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Horn-E: Twenty-Two Questions

Horn-E is a hash songmaster. This brought us together, and even though we haven’t actually hashed or chugged beer together, we know each other. Now you’re about to meet him too.

E. "Horn-E" Foertsch

E. “Horn-E” Foertsch

E. “Horn-E” Foertsch is a Chicagoan through and through. Born there, lives there, hashes there. You know, he really ought to run for mayor! But back to hashing: Horn-E hashes with the Bushman Hash, Chicago Full Moon Hash, First Crack of the Moon Hash, Bare Hare and Hounds Hash, Thirstday Hash, Big Dog Hash, Second City Hash, and Chicago Hash. He’s been hashing for 23 years. He’s held every mismanagement position imaginable and some that aren’t. He founded a few hashes along the way: First Crack of the Moon (Chicago), Bushman (Chicago), and Bare Hare & Hounds (Indiana). He co-founded the Chicago Full Moon Hash and the (now-extinct) Windy City Hash.

So many hashers, American hashers especially, think haring live is the only way it’s done or ever has been done. This is one of the reasons I ask the hashers I interview about the hash traditions they come from. Here’s where Horn-E comes from:

Mixed or single-sex? Mixed.
Live hare or dead hare? Pre-laid trails.
A-to-A trails or A-to-B trails? A-to-A trails.

And singing? Here’s what Horn-E has to say about that: “Not when I first joined the Chicago Hash. It took years to get them going and now all of the hashes in Chicago sing to varying degrees depending on conditions and who is there.” Substitute “Okinawa” for “Chicago,” and I could have said the same thing!

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Horn-E, where was your first hash?

Chicago.

How did you find out about hashing?

A story in the newspaper.

How did you get your hash name?

I blow a long horn steer’s horn on trail and I drink out of one. Add that my first name is E. Yeah, really.

Did you have a hashing mentor?

No. Chicago was just a running club when I joined it. Full of yuppie runners. Most of the rugby founders moved on. My guess is not enough singing and hashing traditions. At my first away trip I ran into Ian Cumming and learned of the traditions of singing in hashing. I used to sing dirty songs some twenty years earlier in the Navy.

When & where was your first away hash?

Atlanta InterAm, 1985.

Where have you hashed?

Twenty countries: United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Trinidad, China (Hong Kong), Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali), Laos, New Zealand, Australia, India, Egypt, Cyprus, Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland. And nineteen states: California, Washington, Nevada, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Termes, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington D. C. I have also attended the last 12 Interhashes and 8 InterAms.

Is there any place you haven’t hashed but would like to?

The North Pole before it melts away.

Are there places you wouldn’t consider hashing?

Some countries run by tyrants or overrun with religious fanatics. Hashing is fun. Dodging bullets and troops isn’t.

Do you have any favorite haring techniques?

I want them to think, “What would Horn-E do?” and then don’t do it. I love good back checks. I love checks in virgin snow and laying a trail where they can’t follow footprints. I love a good loop.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

Short of the harriets I woke up with? Hmmm. Shavings, butt chugs, hmmm. Probably making so many friends all over the world. Some real great hash runs in mountains, jungles, and even some urban hashes.

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

Poison Ivy. Broken bones. Probably having an intestinal explosion from both ends after a Bangkok hash that put me in the hospital for three days.

What’s the most dangerous trail you’ve done?

I can think of three. One was climbing to the top of a rusted out bridge for a beer stop. The bridge was really rusted out and the fall would have been catastrophic. The other was the Trinidad River Run at InterAm where we jumped off a waterfall into a deep pool with sheer sides and then getting uncontrollably washed off the next one with people still below. Someone could have really gotten hurt here, but we all made it. Another was a Pittsburgh Anniversary Hash. We had a river crossing that was planned when the river was low. It wasn’t. Then Catwoman dislocated her shoulder just before the crossing. Myself and Dead Kennedys had to escort her across and I ended up grabbing her shorts and giving her a wedgie as we half dragged her across. Meanwhile hashers were stationed downstream in case anyone lost it.

What has been your most remarkable hashing experience?

My worldwide friends. The camaraderie I share with these people is absolutely fantastic.

If you could pick the location of a future Interhash, where would it be, and why?

Not the USA; too expensive and too many visa problems for the rest of the world. Not Perth or Australia for a long time. That one wasn’t what it could have been. We need an Australia break. I like Southeast Asia. South America or Africa would be great. More primitive good jungles. but it would have to be a peaceful area. Not Brussels. I’ll get shit for this, but I really don’t like their beer. Or at least all that I have tried. Of course, now that they bought Budweiser, their beer quality has gone up. :) Now I will get shit from Dr. PP.

What do you most love about hashing?

I really love the trail and the thrill of trying to work my way up from the back and find a check or two. I actually was the first one in a few weeks ago. For an old fart, that is very satisfying. And yes, I know it isn’t a race. Running off trail in the woods is great fun. Setting a hash where the pack gets caught good on all of my checks, etc. I love the good circles, but not those that get too out of control. They loose their sense of fun except for the crazy few. I love singing after a hash or on long bus rides. The camaraderie you have with hashers after sharing an adventure together.

What part of hashing could you do without, if anything?

Some hashers get too drunk and out of control and they aren’t as funny as they think they are. I know, I used to be one. Don’t like stupid drinking games like beer pong and tippy cup. Drink because you enjoy it. I also hate dirty tricks of which I have seen all too many from hashers who don’t seem to know what hashing is about.

Have your attitudes toward hashing or hashers changed over the years?

I love a lot of the ways Chicago area hashing has changed over the years. We are very welcoming now and I think I had a lot to do with that. But on the other side, there are all too many things about the area that just don’t belong in hashing. I continually have to work against that. I remember twenty years ago when most American women were very prudish. So many aren’t now and that is good. They are the first to take off their tops, etc. Hey, I like it. Hashing is politically incorrect.

Has hashing affected your personal or professional life, for good or ill?

No. I’m retired. I used to take a lot of videos and show then around the hash. Some were really hot. But this Internet has made that a dangerous thing. So many pictures end up on the Internet. Nudity needs to be definitely out unless the participants give permission. But even the drinking pictures can cost jobs if employers get ahold of them. We really don’t need to record every down-down.

Do you tell everyone you meet about the hash, or only people you think might become good hashers?

Almost everyone. I tell them what I like and think is fun and it is for them to decide if it is for them. But yes, some people I don’t feel need to know.

Are there certain things you believe all hashers should believe in?

Not hurting others or their hashes. Cooperation, coordination and camaraderie should be what it is about.

What do you think you’ve contributed to hashing?

Good will, welcoming, humor, starting hashes when they were hopefully needed, new songs, singing often, haring over 25 hashes a year. Bringing good will to the world of hashing and the locals I meet. I write over 100 hash trashes a year. Putting together an area hareline and keeping it up. International correspondence. Sending out welcoming messages to new hashers with an overview of area hashing.

What’s in your hashing future, Horn-E?

Hash as much as I can, help our area get together and work together for the betterment of local hashing and communal growth.

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