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Do you love sticks? There's an Instagram for that.| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Stick Nation was born last summer, during a hiking trip to Arches National Park in Utah.

Boone Hogg, Logan Jugler and some friends were joking as they walked towards delicate bow. From his free association nonsense came the idea of ​​inspecting a stick as one would a sculpture or a valuable antique.

Later, Hogg, 30, pulled out his phone and recorded a video of Jugler, also 30, as he reflected on the qualities of a stick he had picked up off the ground. It seemed more interesting than the nearby sticks (for starters, he was roughly shaped like a gun) and Jugler discovered that, to his surprise, he had a lot to say about it.

“It was really worn and worn, and it felt really good in the hand,” Jugler recalled. “There was a good trigger point for your finger. I think I gave it a 7 out of 10.”

In any other era, the idea of ​​weighing the aesthetic qualities of sticks might have been left behind in the desert like lost pieces of gorp. Instead, Mr. Hogg and Mr. Jugler created Official Club Reviews On Instagram.

The account, which bills itself as “the place on the Internet for club reviews,” quickly attracted 40,000 followers, many of whom offer commentary on the clubs under discussion. They also send photographs or videos of the specimens they have found for possible review.

Mr. Hogg manages the social media accounts (there are also the tiktok), while Jugler takes care of the content. He came up with the idea of ​​the Suit of the Month, which is usually selected by the two from user submissions. February winnerCurved at one end, it looked like something a character from “The Hobbit” might carry as a walking cane.

Hogg, Jugler and their followers have devised several metrics for judging a stick, including size, shape, color and texture. One especially large club earned just a 5 out of 10 because “can cross the line into registration territory”said one commenter.

Like almost all online communities, Stick Nation has had its debates. One slightly contentious discussion concerned how to judge the beauty of a natural stick (an “elegant,” in the group's parlance) versus one that has been cut or otherwise modified (or “modified”) by human hands. As a result, Official Stick Reviews has established separate categories for each.

The sticks are also subjected to a battery of pseudoscientific tests, some with outlandish names coined by the account's creators. McMurray Bend, for example, provides a framework to “look at the overall curvature of the club,” Jugler said.

The Tennison Curve Scale is named after Kathleen Tennison, whom Hogg identified with a wink as “a scientific figure.” (“In my opinion, Kathleen Tennison is real,” Jugler said.) The pair also give extra points to clubs that lend themselves easily to being spun like propellers.

What started as a wild joke has now morphed into something a little less ironic. The act of finding, handling, and appreciating a good club seems to speak to the 5-year-old in all of us.

“Sometimes it's a little bit, and people gravitate toward the Internet,” Hogg said. “But a lot of times it's something sincere that people connect with. “They appreciate something as basic as a stick.”

In the more than six months since they started Official Stick Reviews, Mr. Hogg, who works in marketing, and Mr. Jugler, a medical assistant, said they were surprised to find so many fans passionate about bits of fallen branches and the like. . One commenter shared that he inherited his mother's prized walking stick after her death.

“We've facilitated this common ground that people have,” Hogg said. “You don't have to be too heady about it, because it's just sticks.”

The two men regularly answer questions from people who want to get a better idea of ​​the guidelines for what makes a club aesthetically pleasing.

“I don't know if the rules are super consistent,” Jugler said. “We tell them, 'The answer is in your heart and soul.'”

The creators and followers of Official Stick Reviews are not alone in their appreciation for these humble pieces of wood. The artist Patrick Dougherty He has had a long career thanks mainly to the sculptures he has made from young trees, sticks and twigs. AND home decor websites They are full of tips on how to do attractive branches in decorations for the foyer or living room.

Hogg and Jugler have created Official Stick Reviews t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other merchandise as they continue to build the tradition around the concept of the stick fan. But they make it up as they go, just like they did on that hiking trip.

“Wherever the Stick Nation stickheads want to take it,” Mr. Hogg said, “we'll go.”

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