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Ponds that Aren’t Ponds and Other Rodeos

Social Media Intern Luke Phillips has given us the behind the scenes look at his Ford sponsored trip to Minnesota of all the happenings that were left on the cutting room floor. Today we’re bringing your Part 3 of the 4 Part series. If you missed them, the trailer can be viewed here, and the full pond hockey webisode is available as well.

If you’d like to brush up on the previous happenings of the trips, check out Part One and Part Two of the series.

Ponds that Aren’t Ponds and Other Rodeos

Four hours of sleep wasn’t ideal, but knowing that we’d be in Minnesota playing hockey in just a few hours made it bearable.

The Iowa Game of self-entertainment lingered long enough to keep us laughing. One responsibility of the film crew was to record the navigation system in action, so the lonely Iowa roads seemed a perfect place for it. If you’re picturing an Explorer cruising down the road with one of these two celebrities hanging out a sunroof holding a very expensive camera, you must have seen us. The crew couldn’t settle on a good place to set the camera to record the screen. The cameraman finally kneeled on the console between the front seats, put half of his body through the sunroof, and pointed the camera down. The man who drove past us during this looked very perplexed and sped away. Still don’t know why he was driving a police car.

Our excitement about getting on the frozen pond climbed as we approached the Minnesota border. Unfortunately, so did the temperature. Mile by mile, the thermometer crept closer to 40 degrees than 30. Science was never our strong subject, but we remembered that it’s hard to play hockey on ponds above 32 degrees. As we got closer to Minneapolis, the temperature still hung around the high 40s. And, I didn’t pack any skis.

Miami, Minnesota

Ford did its due diligence in finding a pond for us. When we arrived at our temporary ‘barn,’ we were surprised to find that it wasn’t really a pond – at all. It was in the backyard of a very gracious man, who agreed to let Ford set up shop at his house for a few days.

Just as someone in Texas would have a pool in his backyard, Mr. Mork had a self-sufficient hockey rink in his. Complete with its own water pumping system, this was a fully functional ice rink, without the roof and Zamboni. His home backed up to a wooded area, creating a totally private setting. Surrounded in snow, Mork’s pond was picturesque in every sense of the word. So picturesque in fact, that a local artist named Terrence Fogarty painted the scene. Yes, it looked exactly like that. Absolutely incredible.  If I had that in my backyard, I wouldn’t need the house.Luke Phillips, Mork, Morks Pond, Pond Hockey, Minnesota - Ponds that aren't ponds and other rodeos

Because the pond wasn’t really a pond, there was no risk of falling in if the ice cracked. While that alleviated one of my concerns about the temperature, we still had the ice to deal with. Playing hockey in Texas, I know that the quality of ice is directly tied to the temperature of the air around it. Not everyone is aware of this, however, as one of the mall rinks in Dallas is right beside a main entrance – with a wall of windows and skylights. That wasn’t such a good idea. The rink is not-so-lovingly called the ‘Swamp’ by locals. Luckily, the ice at Mork’s Pond wasn’t subject to the Texas heat and held up long enough for us to do what we do best: pretend we are good at hockey.

The Barn on the Water

Naturally, as soon as our hockey bags were pulled out of the Explorer, the chirping began.

“I’m going bar down,” David declared.

“You should be more concerned with your ankles scraping the ice,” I told him.

Shane had never really played hockey before, so he caught most of the “you’re going to eat it” flak. Tim declared that it was Shane’s “first rodeo,” which created a laugh. Based on the feedback, Tim decided to keep the gag running the rest of the trip, making sure to involve everyone. Missing a shot was met with, “Is this your first rodeo?” Forgetting to charge your phone was also met with, “Is this your first rodeo?” Jokes are his strong suit, they’re just never funny.

We quickly made the pond our own, declaring bar down shots and sending them into the woods, trying to hit each other and completely whiffing, and generally ignoring all of Puff Daddy’s requests/orders. Things got really interesting when it was time to start filming. Because this was a big-ticket production, the cameras were top notch. Apparently, the only way to properly film pond hockey action using a half-million dollar camera is to place it right beside the nets. If you wanted to destroy $500,000, hitting that camera with a hockey puck would be faster than burning the cash. As if that wasn’t enough, it was also necessary to tape a camera to one of my hockey sticks. Suddenly, I was tasked with not destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of nice things. They obviously didn’t interview my mother before all this.

The boards you saw in the painting of Mork’s Pond were not set up, meaning we were playing pond hockey au naturel. We had to follow pucks with our eyes as they flew off the rink and into the snow, otherwise we’d never find them again. Whenever a puck went into the snow, the conversation immediately shifted to:

“I’m not getting it.”

“You missed the net, you get it.”

“It was a bad pass, not my fault! You get it!”

The old rule of Hit’er Get’er was implemented, so whoever touched the puck last had to retrieve it. Taking that – and avoiding the cameras – into consideration, there weren’t too many reckless shots taken. While it was difficult to dig the pucks out of the Minnesota snow, it sure beat the St. Louis alternative where the puck usually landed in the back pocket of a large multi-national corporation ditching town.

The Hills Are Alive

As the day drew on, Puff Daddy had us run several ‘plays’ to help tie the story up on film. At this point, several of us had microphones inside our hoodies so they could add the audio in the editing process. That was hard to remember since I’ve never lived my life with a microphone. I was more worried about breaking the thing. At one point, after Puff Daddy had told us to take a faceoff for the 9th time in a row, several of us muttered our frustration to each other with colorful language, which was immediately met with a voice from the other side of the pond, “You all have microphones on. Remember?”

Yet another Hollywood flub. Unbeknownst to us, a surprise guest was stumbling down the hill…

The final chapter of the Ford pond hockey adventure has been posted, as Luke and the guys meet their mystery guest. Find out more by following WrightIMC on Twitter, or you can head over to Ford Explorer and WrightIMC’s Facebook page.

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