Downtown Shot Put returns for another year

Downtown Shot Put returns for another year

One of our favorite downtown Lawrence events (okay, EVERY downtown Lawrence event is one of our favorites!) is back for the fifth year: the downtown shot put!

When we first started hearing about the possibility of a downtown shot put five years ago, we thought it sounded crazy. Professional throwers tossing heavy shot puts around in the middle of our downtown? Near buildings with glass windows? And tons of people around? We admit it, we were skeptical.
But then it happened, and it was SO COOL. Of course it was set up so that no one would get hurt and nothing would get broken. The community came out in full force to watch the spectacle, the athletes had a blast and everyone loved it.

Five years later, we still love it! And we’re thrilled that it’s on our block.

Join us on Friday, April 22, for this free event. The competition starts at 6 p.m. Six of the top-10 ranked throwers in the world will be participating this year.

But wait, there’s more!

Along with the shot put competition, there’s all kinds of family fun: prizes and giveaways, inflatables for the kids, and face painting. Food and drinks will be available for sale—including a hot dog topping bar from our friends across the street at Sandbar Subs—and a live music by the Brody Buster Band will follow the competition. (They’re playing on our St. Patrick’s Day float converted into a stage!)

Get downtown this Friday!

Downtown Shot Put 2015

The downtown shot put event is organized by eXplore Lawrence in conjunction with the Kansas Relays.

Bikes, Trains and Automobiles

It’s time for another bike-and-train expedition!

A few months ago, we told you about a fun excursion Peach put together with the Midland Railway—and several of our friends took us up on the offer. They carted their bikes to Baldwin City, where they caught the train for a ride on the historic Midland Railway, followed by a bike ride on the new Prairie Spirit Trail.

Well, now you have more opportunities to participate! There’s another ride this weekend, June 20.

Join the Midland Railroad at the Baldwin City Depot at 9 a.m. for a 22-mile round trip to Ottawa. Take your bike along, or not—you can hike if you prefer. The train will unload 1/2 mile north of the Prairie Spirit Trail and the Flint Hills Rail Trail. Ride as long as you want, just make sure you’re back at 3 p.m. to catch the train back to Baldwin City.

RSVP to either Peach at or to, or you can call 785.242.1411. The suggested donation is $10 to the Midland Railway Preservation Association.

And if you can’t make it this weekend, don’t worry. There will be opportunities again on July 18, August 15 and September 19, so mark your calendar!

Midland Rail

Lost and Found: Sandbar Shark Board

A few weeks ago, Dave celebrated his birthday with a fun night out on the town, taking in a show at the Lied Center, visiting fellow downtown bar John Brown Underground and then, of course, partying at the Sandbar into the early hours of the morning. He probably even danced on the bar.

It was a great birthday, until he realized that some joker had stolen the shark board photo-opp that resides outside the door.

Even worse, it happened right on our watch: the bar was open at the time, but the doorman (who will remain nameless) had stepped away and it was one of those rare times that no one was in line.

Sandbar shark board
Happy birthday, Dave.

The news spread quickly the next day, thanks to the power of social media. The local paper even covered the theft; our apologies to Sgt. Myrone Grady of the police department, who had the unfortunate task of responding to the LJW’s request for information about the shenanigans. We hope you have a good sense of humor, sir. If it makes you feel any better, I insisted that Dave file a police report; he seemed reluctant to report something seemingly so silly.

We drove the alleys of downtown Lawrence, hoping the thief was lazy enough to drop it off behind a dumpster, but no luck.

We hoped pictures would surface on Facebook; after all, the board’s pretty big and hard to hide, and what are you going to do with it, if not take pictures of it and with it? But nothing turned up.

Time passed, and we thought we’d never see our beloved board again. You probably don’t know this, but Dave and Justin, our art director-turned-bartender, toiled for hours creating that thing.

Then, one day, Phil, our sometimes-Friday bartender, texted Dave a picture and asked if we were missing something. Phil’s been pretty busy with his day job, so he was probably out of the loop on the goings-on at the bar. Apparently someone he knew had found the board on a country road and sent Phil a picture of it. (Minor correction to the LJW article: It wasn’t a friend of Dave’s who discovered it.)

Get this: on a country road near the Outhouse.

So, we’re assuming that thieves went on a joyride that night, looking for different entertainment than our little bar can provide, and the board either flew out of their vehicle on the bumpy road, or they realized they wouldn’t be able to show off their prize to anyone. Or maybe they just hate us, who knows.

But the good news is, we finally have the board back, and while it has some minor damage, it’s nothing that can’t be repaired. And this time, Dave said he’ll make sure it’s locked down whenever it’s on duty.

P.S. The recovery was big enough news that the LJW posted a follow-up story, and a Kansan reporter stopped by the bar to do a story on it, too, so watch for that one.

Roaming Gnome experiences an indoor hurricane

A couple weeks ago, we got word that the Roaming Gnome—a lawn ornament that some joker at Travelocity turned into a globe-trotting quasi-celebrity—would be visiting Lawrence for College GameDay with ESPN.

We get excited about pretty much anything that is 1.) silly, and 2.) an opportunity to take silly pictures, so we were thrilled to find out that the Sandbar made the cut as a stop on the Gnome’s itinerary.

So, on February 28, after spending part of the day on the KU campus followed by dinner at local favorite Free State Brewery, the Gnome and his handlers arrived at the Sandbar.

Of course he experienced everything we have to offer: a Shark Attack, a photo opp with the shark outside our door, dancing on the bar and an indoor hurricane, complete with napkins flying through the air.

Roaming Gnome enjoys a Shark Attack |

Roaming Gnome with Dave and Debbi |

Roaming Gnome poses with the shark at the Sandbar |

Roaming Gnome dons the mermaid costume |

Thanks, little buddy, for hanging out with us on a chilly Thursday night. We hope you had fun, come back soon!

The folks at Travelocity made this fun video recapping the Roaming Gnome’s time in Kansas. He also visited Wichita State University for their College GameDay appearance, which was the same day as KU’s.


Sandbar gets some love from former bartender Rob Riggle

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, or you’re very familiar with the Sandbar at all, you’ve probably heard the story by now:

Rob Riggle, famous comedian, actor, Marine and KU alumnus, tended bar here while he was going to school in the early 90’s.

We didn’t even know it until he told us– it was before Dave’s time here. You can read the story about how we found out here. (It’s worth the click. There’s a funny anecdote that you’ll probably never read anywhere else.)

Radio love

Rob Riggle's mark on the wall at the Sandbar | www.thesandbar.comAnyway, we were excited to hear Rob give us a great shoutout recently during an interview on 810 Sports radio show last week.

You can listen to the interview here. He mentions the Sandbar (and the Wheel) at around the 12:37 mark.

A recent visit

Rob was also back in town a few weeks ago for a KU basketball game, and after spending some time at the Wheel, he ventured our way.

He spent most of his evening behind the bar, but he took the time to leave his mark on the wall of the men’s room:


After signing the wall, he admitted to Dave that perhaps his message would have been better left in the ladies’ room instead. Probably.

While typically we paint over stuff people write on our walls (so please don’t do it!), we’re going to leave this one up. In fact, Dave’s already put a frame around it.

Happy birthday, Andrew!

AndrewToday is a very special day in Sandbarland– it's Andrew's birthday!

Our little boy is all grown up. From mopping the bar floors as a seven year old, to working the door as soon as he turned eighteen, to graduating from college not once but twice- time sure does fly by.

Now, he has an MBA and a grown-up job and a lovely fiancee.

But we'll always remember Andrew as a young boy, suspended in mid-air on a St. Patrick's Day float as a scuba diver. 

So next time you see him, wish him a happy birthday and buy him a shot!