the safety of the sweet, sweet earth, they were only 31 season tickets away at noon. They just might be able to pull this off.
Provided the wind doesn't get them.
Arizona high desert winds picking up.Staff holding on to ezups .Banners are shredding.This must happen soon !!!
— Catfish Athelli (@Catfish_Athelli) April 25, 2013
Weathering the weather has been one of the major challenges of this adventure, be it the blistering heat of the day, the piercing chill of the night, or the blusters of Arizona in the spring.
They're exhausted. But their spirits are up, especially since the support grows the longer they're up there. From the Prescott Valley Tribune:
"People are honking, waving and cheering. They realize this looks like fun for the first three hours, but it is a sacrifice and we're doing this for a very good reason," he said. "When people come here, it encourages us to keep going."
Rees said having managing partner Brad Fain join in shows that unlike many franchises where owners are out of state and out of touch, the Sundogs' ownership is active and concerned.
"It is a good morning," Fain responded. "The sun is up, the wind has died down a bit. I appreciate the support of the community. We wanted to let the community know we're committed to it (keeping the Sundogs in Prescott Valley), but it takes an entire community to make this thing work."
If you're anywhere nearby, I think it's safe to say that these guys have earned your money.
s/t to Deadspin.