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.