Episode 20 - The Colorful Life of Joe Hardy and The Nemacolin Resort - The Use All The Crayons Podcast

Episode 20 March 13, 2024 00:09:34
Episode 20 - The Colorful Life of Joe Hardy and The Nemacolin Resort - The Use All The Crayons Podcast
Use All The Crayons with Chris Rodell
Episode 20 - The Colorful Life of Joe Hardy and The Nemacolin Resort - The Use All The Crayons Podcast

Mar 13 2024 | 00:09:34


Hosted By

Chris Rodell

Show Notes

Chris has ethical conundrums with Joe Hardy and the legendary Nemacolin Resort. Featuring a tribute to Joe Hardy and Tony the Barber, Chris's storytelling skills bring to life the colorful and unforgettable characters and events intertwined with this remarkable resort. Join us as we dive into the world of Nemacolin and celebrate the legacy of Joe Hardy in this engaging and entertaining episode.

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Episode Transcript

Today, we're going to be talking about the fabulous Nemecolin Resort, about an hour from my Latrobe home. Nemecolin was conceived by Joe Hardy of 84 Lumber and his daughter Maggie. The resort's rise coincided with an era in which my ethical standards were challenged with temptation. Spoiler alert, I crumbled. So we'll be talking today about Nemacolin, Joe Hardy, and how for even a man worth more than $4,000,000,000 life can get complicated. Hi. I'm Chris Rodell. I've written stories and features for just about every magazine or publication in America. This is the use all the crayons podcast, where I will share those colorful stories with you. It'll come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my character to know I I usually collapse in the face of temptation. That's why author years of intensive indoctrination about journalistic ethics, I did a complete rejection of all I'd learned in school, and the conversion took less time than it takes to slam one shot of Jack Daniels. And, of course, the instigator was one of the dark agents from National Enquirer. You know, he said, feature writers like you should never have to pay for another vacation for as long as he lives. I swear I paid more attention to what he said next than I did when our OB GYN said, now here's what you need to know to ensure the delivery of a safe and healthy baby. In essence, you call up a fancy resort and tell the PR folks you'd like to write a story about the many splendors in exchange for a free room, free meals, free golf, free anything as long as it's free something. You can try it yourself. All you need is some snazzy letterhead and confidence confidence being the root of the word for con man. I understood this was wrong. The reader deserved to know if the story was legit, or if the writer had been seduced with freebies. I swung to the dark side with the ease of a grandpa settling into a duct tape recliner. It just felt so right. Around that time, I found ratification for my waywardness from J. R. Ewing, the sage of South Fork and the villainous star of Dallas. He said, once you get past ethics, the rest is easy. I, without fail, include that in my ethics lessons whenever I am charged with teaching students real world journalism. Eventually, my travel writing became sort of legit. I landed travel writing assignments from many of the top magazines. The destinations were all over North America and included stays at the Breakers in Palm Beach, the Watergate in DC, the Waldorf in Manhattan, and the Fairmont in San Francisco. Many of these domestic trips involved multiple commercial flights, but my favorite place involved a 45 minute drive from my front door to utter opulence. I'm talking about Nemecolin. A former hunting lodge, it was purchased by 84 lumber magnate Joe Hardy in 1987. Hardy, one of the most entertaining men I've ever met, and his daughter Maggie, one of the savviest business persons I've ever met, immediately began to transform The rustic retreat into one of the most fabulous resorts in the world, and I was like a stowaway for the whole glamorous endeavor. There were breaking news on a near monthly basis. The Hardys wanted a world class golf course. They hired Pete Dye. I told the PR guy I could get him a story in golf magazine. He invited my wife and I to come in for an overnight gala. Chris Rodell [00:02:57]: Future stays involved the grand openings for the spa, lodge, casino, shooting clay center, Humvee off road track, ski center, and on and on and on. And with every story came a reciprocal exchange of, freebies. It's funny because the first two I ever wrote about Nemacolin was one so distasteful to the ownership, I was sure I'd never be welcomed on the grounds ever again. I was wrong. Colorful Living Tip number 924 Ask a brainy 6 year old to spell the word rule. Listen, then say, you know my name is not Ellie. Now spell rule. Repeat. Chris Rodell [00:03:35]: A chatty barber was the reason my retired father never moved south. Getting his haircut at Tony's Barber Shop on Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon was a highlight of his existence. I grew up in that barbershop. It was where I learned how to place my first sporting wager, where I learned how men talked to one another, and the things a man could do to ensure a first date ended with at least a kiss. Plus, Tony was just magnificent. Sometimes his shop would be closed for weeks at a time. Tony wasn't truant. Tony played the saxophone and was the bandleader for pop singer Bobby Vinton. Chris Rodell [00:04:06]: Tony had met Elvis through the heartthrob, and he had a gold record of Vinton's in 1963 hit Blue Velvet. Steeler coaches, local politicians, and other big shots cut their hair cut there. It didn't happen all the time, but every so often you'd walk into Tony's and Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update, Anchor, and Castle Shannon native, Dennis Miller, would be holding court. The lively banter never ceased. If there was something going on in Pittsburgh, someone in the gang at Tony's knew about it. Colorful living tip number 865. Certainly, we can all agree that angels have wings, but do they have gills? If, God willing, I become an angel, I hope I can enjoy some gearless scuba time. That would be cool. Chris Rodell [00:04:48]: So I thought about Tony's when an editor from National Enquirer called in 1995 and said he had a story about Joe Hardy. So the first call I made was to my dad. He knew folks. I figured he'd know someone who could nudge me in the right direction. Dad, I said, I'm doing a story about Joe Hardy. Oh, hey. We were just talking about him at Down at Tony's. Do you know he's offering his wife 240,000,000 in a divorce after about 51 years of marriage? She said it wasn't enough. Chris Rodell [00:05:12]: He's 72 and got his 19 year old girlfriend pregnant. The Hardy family offered her a couple $100,000 to disappear. She chose to stay and Use the money to buy some rental properties and a condom vending machine business. I told dad I needed a haircut. Hardy made it almost 10 years with The condom saleslady before divorcing her in 2007 for the first of what became a trio of young blondes whose combined age, if you added them all up, were something like, I think, 64 years. Colorful living tip number 376. He's cheerful, polite, enjoys laughter. Go ahead and tell people the Pillsbury Doughboy is among the world's greatest role models. Chris Rodell [00:05:55]: The of my favorite stories from nemacolone had very little to do with nemacolone. I was doing a lot of golf writing and had read a story about Texas pro Tommy Bolt junior, winner of the 1958 Masters. It said after every competitive round, Bolt would stop by the practice green and make 100 consecutive 3 foot putts before hitting the showers. I remember thinking, man, I can go entire decades without sinking 1 103 foot putts. It's an insidious length. Opponents will often concede it as if no one could miss a putt that short. How can you miss a putt that short? Well, you can't. Not until there are some bucks on the line, and then you have to make it. I told my editors I was going to try and make 103 foot putts in a row, just like Jackie, and I was going to do it at Nemecolon. I could have done it on any practice green in America, but I chose Nemecolon. I'd only be able to get a few descriptive lines about the site in the story, but it didn't matter. It was a clip I could show to the nemacolin folks to keep them apprised that their interests rarely diverged from mine. How did I do? Well, let me start by saying it was one of the most strenuous things I've ever done. It was 12 hours of grinding monotony. Imagine being bent over like a question mark without cessation for one hour. For two, for six, for twice that. I started at 7am and from 7 until noon my record was 34. Pathetic.. Really, I should have ended the thing at noon, hit the spa and found a nice bar. Chris Rodell [00:07:12]: Nemecon has 20 of them. Then told my stories about getting happily pie eyed. Instead, I stuck it out. I'd vowed to stay All 7 pm, and by god, I intended to keep my word. It was around 4:30 that I caught fire. I couldn't miss. Putt after putt dove into the hole. I hit 30, then passed my morning record of author, then 34, then 40, 50, then 60. A crowd had begun to gather by the time I hit 70. Alas, it was not to be. I lipped out my 75th attempt. It was over. But I putted like a maniac the rest of that summer. But that's not the best Nemecolin story I have. No, that story was bigger than all name a colon. It was a story of Joe Hardy's life, as told by Joe Hardy in 2004. The life of Joe Hardy was so vibrant and audacious I'm surprised he wasn't pals with Tony the Barber. I'm sure they would have hit it off. Chris Rodell [00:08:03]: This is what I wrote about him in 2004 in a Pittsburgh Magazine cover story. Hardy was 81. You want Joe Hardy to live to be 84 just so you can hear about the audacious party Hardy. You want him to spend his millions enriching the lives and dreams of people who want to believe someone like Hardy is in their corner. You want him to earn another fortune, and then sit back and watch him blow it all in 6 giddy months. You want him to live past 100 and father triplets to supermodels at the age of 104. Sure, you can still resent that you're relatively poor, but if someone has to be fabulously wealthy, rejoice by God that it is Joe Hardy. I wouldn't have written it like that on January 7, 2023, the day Hardy died. Chris Rodell [00:08:41]: Coincidentally, it was his 100th birthday. Rest assured, the party went on without him. In fact, it's still going on. Hemicollin still earns accolades as one of the most grand resorts on the planet. If you enjoy the podcast, we urge you to complete the podcast Road to Success Triathlon of share, rate, and review. Be sure to tell all your friends and urge them to do the same. Thanks to our friends at Headspace Media in Latrobe for technological expertise and for always being gentle in their criticisms. And thanks to Robindale Energy for their gracious and essential support. Chris Rodell [00:09:14]: Interested in visiting Latrobe and the lovely Laurel Highlands? Start your journey at golaurelhighlands.com, or stop at the Landmark Tin Lizzie just down the street from world famous Latrobe Country Club and ask for me. Chris Rodell [00:09:28]: Learn the fine art of knowing precisely when to quit. Thank you. Yes.

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