2012 TriTrog Grotto Awards Revealed

Much like Hollywood’s Oscars, February is the time to
officially announce the awards for the previous year, at least for those who
missed the Bodacious Red Carpet (worn as a Santa hat) affair known as the
Annual Triangle Troglodytes Holiday Party.  
       At last night’s
meeting we finally got to give the final 2 awards in person to the esteemed
victim, I mean honoree.     
     And so with
further ado, and for anyone who missed them or wants to relive them, the 2012
TriTrog Grotto Awards ! !   :  
1)  Carlin, Jacob,
Ava, and Ken were standing outside a gas station at midnight, almost to the
Fall VAR.  The convenience store lights
went out, but we were still a member short. 
The front door was locked so we weren’t sure about our driver who was
still in the bathroom.  A minute or two
later the remaining TriTrog emerged, found an attendant, and escaped the
building.  Because she remembered to
carry her headlamp into the bathroom, we award Diana Gietl- for being prepared
for any bathroom situation, the
 Most Well Equipped
Caver Award
The Triangle Troglodytes, 
 A Distinguished and
Official Grotto of the
National Speleological Society 
Do Hereby Present 
This Honorable and Facetious  
Actual Award to
Diana Gietl
For carrying a backup light into even the darkest of
Convenience Store Bathrooms, above and beyond the call of Duty.   Or whatever she was doing in there. 
Presented this day, December 1, 2012, just before the Mayan
World Ended.
___________L. Gaga______________         
 2) The next award goes to a sharp pair of individuals whose
exploits go to Infiniti and beyond. 2 Guys who really held it together, with
duct tape and super glue, and kept our first aid supplies from going stale, we
honor Martin Groenewegen for slicing his finger while preparing dinner and Rob
Harris for smashing his digit in his own car door.  To the pair, we give the [hold up right fists]
Two Thumbs Off award.  Close the doors
gently!  For skewering their hands we
  Two Thumbs Off Award
The Triangle Troglodytes,
A Distinguished and Official Grotto of the 
National Speleological Society
Do Hereby Present
This Honorable and Facetious 
Actual Award to 
Martin Groenewegen and Rob Harris 
for attacking their own hands with ordinary everyday objects
in the heretofore safe zones known as “camp.”  
Presented this day, December 1, 2012, just before the Mayan
World Ended. 
___________L. Jack Horner________________  
 3)  Our local
Brewme-aster, I mean webmaster, was implicated in our punniest award.  He smuggled beer bottles out of Germany and
brought them expertly re-filled to western Virginia for us to imbibe.  To Mike Broome we raise our glasses in
tribute to his Pint of No Return.  We
hope that the next draught on tap is the map of Copenhaver’s. 
Pint of No Return Award 
Mike “Brew-man” Broome
 for expertly and
bravely recycling beer bottles smuggled from East Germany and with improved
contents to share among TriTrogs. 
4) This next person is never Aiken to get out of the
caves.  He’ll just drum and sing with a
sub-lime voice while he’s waiting for Ken to sketch or Carlin to take
photos.  Therefore, we honor Jacob
Jackson with the American Cave Idol award.
American Cave Idol Award
Jacob Jackson 
for his sub-lime (stone) crooning.  He knows how to idle away the slow times.
5)  Our Youth Group
Leader award goes to an individual who would teach young people many phrases
they’ve never heard before while traveling underground.  The award goes to Martin Groenewegen for his
colorful language in tight spots.
Youth Group Leadership Award
Martin Groenewegen 
for his colorful, multi hued, spectrally enhanced language
in the face of scary youth.   “Damn,
we’re in a tight
6)  Is a cave
conservation trip about the laborers hauling buckets of gravel a half mile into
the cave?  Apparently not.  At Grand Caverns, the reporters and
photographers flock to Bithika Khargharia. 
So for Bithika, we award the  
 Seeking the
Lime(stone) Light Award
Bithika Khargharia 
for seeking the Lime(stone) Light and wowing the reporters
at Grand Caverns Cave Conservation Weekend.  
It was a rocking good time and buckets of fun.  
Presented this day, December 1, 2012, just before the Mayan
World Ended.


7)  You may have
thought that our little oompah loompah deserves a tribute to salamander
obsession.  However, Ava Pope (in trailer
park fashion) was responsible for organizing a unique event this past
year.  We’d like to thank her for
creating an opportunity for the TriTrogs to meet the world famous Roger
Brucker…’s poodles…and his wife.  For
this, we’re awarding Ava with the Dog and Pony Show award.
Dog and Pony Show
 Ava Pope
for arranging for the TriTrogs to meet Roger Brucker’s
poodles.  And tour their fabulous home on
wheels, packed with enough spare room to make Cold Sink crawls seem
Spacious.  Where will the dogs ride?
8)  Only one TriTrog
took enough risks at Convention to earn the next award.  In fact, his entire tent blew away and is
still missing so we’re honoring Rob Harris with the High Stakes Award. 
High Stakes Award 

Rob Harris
for his tent which was (and still is for all we know) Flying
High at the 2012 NSS Convention.  There’s
no place like home (left) for your ruby red cave boots. 
Presented this day, December 1, 2012, just before the Mayan
World Ended.
___________Guy Weyer______Dorothy Gale__________ 


9) Our next award is for the Animal Lover.  You may think we picked him for such a great
presentation on cave biology, but that’s not it.  You may think it’s because he talked the
TriTrogs into working at BugFest, but that’s not it.  You may think it’s because he’ll sit for an
hour observing cave flies, but that’s not it. 
We’re giving Pete Hertl the Animal Lover award because he invites
TriTrogs over to his place every night at dusk to feed his pets…the
Animal Lover Award
Peter Hertl
for bringing TriTrogs home to feed his pet mosquitoes.  All 18,379,932,437,741 of them. 
Presented this day, December 1, 2012, just before the Mayan
World Ended.
Signed     _____K. T_.Didd________________
10)  After a caving
trip, other party members look at me and say “I’ve got to clean my
face.” I know what that means. Another grotto member seems to elicit the
same comments. The face is marked by a stripe across the forehead creating a
sort of unibrow. Hence the moniker Oompah Loompah has been shared with her to
denote the menacing look she takes on. From the TriTrogs, we’d like to award
German-speaking Ava ‘the Cava’ Pope with
The Burrowed Frau Award 

Ava ‘the Cava’ Pope
for her muddy unibrow. 
Gotta hand it to her- a baby wipe that is.


11) We do joke about the single-minded determination of one
grotto member and the fact that he drags other people into his obsession. Drag
is the appropriate word, but I think that everyone here recognizes that it’s an
accomplishment to lead up a major cave survey effort.  In a cave where most of the survey stations
are less than two feet from the floor, we really are impressed that Carlin
Kartchner has convinced so many people to survey more than 4300 feet of passage
in Cold Sink Cave in less than a year. 
For his accomplishment, we offer the : 
Motivational Speaker Award
Carlin Kartchner
for leading the 2011-2012 major cave survey into Cold Sink
Cave.  It’s a dirty job, but everybody’s
got to do it.   How about this weekend? 
Presented this day, December 1, 2012, just before the Mayan
World Ended.
________Sir Faye Statience
12) And Finally, a true honor, which sets the joking
        One morning at
Fall VAR Tanya McLaughlin wandered bleary-eyed up to the TriTrog camp,
complaining of someone yelling drunkenly outside her tent all night
long.  Four weeks later Carlin rounded up
Cold Sink victims, and the shouter joined the surveyors.  Tanya recognized the voice but still
graciously offered up her home as a place to sleep on a cold night.  They got along well when all were sober.  This is just one recent example of the
generosity that Tanya has shown in the caving community.
       Tanya joined
the TriTrogs back in 1990. She was the first person to say “I’ll run for office
if you pay my dues” and get a free membership paid for by Nadi Findikli.  For years she served as a TriTrog officer. 
     When she was
nearing retirement, the VSS was looking for a county director for Smyth County
in Virginia.  The files contained just a
few cave maps back then, but Tanya has added more than two dozen maps to the
files.  When Tanya moved to Marion in
2002, she actively began seeking out new landowners and became known as the
“Cave Lady of Smyth County.” 
She has also played a key role in planning many of our conservation
trips.  The TriTrogs have never been
short of new cave to explore since Tanya started her role as the county
director for the VSS, and she has always offered us a place to stay.
      For these and so
many other things, the TriTrog officers bestowed upon Tanya McLaughlin a very
unique and completely serious award. 
Tanya was granted Lifetime membership for her lifetime achievement in
making the TriTrogs a successful grotto.
Lifetime Achievement Award 
The Triangle Troglodytes,
A Distinguished and Official Grotto of the  
National Speleological Society 
Do Hereby Award 
Tanya McLaughlin
For  Initiative,
Hospitality, Generosity, Inquisitiveness, Leadership and Immeasurable
Contributions to the Grotto and to Caving in Smyth County, Virginia .
This award by unanimous approval of the officers here
signed, confers Lifetime Membership in the Grotto, paid in full in good
Presented this day, December 1, 2012
_____Carlin Kartchner (Chair), Ken Walsh (Vice Chair), Mark
Little (Treasurer), Mike Broome (Webmaster), Mark Daughtridge (Secretary)