Throwback Thursday – How to Eat $2000 of Sushi!

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Although I shared this post almost three years ago, Calvin Hayes has a birthday today, and it’s time to bring it out of the archives! As Calvin sits in his office admiring the “World Sushi Federation” Belt hanging on the wall, which he won fair and square, I want him to remember a little of the pain that followed. Besides laughing until my sides hurt, I couldn’t eat sushi for month. Not only that, but my Dad was present for the whole thing and it’s hard when you’ve been humiliated in front of one of your parents! LOL

So, Mr. Hayes – Happy Birthday! You share a pretty special seat of honor on Memory Lane, especially when it comes to moments defined as the most fun I could never do again!  Over the years you’ve always been there to help with virtually any project that came along.  You’ve always given back! There’s no question, I miss the old days, but that’s the fun of Throwback Thursday – it brings them all back.

And for those of you relatively new to the industry – the best thing about being a photographer has little to do with imaging, but the friendships you make that come out of everyone’s love for the craft. Nothing beats a Throwback Thursday image that makes you laugh out loud! So, take the time today and look for those old images that make you laugh, smile and reflect back to the pure joy of being an artist and part of an amazing industry!

Happy Throwback Thursday!


To this day I don’t know how it started, but it was in the 90’s and AOL was pretty much the only forum photographers were active in. For some reason, in the Kodak Chatroom, Tony Corbell and I were challenged by Wendy Saunders and Calvin Hayes to see who could eat the most sushi. The trash talk went on for months.

That year, the PPA convention was in Orlando and that’s where these extensive crimes against all creatures from the sea took place. Now, if you know Tony Corbell or me, you know neither of us ever do anything just halfway! So prior to the event, we prepared…

  • I bought us matching Yukatas, Japanese style bathrobes, so we could look the part.
  • Tony and I spent hours in a trophy shop designing the belts for the first “World Sushi Federation (WSF) Texas Death Match”. You name it, if the shop had something to do with trophies for fishing, it wound up on our belts.
  • At a flea market I bought a pool cue in a professional looking black case. I remember giving the cue to a ten year old kid walking by and keeping the case. The case was then filled with different styles of chopsticks all held in with Velcro and included a supply of Pepto Bismol.
  • We talked Ed Pierce into being the official judge. It was his job to moderate the event.
That night, Tony and I, just like the goofballs of professional wrestling, came into the restaurant carrying our championship belts over our heads in our Yukatas. There were probably a dozen people who joined us for dinner, but it was really Wendy, Calvin, Tony and I who ran up the tab.

I remember eating for what seemed like an eternity, when Tony turned to Wendy and asked, “Honestly, how much more can you eat?”

She looked him straight in the eye and said, “At least a couple more orders!”

I looked at Tony, he looked at me, we were both turning green… we threw in the towel! At that point we were coming up on 63 pieces each. We had to give up our belts and to this day, every time I see Calvin he reminds me that the belt is hanging in his office!

As with every Throwback Thursday post, there’s always a point or two. First, get photographs from those special events that help create the memories in your life with friends/associates at each workshop and convention you attend. Second, print them…if these were just on a jump drive somewhere, I never would have found them. Third, there’s an incredible value to the friends in your network and they’re part of your life to help you make those memories, regardless of whether it’s for work or play. Just appreciate them.

And yes, the final check did come to just under $2000, but Wendy and Calvin were both spokespeople for Hasselblad and most of the guests that night all had something to do with supporting our marketing efforts. So we rationalized and decided it was part of sponsorship. LOL

Just for the record, my Dad joined us that night and I remember heading back to the hotel and he looked at me and said, “Wow…business in your industry is a lot tougher today than it was for me. All I had to do was learn to play golf!” 

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