Bottoms Up: Amtrak Moonliner Express in Southern California

MoonersLooking for one of those, “Crazy Southern California Summer Stories”?

Well, look no further.

On Saturday afternoon, July 12, the Los Angeles Times reported, “Police were called out to break up the annual “mooning” of Amtrak trains in Laguna Niguel this afternoon when the crowd grew to 8,000 began baring more than just their behinds.”

Shows what little I know. Here I’ve lived in Northern California for 20 years and I didn’t even know there was such an event.

(Of course here in the San Francisco Bay Area, July’s a little on the cold side for putting your ass on the line.)

Apparently all this silliness started 29 years ago, when a patron at the Mugs Away Saloon offered to buy a beer for any of his buddies who would go out and moon the next passing Amtrak train on its way to San Diego. Apparently a number actually took him up on the offer, and a great tradition was born.

To say it has grown over the years is an understatement. Finally this year the police moved in, as the Times reported, with a contingency of “more than 50 officers, backed up by helicopters from several police agencies.” Quiet a show of force for people acting silly: some mooning, some flashing, and all having a good time. There were no arrests, and the Times reported that the crowd dispersed quietly.

If you think this is a spoof, go to the “29th Annual Mooning of Amtrak” website at for photos and more about the annual event, which takes place in Laguna Niguel.

As for next year’s event, cops and mooners are keeping quiet about their plans. I suppose you could say that neither group wants to be made to look like asses.

(Sorry! I just couldn’t resist coming up with that line after sitting all day on my caboose when I could have been outside getting tanned top to bottom.)

Martin Brown Money Editor

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