I call Bullshirt

Local T-shirt company pokes fun, gives back

A few weeks ago, I was busy taking family photos on a golf course in Rhode Island, where my brother was getting married, when one of Chico's more fun downtown festivals was getting underway. The wedding turned out beautifully, of course, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a wee bit bummed to be missing the fifth annual installment of the You Know You're From Chico event Oct. 17. I saw lots of pictures, though, and heard stories of fun times had by all. So I'm guessing it, too, was a success.

One of the vendors, a Facebook friend of mine I met a year or so ago playing pool, was one of the reasons I wanted to go to the event. She'd recently started posting pictures of her new business venture, Bullshirters, which she launched with partners Johnny Rojo and Chico artist Thorn Hart (you know, the mastermind behind the old Normal Street Bar ads).

“Our slogan is ‘Politically incorrect wearables,'” Barbi Boeger told me by phone the other day. Chicoans may remember Boeger from her campaign for a City Council seat back in 2004. “People love it,” she added.

It's easy to see why, with Hart's signature designs and messages that hit home in a very, yes, politically incorrect sort of way. “Chico's party plan: Just 8 years for a 4-year degree!” and “Chico California: This is the college town your parents warned you against.” Their bestseller so far is what Boeger dubs the “dead bars” T-shirt, which lists many of this town's dearly departed pubs (RIP Towne Lounge!).

My favorite part of Boeger's story, however, isn't the fun aspect of her shirts, or the fact that they are printed locally (at Limey Tees), but that the venture is part for profit and part to help others. Her idea was to create a tribute to her daughter, Jazzi Boeger-Easter, who was killed in a car accident four years ago on her way home from Butte College. One hundred percent of the profits from the dead bar shirts, and $1 from each other sale, will go into the Jazzi Fairy Godmother Fund, which Boeger envisions being used to help local college students who hit hard times.

“There are things that happen to kids when they first get out of mom and dad's house,” said Boeger, who has long volunteered with the Butte County Toy Run, which helps local children get toys for Christmas but also things like clothing and school supplies for the rest of the year. “There's nothing for college kids when they screw up, or when they need a part for their car.”

Recipients will be nominated, Boeger said, by teachers or friends. If there are no nominees, she will donate to the Butte College food pantry. Log onto www.facebook.com/bullshirters for more info.