When five teenagers sat down and posed for a picture at Copco Lake in 1982, they didn’t plan on making it a tradition. But that’s what it became.
Every five years for the past three decades, John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney and John Molony have been meeting at the California lake and taking the same photo.
Though they tried a couple of poses, the one that would eventually win as the official vacation photo depicts the five teens, three of them shirtless, with shaggy hair typical of the time. They were about 19 years old.
The men never drank on the trip. It has always been good, clean fun. At least fairly clean: One year Wardlaw turned on the water to take a shower, and it was running brown. He removed the shower head to find a beef bullion cube.
Now, the friends also take the time to film the ordeal, and interview each other concerning the last five years’ events. The guys all agree that this trip has been the glue that has allowed them to maintain their friendships. “It’s kind of an organic relationship that’s evolved not just from being high school buddies but from having common passions for life,” Molony said.
Over the years, the friends have played parts in the milestones of each others’ lives, including being in each others’ weddings. “I look at the photos and think of the relationships I went through,” said Dickson. “Wedding rings come and go, if you look closely.”
From 1982 – 2012 (Every 5 years)