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Inept: Impaired: Overwhelmed

Tall Tales from West Virginia and Beyond
Bil Lepp

In Inept: Impaired: Overwhelmed, West Virginia tall tale-teller Bil Lepp keeps a smile on your face as he regales you with stories about catfish-grabblin’, summer camp, moose-trappin’, and a mishap with the FBI. Being a five-time winner of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest makes Lepp a natural for his two jobs: a state employee and a Methodist minister.

From childhood to adulthood, Bil’s wacky adventures often include his best friend, Skeeter Barth. Whether you find that Bil and Skeeter are trouble-makers or that trouble just follows them around, you’ll be laughing as they test smelly catfish-bait; get stopped by the sheriff; struggle with rock climbing; and get attacked by woodpeckers, catfish, and moose. Bil is often accompanied by his super-dog Buck, “whose mother was a German shepherd and whose father was a prolific and extremely determined basset hound.” With Buck’s help, Bil tries kayak dogsledding on the New River; stops up the Bluestone Dam; and takes the Monster Stick out for one last wild ride.


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Imagine a cheerful campfire crackling on a cool fall evening. Your stomach is full from the day’s catch. You smile contentedly as you gaze at friends gathered in the warm light. Suddenly, belly-laughs erupt around the circle – someone is telling a tall tale.

A nice thought, but if you can’t have the real thing, you may want to read Bil Lepp’s “Inept: Impaired: Overwhelmed – Tall Tales from West Virginia and Beyond” (Quarrier Press,  paperback). Lepp is a five-time winner of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest, and according to his book jacket, this makes him “a natural for his two jobs: a state employee and a Methodist minister.”

His book is a collection of tall tales starring Lepp; his best friend, Skeeter Barth; and Lepp’s dog, Buck. Lepp weaves some outrageous stories that pit him and his cohorts against giant catfish, a moose and an extremely angry woodpecker. Along the way, Lepp pokes good-natured fun at himself and everyone else.

Lepp’s love of hunting and fishing is evident in these tall tales; and his stories, tall though they may be, capture the camaraderie and good memories often associated with time spent in the outdoors.

Bil Lepp stars his gun-shy hunting dog Buck in a tale that grows taller and taller–and then even taller. Listeners are howling with the hilarity, tears of laughter streaking faces split with wide-mouth grins. When the young teller wraps up his story in one more burst of implausibility, the audience leaps to its feet, cheering. All hail the king!”
– Mary Ellen Botter, The Dallas Morning News

Pages: 164