Delta- 209 Times visited 78 year old Phil Champion, a well known (and loved) former Delta area bartender on his houseboat on the Delta for this exclusive interview:
209 Times: How did you get your name, “Fill it up Phil”?
Fill it up Phil: Back in the late 70’s, Hal Schelll, who wrote for the Yachtsman, and his wife Joanie had the Purple Coat Club. Everybody in the club got a nick name. Joanie gave me mine and it has stuck all these years.
209 Times: How long have you lived on the water?
Fill it up Phil: I have been coming to the Delta since 1949 to 1950, but I started working at Lost Isle in 1980. I was born on the waterfront in Alameda.
209 Times: What’s your favorite thing about living on the Delta?
Fill it up Phil: The people. Everyone knows everyone. It’s been a wonderful life.
209 Times: What do you see as the biggest threat to the Delta?
Fill it up Phil: The tunnels. The salt intrusion it will cause… will kill everything.
209 Times: Everyone we have spoken with says you are not only a Delta icon, but the coolest man alive. Is that true?
Fill it up Phil: (laughs loudly). I don’t know about that, but I’m glad I have a lot of friends.
You can run in to Phil usually at the Tiki Lagoon where he enjoys spending time with friends and fishing.
Fill em Up Phil is “The Man”!
He is a legend in the California Delta, a legend I tell you!
I’m going to look you up Phil, and buy you a cold one!!