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Capt. Mooselips sails into Twinkie history

"POULSBO - What do you do with 2,410 Twinkies? Ask Paul Dudley of Poulsbo. Twenty-two years ago, Dudley started collecting a Twinkie here and a Twinkie there from kids as he ferried the Camp Fire girls and boys across the Puget Sound from Seattle to Vashon Island. It all started very innocently for Capt. Mooselips one summer while he was joking around and checking out campers lunch boxes enroute to Camp Sealth. Spying a Twinkie, he informed the young owner that he could take the helm of Daboata the following year - provided he had another Twinkie for him. The next year, he did, with Mooselips' name on it. But so did a lot of the other campers. The sweet-tasting tradition was born. Dudley started tallying the treats collected each summer in 1997. Since then, approximately 7,000 Twinkies have come aboard Daboata. With so many hungry kids around, an accurate count of how many have actually left the ship was unavailable. Breaking the 2,000 Twinkie mark in one summer has always been a goal for the kids, the Argosy Cruises captain explained. Nonetheless, with three trips left in the season, the record was smooshed Thursday when 312 campers bearing an unbelievable 692 Twinkies brought the annual count to 2,410. It was the all-time record, Dudley said of the daily collection. The previous was a mere 470 Twinkies. We had a few Ding Dongs in there but we did break the mythical 2000 count for the summer. It used to be that the kids would bring a couple here and a couple there, Dudley added. I'm thinking that this is like the Cal Ripken record. This was almost 200 more Twinkies than 1997 record (of 598). It's kind of like buying a winning lottery ticket. So, what do you do with them all? Dudley said while a lot of the Twinkies are sent off to camp with the kids, many are given away during the various contests that have become par for the course during the two-hour boat journey. We do random stuff, like jokes and games, for Twinkies. During some songs we just fire them out from the wheel house at the kids, he said laughing. Twinkie filling is used as war paint and everything from hats to necklaces are made from boxes and the treats themselves. I've always been involved with the camp, Dudley said. We've always tried to make the two-hour boat ride fun for the kids. When asked about the Mooselips handle, the captain simply chuckled and explained, It's a long story. You'd really have to come to camp to understand it completely. "

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