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Old 08-30-2021, 10:31 PM
omegroupalberta omegroupalberta is offline
 
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Default Winefred Lake Lodge - Terrible Experience

Hey Guys,

Its been a long time since I have posted on this forum - in fact I can't even access my old account because of its connection to my existing email!

I just wanted to share an experience with Winefred Lake Lodge and the owners of Great White Holdings - the new owners of Winefred Lake Lodge.

Quick backstory. I am the son of one of the founding members of the Fishing With GOD tour (not religious - GOD stands for: Gleboff / Oberg / Daymond); and this group has gone to Winefred Lake Lodge for 33 years as of this year. I personally have been on the trip for 14 years and I am proud to say the only year we couldn't get everyone together was the 2020 Pandemic Lock-downs in the spring. Our group has seen owners come and go and has had the pleasure of working with all of them. George / Paul / Carol & Gary etc. As of 2018 (I believe) - Lloyd McMahon and his son Jon purchased the lodge from Carol and Gary. We booked the 2019 year like any other year - 12 guys go on this trip usually but it has fluctuated to as much as 16 - 20 on special anniversary years - and we noticed some differences from the operational styles from Carol and Gary to Jon McMahon (Lloyd's son). The trip was OK but only OK as we felt there were some unwelcoming moments from conversing with Jon and some of the lodge staff on hand at that time. No big deal - let's give them another try right?

Wrong.

I booked this trip in the early part of 2020 as the pandemic was shaky but we remained cautiously optimistic - after all we didn't want to lose our spot in the last week of May for the spring fishing run so it was booked and deposited with Jon McMahon himself.

As the pandemic raged into Canada and hit Alberta quite hard - obvious lock-downs were implemented and this trip was required to be put on hold as space restrictions and close contact orders were in place and we were not going to be able to access the lodge in accordance with the Alberta Government's demands. Not to mention we have some older gents in our group that have potential comorbidities that could seriously jeopardize their overall health if they caught the disease.

So here's where things go crazy. I reached out to Jon McMahon about the issue and stated that because of the issues of the pandemic preventing us from coming in the Spring - lets move the trip to the fall; he complied with my request and we mutually committed to speaking in the later summer to see where things were at in the province in respects to health orders - close quarter contact rules etc. In the fall there was no better result - and we had concerns. At this moment I asked Jon to refund us our deposit and we would speak in the late part of 2020 to see where things were at with this pandemic - obviously targeting a spring trip for 2021 since 2020 was a write off.

Jon refused to refund our money - and said he would only furlough the trip to 2021. Now obviously this guy doesn't realize the gravity of his actions - our group had never missed a year until this year so what was the big deal when it came to refunding the money we couldn't use? To no avail - he wouldn't budge. So I complained formally to the BBB about his actions but the BBB isn't a regulatory agency - they can only reach out to the lodge and inform of the complaint but there is no force of hand here. This is bad business practice in my opinion. What is Great White sold the lodge in that time frame? Or claimed bankruptcy? How am I going to get my group's funds back? I stayed polite and cordial throughout this entire ordeal but finally came back to speak with Megan (not sure her role) and she actually helped accommodate us into having a 2021 fall trip as 2021 spring was still contentious with the pandemics rules at the time.

So I requested that because we basically loaned them our money for the last year we have some better accommodations as a mutual "you help me / I help you" scenario. She obliged and we agreed on instead of having two cabins for the trip - 6 eagles nest rooms; and each eagles nest room is supplied with a boat.* Things were looking up, the trip was booked and off we went for the last weekend of August to close out the summer.

We arrived at the lodge on Thursday (August 26th, 2021) and everything seemed normal. We noted limited staff on site at the time but no big deal at this point, we are going to get the two boats we brought in the lake and get everyone mobilized into their respective lodge boats to get some afternoon / early evening fishing in. The dock hand gave us specific instructions that truck tires weren't allowed to leave the pad as they had a few sunken trucks that year; kind of hard to believe because the lake is 2-3 feet deep in that area at max - but whatever let's get going right?

So with the first day over - we came back to the Eagles Nest rooms - made some dinner and enjoyed the evening. When everyone went to bed - I went personally to have a shower and to my surprise - the water was off. No cold water - no hot water; couldn't shower or flush the toilet. I found it strange but went to bed and figured I would mention it to the maintenance guy on site in the morning.

Next morning - others had already mentioned the no water situation to the dock hand and the dock hand said he would mention it to the maintenance guy when he saw him. No problem - let's go fishing. Fishing was a bit slow, but the weather was unbelievably nice - couldn't complain. We did have a crisis however in the later afternoon as I personally did not hug into Wally's island close enough to round the rock island in the north to the northwest of the island - we prop struck on the ledge and my boat was dead in the water. I had loaned out my spare prop so we paddled our way to the rock island shore to begin calling for help. We landed on the shore - and I immediately called Winefred Lake Lodge's contact number (which is the same as Great White Holdings) and it went straight to voicemail. Not good. I called and nobody answered - I called the old Winefred Lake number which was a Fort McMurray number - no answer. Left messages - no answer or reply. What are we supposed to do! The weather is coming in (lightning storm) and we are stuck in the middle of the north end of Winefred Lake! I tried and tried and finally got frustrated and called Trapper Paul at Outfitters for help. He was more ****ed off than us for the situation because he couldn't believe how the lodge was handling their clients; what if someone was hurt or sick? How would Winefred Lake Lodge support it?

Paul did me a major favour and came and picked us up - we towed my boat back to his place; tied off and went up on shore to talk while he had a few day trip clients to get out as Sheri was away and he was flying solo this weekend. He then came back to us and said he'd give us a ride to Winefred Lake Lodge; at this point I feel like a complete dunce. The only guy who could help me wasn't even my outfitter and he was doing me a massive favour. We had chatted earlier the year before but hadn't made too much of a formal relationship to really be common with each other. So I felt like I was wasting his time. He drove us back over to the lodge and we managed to get a hold of some of our guys on the trip and we told them to tell Winefred Lake Lodge staffers to not even bother coming to retrieve us - Paul was taking care of it. So we rekindled some brief memories on the drive with Paul - talked about his place to pass the time and wouldn't you know it; when we arrived - no dock hands or Winefred Lake Lodge staff was down at the dock to help us unload our gear and get reset. The dock hours run from 8-8 daily; when we arrived it was 6:30; so they knew Trapper was coming and didn't want to face the music from their embarrassing display of attempting to be an outfitter.

When we got back up to the Eagles Nest that evening we found out the water was off again and the maintenance guy was actually on the lake that morning; very strange seeing as the dock hand made it seem like he was busy with other maintenance duties at the lodge and was going to get to the water pump issue shortly after they spoke. This trip was turning into a joke. Now everyone in our group is annoyed. The lodge can't help us on the lake - can't provide fresh water - management is nowhere to be found and this is going to be acceptable? I walked over the staff rooms and knocked on the dock hands door to explain how I needed the 5th boat of our 6 guaranteed boats for the trip; he said he wasn't sure he would have one available for me. I reminded him that we have had this trip booked for two years - had all the details ironed out and because of poor planning and bad maintenance I was to deal with it and not get what I paid for? He pleaded with me to come see him in the morning and we would work something out.

So in my head if he can't support my group's needs for boats - what about everyone else's? We talked to our neighbours in the eagles' nest room beside ours and they told us they had booked two boats and Winefred Lake wasn't sure if they could give them a second boat because of how many were down for maintenance - and the whole lodge was completely booked. There were over 25-30 people there this weekend and they expect 3 people to be able to manage the workload? Give me a break.

That night everyone played cards in the conference centre and we all agreed this was probably our final trip to this place. Go to bed filthy again - wake up for another round of fishing - let's get moving

I started the day in waders and walked down to the dock with the intention of helping the dock hand get boats off the logs into the water so all of their clientele could get out that morning. It takes an average of 5-10 minutes to get one setup and he has upwards of 12 boats to get ready; so if you lined up at eight to get on - there was a high likelihood you were not getting on the water until closer to ten. The dock hand told he was OK and the people getting out were staggered a bit better. Day was decent - some slobs were caught; everyone had a decent time. We all headed in for the lodge that early evening and guess what - WATER IS STILL OFF. This has now become ridiculous - you can't flush a toilet, you can't have a shower. This trip was close to EIGHT GRAND and they were going to expect people to believe this was acceptable. People are relieving themselves behind the cabins and eagles nest - people are literally going to the woods forced to defecate in the bush because these clowns can't get a water pump running decently.

We end up in the conference room again - playing the final trips, last games of poker and in walks in the maintenance guy to "check up" on us. On of our founding members asked him a very honest but direct question

"Are you guys going to give us some money back because we have no water we can use ANYWHERE".

The maintenance guy was trying to be polite but ultimately the problem was larger than him - this obviously is a culture bred by management. Jon and Lloyd McMahon simply don't care enough - so why would these staff? The staff working that weekend didn't even know they were booked for a full lodge; they ACTUALLY TOLD US THIS. It was a joke.

Sorry for my long story - but let's please recap in layman's terms.

We basically loaned this lodge our deposit for two years - no refund no communication until 2021 and even then the value is out to lunch due to the service quality of the following:
- Not enough boats for the whole lodge due to poor maintenance
- No fresh water for usage by ANY CLIENT
- No emergency preparedness plan or contact details - and actually left a client stranded on the lake under their responsibility. No apology - no reprieve.

People need to read this and wake up to what's going on. Great White Holdings is destroying the legacy of Winefred Lake Lodge. They are spitting in the face of all of the people who have spent money there; had memories there - built family and friends their. They are putting unnecessary pressure on the other outfitter who is not responsible for their laziness; Paul didn't have to help me but he is a man of his word - and true to his craft. Paul Padlesky deserves their business too - he just physically cannot support the demand but EVEN THEN HE STILL HELPS. They are rude to him and have been unfair with him since the day they took over from Carol and Gary - but he keeps to himself and carries on with his business.

Lloyd and Jon McMahon should be ashamed of their actions and lack of care for being "the Premier" fishing destination on that lake. They can pull that moniker down off the website once the two deadbeats figure out the website is down - because the title of "Premier" doesn't apply to them. I am putting this story into the world of public opinion because people need to report this nonsense - and I have 11 other guys to back it up. Lloyd & Jon not only do not deserve that lodge - they don't deserve the right to be titled as "Outfitters" and their track record through the legal system will back that notion. Poaching, lazy, quick cash grab fools who are wrecking the legacy of a once great place - and abusing those who support that lake along the way; it's disgusting. You're not respectable to your clients and you are most definitely the furthest thing from a professional organization in every sense of the term.

Lloyd and Jon - if you read this; know this "experience" is being shared with Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resources. I have recommended to everyone staying there that weekend to do the same. I will never give you money to abandon me again - from now on I will partner with the real Outfitter out there - Trapper Paul & Sheri.


Thanks everyone. Sorry for the King James edition - but it needs to be said.
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Old 08-30-2021, 10:49 PM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is offline
 
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Not at all surprising behavior from the new owners. On the bright side, they didn't do anything that resulted in you being charged for Wildlife Act violations.
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Old 08-30-2021, 11:09 PM
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Sure glad you posted this, we were going to put our deposit down for 2023. Cancel that. Sorry you had such a bad experience...... no water? Wow.
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Old 08-30-2021, 11:53 PM
omegroupalberta omegroupalberta is offline
 
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Donít give up on the lake!! Book with Paul heís a great outfitter.

Winefred Lake Outfitters is his company
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:27 AM
Jamie Jamie is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooseknuckle View Post
Sure glad you posted this, we were going to put our deposit down for 2023. Cancel that. Sorry you had such a bad experience...... no water? Wow.
No heat for us last year.... Place was looking really run down then. I wasn't happy and never went back.
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2021, 07:15 AM
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Thanks for the heads-up.

I had been planning to do a trip there for several years now but each year another destination has won out. When the McMahons took over the lodge I had second thoughts because Lloyd McMahonís own reputation is as bad as it gets in the hunting community. While pushing the deposits a year is pretty consistent with what other lodges have done, including the one I just went to in July, the rest of your experience is sub-par at best.

Thanks for taking the time to let us know of your experience this year. It may save someone else from a crappy experience and wasted money.
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Old 08-31-2021, 08:14 AM
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Thank You for the information. Noted.
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Old 08-31-2021, 09:17 AM
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That sucksÖthx for your input to a trip gone south now I would like to hear the owners side just to see what is their issues with managing the lodge etc

I know that all across the country industry wide that their are operational issues due to low unqualified staffing etc

Again thx for sharing this


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Old 08-31-2021, 09:37 AM
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Pretty much what you would expect from anything owned or run by Lloyd. Sort of follows the same line as the other tread where the guy couldn't get hold of the lodge to see if their paid for trip was still on. It really is too bad that people keep getting sucked in by this shark. I wold say sue him but you can't get blood out of a stone. This guy is the ultimate shyster.
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:28 AM
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wow this is sad to see but i'm glad you posted it. I just googled windfred lake outfitters and looks like this is gonna be my go to choice since windfred is still on my bucketlist.

Thank you
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Old 08-31-2021, 10:47 AM
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Hopefully a major news agency gets hold of this.

And add to the backstory how this fellow still remains a director of APOS despite being a convicted and sentenced poacher.
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:13 AM
omegroupalberta omegroupalberta is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuyFishin View Post
wow this is sad to see but i'm glad you posted it. I just googled windfred lake outfitters and looks like this is gonna be my go to choice since windfred is still on my bucketlist.

Thank you
Call Sheri & Paul at Outfitters - there awesome to deal with. They respect the sustainability of the area and are very knowledgeable to the lake so you will have some great experiences. If you so desire - PM me and I will give you some ideas and tips for the lake when you go; if you have never been.
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:14 AM
omegroupalberta omegroupalberta is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Albertadiver View Post
Hopefully a major news agency gets hold of this.

And add to the backstory how this fellow still remains a director of APOS despite being a convicted and sentenced poacher.
This is my next step - something has to be done about this.
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:15 AM
omegroupalberta omegroupalberta is offline
 
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If any of you guys want to know more about this - PM me and I will share my contact details with you.

That goes for anyone who has also had a bad experience with this crowd.
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Old 08-31-2021, 11:41 AM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is offline
 
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Reports are saying the fishing is not great, the roads are poor, and now the service is terrible, why does anyone bother going there anymore?
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Old 08-31-2021, 12:35 PM
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How much do you tip in a situation like that?
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Old 08-31-2021, 01:25 PM
omegroupalberta omegroupalberta is offline
 
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I am doing my due diligence in reporting this to the government and also some local authorities - to all of those that have had bad experiences otherwise; don't stay silent about it! Silence is consent and nothing will change in regards to this place if people who feel they have been cheated don't report what happened on their specific experience.
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Old 08-31-2021, 01:40 PM
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Wow!
May this thread hit said idiots financially ( and karmically) in 8000 different ways !
Awful!
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Old 08-31-2021, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
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How much do you tip in a situation like that?
*Belly Laughed*
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Old 08-31-2021, 01:59 PM
guru fisher guru fisher is offline
 
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What happened to the proposed campsite they were suppose to build a few years back? Not even sure where it was supposed to be ?
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Old 08-31-2021, 02:20 PM
Bigwoodsman Bigwoodsman is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omegroupalberta View Post
I am doing my due diligence in reporting this to the government and also some local authorities - to all of those that have had bad experiences otherwise; don't stay silent about it! Silence is consent and nothing will change in regards to this place if people who feel they have been cheated don't report what happened on their specific experience.
I sure hope AESRD takes the crapping in the bushes near the water to heart and fines the "crap" out of this operation. Wonder what the rest of the septic system is like??? Let us know what you hear, when you hear..


BW

Last edited by Bigwoodsman; 08-31-2021 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 08-31-2021, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
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What happened to the proposed campsite they were suppose to build a few years back? Not even sure where it was supposed to be ?
That was an NDP Government pipe dream and got scrapped.
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Old 08-31-2021, 04:44 PM
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Unfortunate to hear, have never dealt with GWH personally but seems like just another pile of **** to add to their pile.

Speaking generally but I find it amazing how many in the outfitting fraternity seem to be able to constantly conduct themselves like complete raging piles of douche and still hang around like vermin.
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Old 08-31-2021, 05:30 PM
Goodlife Goodlife is offline
 
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Hi

I was part of the group as mentioned above. The description of the events is totally accurate. It was the worst experience Iíve had since we started going to Winefred lake lodge since the early nineties.

Letís talk about the road in. Definitely need a 4x4 which has been the case for many years. But the worst part of the road was after you turned left at the tractor and headed down towards the lodge. It was terrible. No maintenance and huge ruts. We made it in and out, but, for heavens sake, a little thoughtfulness for the fishermen driving in / out would be appreciated.

But, as previously stated, there is NO thought to the customer experience! I think that fisherman are a bother as compared with the bear hunters in the spring!

On our 30th anniversary trip in late May, Jon never came to talk with us even though he was there- his bear hunters gathered all of his time.

So, if you are planning a trip, give it a second thought. Youíve been warned!
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Old 08-31-2021, 07:14 PM
dustinjoels dustinjoels is offline
 
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I went the first year GWH bought the lodge since I had already booked with Carol before it was sold. They didnít honour my dates or the rates that were booked. Also didnít contact anyone who was booked that year to let them know they were not honouring dates/rates. Ended up changing my dates and paying a lot more when I found out it had been sold by chance when my buddy stopped by the booth at the sportsmen show.

Once was enough for me.

Since then Iíve only booked with Paul and sherry at Winefredlakeoutfitters.com and have had nothing but good experiences with them.
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Old 09-01-2021, 05:35 AM
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Sorry , you lost me at Mcmahon...no surprise with the way it was run .

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Old 09-01-2021, 05:59 PM
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Albertadiver Albertadiver is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omegroupalberta View Post
I am doing my due diligence in reporting this to the government and also some local authorities - to all of those that have had bad experiences otherwise; don't stay silent about it! Silence is consent and nothing will change in regards to this place if people who feel they have been cheated don't report what happened on their specific experience.
Keep us posted on the response from the ministry.
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  #28  
Old 09-01-2021, 09:57 PM
WinefredCommander WinefredCommander is offline
 
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Lloyd wants his lodge to fail and no one goes there. Then he can fly in his poachers for profit!
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Old 09-02-2021, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinefredCommander View Post
Lloyd wants his lodge to fail and no one goes there. Then he can fly in his poachers for profit!
It wouldn't have to fail for him to start doing that , all he would have to do is quit booking who he didn't want to bring in.
Cat
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:28 PM
Jamie Jamie is offline
 
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Originally Posted by catnthehat View Post
It wouldn't have to fail for him to start doing that , all he would have to do is quit booking who he didn't want to bring in.
Cat
Shhhhh. Quit being so smart Cat!!!! Your making the rest of us look bad!!
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