Five friends from Santa Barbara High School have been snapping the same photo in the same pose on the same cabin bench every five years for the past 35 years.
From left to right, as is the tradition, John “Wedge” Wardlaw, Mark Rumer-Cleary, Dallas Burney, John Molony and John Dickson gazed at the camera on Saturday in the remote serenity of Copco Lake on the California-Oregon border to capture their eighth entry into the photo collection that took the Internet by storm five years ago.
“It blows my mind 35 years later we’re recreating that 1982 photo,” said Dickson.
Wardlaw, who snapped the photo, believes it’s one of their best. “I used a Nikon D800 and video and think we came the closest we ever have to the original photo,” he said.
In the years that have passed since their last shot in 2012, the five have checked some empty boxes in their personal columns.
Three of the five, Rumer-Cleary, Burney and Dickson, got married, and there’s finally a child descending from the quintet.
“It’s been great. I wanted to become a father for a long time,” said Dickson, who entered parenthood at 51 after getting married for the first time at 49.
Dickson, now 54, and his wife, Sharon, celebrated the birth of son Jimmy two years ago. Someday Jimmy may play a role in the longstanding photo tradition, but we’re getting a little ahead of this fishing tale.
The Copco Lake five went from laid-back dudes sitting on a deck to Internet stars five years ago when CNN’s story on the friends went viral, turning them into a global sensation.
“It was totally unexpected and we were in shock, because our photos went everywhere,” Dickson said. “I had a friend in Sweden let me know we were on the front page of his newspaper.”
“We got a lot of emails from people who wrote they couldn’t believe we stayed friends that long,” he said.
They appeared on morning network television shows and were interviewed by TV, print and radio stations…