A method to the madness

Photo Credit: Joyce Isleta

The Fucking Mad Men need no introduction to Fun Fun Fun Fest scavenger hunt veterans. To the outside world, they look like a group of four dapper office pals straight from AMC’s “Mad Men.” But during the annual hunt, Molly Richter, Taylor Welden, Riley Johnsen and Drew Mersinger morph into a savage pack that performs morally questionable and ridiculous tasks all for the coveted prize – FFF Fest Pretty Important Person passes and a year of bragging rights. The Fucking Mad Men have taken first place for the last three years.

The PIP pass is FFF Fest’s all-access VIP ticket. Winners receive access to all three days of the festival, two meals per day and unlimited beer. The package retails for $325.

But for the grand prize teams must rise to the challenge. The scavenger hunts, now with locations in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, ask ridiculous tasks of teams. Showing off “manginas,” going face-first into bowl a of queso and committing permanently to FFF Fest with tattoos and nipple piercings are all challenges the team has completed to win – and they keep coming back for more.

But the seemingly unbeatable group has faced a backlash. Composed of four members and imaginary persona Matt Mabley, the Fucking Mad Men have been accused of ruining it for other teams, a sentiment yelled by one upset participant as they were once again announced as winners this year.

“I think we’ll win again, take a year off and then come back and dominate,” Welden said.

Matt Mandrella, director of marketing for FFF Fest, was shocked the squad won again, even with an extra player slot to fill. While Mandrella will plan next year’s scavenger hunt with the Fucking Mad Men in mind, he admits they are always one step ahead of him.

“They set the standard to knock out so many tasks,” he said.

This year’s scavenger hunt, which took place on September 22, welcomed over 30 teams to rival the Fucking Mad Men. Ideas sent in by Austinites throughout the year are narrowed down to four pages of tasks. This year each team was required to have an Instagram account to document completion and gain points.

The three-year champs wouldn’t exist without the leader of the pack, Richter, born and raised in Austin and the backbone of the team. “It wouldn’t be possible without her,” Johnsen said. “Behind every great man is a great woman.”

Among the most questionable feats the crew has completed, Welden has stuck a homeless person’s toe in his mouth, Richter has broken a slew of Austin traffic laws, a dog licked milk out of Johnsen’s mouth two years in a row and Matt licked a pedicab’s armpit and the pedicab itself.

Like Batman, the Fucking Mad Men are “not what Austin deserves, but what Austin needs,” said Welden. For the next year, we have the Fucking Mad Men to protect the patrons of Austin and entertain us via Instagram. Will they ever be knocked from their pedestal?