Annual ranch rodeo is a big success
|The annual ranch rodeo took place at the Lassen County Fair on Saturday, July 20 and was a big hit. Here, Clint Leer competes in bronc riding and takes first place.Photos by Cady Schroeder|
|Travis Stewart, left, Daryl Norcutt and Bill Finks hold up the belt buckles they won for being the first place rodeo team at this year's Ranch Rodeo.|
Aug. 1 — As fairgoers were entertained by carnival rides and games on one end of the fairgrounds, a large crowd was being entertained by a very different kind of riding and competition on the opposite end. The annual ranch rodeo took place at the Lassen County Fair on Saturday, July 20 and provided rodeo fans with a full day of events that featured many local riders and their horses.
The event began at around 1 p.m. and lasted well into the evening. Rodeo fans packed the stands and lined the arena to watch participants, many of them with local ties, compete in events such as tie-down roping, bronc riding, mixed branding and more. The stifling heat didn’t deter spectators who enjoyed food, cold beer and refreshments while cheering on the participants.
“The ranch rodeo seemed to be a success and was enjoyed by many,” said event organizer Carey Cannon, “The contestants were all a great group of competitors and the spectators seemed to really enjoy the show they put on.”
Clint Leer won first place in bronc riding with 80 points, Ty Panos got second with 75 points, Cole Chambers had 73 points and got third place, Hezzie Magarva came in fourth with 65 points, Cole Rawlens got fifth with 61 points, Brady Haigh took sixth place with 60 points and 57 points got Miguel Torres seventh place.
In mixed branding, the team made up of Rob Pyle, Connie Hyatt and Bill Finks took first place. Taryn Krantz, Cody Castodio and Rosko Rhodes came in second place. Haley Pennington, Richie Masakia and Buddy Blosser got third place.
Overall, it was a fun, exciting and entertaining day for both spectators and participants.
“It was amazing the support the community provided in terms of volunteers and sponsors. The business folks in Susanville and several surrounding areas really put both feet forward in making this a fun and successful rodeo … it was fun for us to be a part of it,” Cannon said.
Lady Cougars volleyball program welcomes a new head coach
July 31 — The Lassen Community College Lady Cougars volleyball program will be welcoming a new head coach this season.
Amy Williamson is in her eighth season of coaching volleyball and brings a wealth of experience to Lassen Community College. Williamson spent the last year and half as an assistant coach for the University of Nevada, Reno, prior to which she was the head coach of the sand volleyball team and associate head of the indoor squad at Tulane University. The Tulane squad qualified for the NCAA tournament while Williamson was an assistant coach and her 2010 recruiting class earned national recognition.
Williamson is originally from Indiana and grew up playing volleyball. She attended the University of Tennessee where she played volleyball for the Lady Vols, a team that made it to the NCAA tournament in Williamson’s junior and senior years. While playing for Tennessee, she was awarded Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, fist-team All-SEC and honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America. With Williamson’s help, Tennessee won the 2004 SEC Tournament, where she was named MVP.
Williamson earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Tennessee and went on to complete a master’s degree in sports management from SUNY Cortland.
Williamson is looking forward to the upcoming season at Lassen Community College. She says she plans to focus mainly on improving the team and changing the culture of the program. Williamson said the program has done a great job in the past of recruiting talented local players, as well as drawing from the state of Nevada — a tradition she plans to continue.
She is hosting youth volleyball camps at Lassen Community College for middle and high school girls at the beginning of August where she will have the chance to meet and connect with potential future players.
“I’m excited to start and meet people in the community," Williamson said.
The Lady Cougars volleyball team will begin practicing Aug. 1.
Annual demolition derby ends Lassen County Fair with dirt and destruction
Miss Lassen County and her court present Nevin Kennemore, of Susanville, with trophies for winning first place in the main event and for being the most aggressive driver during the demolition derby Sunday, July 21. Photos by Maddie Musante
Rick Cramer, in car No. 16, and Johnny Hay, in car No. 213, go head-to-head outside of the boundaries of the demolition derby. Cramer won the second heat.
July 30 — The annual demolition derby ended fair week with a crash, smash and a lot of bangs. Despite only having seven cars participate, the derby had no trouble entertaining the crowd, as the entire event was filled with excitement, suspense, and lots of drama. By the time the main event rolled around, hardly a single person in the grandstands was still sitting.
The derby took place Sunday, July 21 at Diamond Mountain Speedway and marked the end of this year’s Lassen County Fair.
Before the derby began, the drivers lined up to show off their cars to the crowd. Johnny Hay’s car, No. 213, which was dedicated to Luke Sheehy, a Lassen County firefighter and smokejumper who died June 10 from injuries he suffered while fighting a wildfire in Modoc National Forest, won the award for prettiest car. Before the derby continued, a moment of silence was held in honor of Sheehy.
Shortly after, the action began. Jonathan Stephenson came out as the winner of the first heat, however, due to car troubles, he was unable to make it back into the arena for the main event.
Rick Cramer, in car No. 16, was the winner of the second heat.
By the time the main event rolled around, emotions were high amongst the drivers, their pit crews and the crowd. The tension between local and out-of-town drivers became apparent as cars began teaming up to target certain local drivers.
“It was starting to get kind of ugly, so I kind of warned one of them and then, the next thing you know, there were a couple driver door hits,” said event organizer Jesse Williams, who was standing alongside the arena during the derby.
Teaming up and hitting driver doors are both against the rules at the Lassen County Fair derby.
However, the aggression didn’t stop there. The boundaries of the arena, lined with large tires, were completely disregarded when one car pushed local driver, Nevin Kennemore, completely outside of the boundaries. The move caused the crowd and several members of pit crew to go wild with outrage.
“Once they started doing that and they hit a couple driver doors, I automatically, in my mind, disqualified them,” Williams said.
However, while in the middle of keeping an eye of the drivers, operating the flags and trying to keep things under control, Williams had no way of communicating his decision to disqualify the rule breakers to the crowd or the pit crews who went crazy booing and screaming.
As the main event continued, Kennemore got his revenge by pushing several cars that had been tag teaming him outside of the boundaries and onto the track.
In the end, Kennemore’s perseverance and determination got him the big win, which delighted the local crowd.
This year was Kennemore’s sixth year competing in the demolition derby and his second time winning the main event.
“It was a lot of fun,” Kennmore said afterward. “A few cars were enemies … if you noticed, at the end, they wouldn’t hit any car but mine, so that’s what they got (disqualified) for.”
Kennemore took home a $1,200 prize for winning and says he plans to be back next year.
There is no doubt this year’s demolition derby was a crowd pleaser. “There were some hard hits … it was a good show,” Williams said.
The hostility between some of the drivers only upped the entertainment factor for the crowd. However, the dramatic nature of this year’s derby is causing Williams to rethink future demolition derbies. “You always have certain guys that don’t like other guys — and that’s in any sport — but you’ve got to think, you’re basically taking, say, a 3,000 pound car and trying to destroy the next guy, so it gets pretty hectic,” he said, “(some of the drivers) said some choice words, so I told them, ‘Don’t even bother coming back.’ … somebody could have gotten hurt.”
In addition to banning drivers who have previously broken the derby rules, Williams is planning to change the specifications required for cars. He attributes the dwindling number of participants in demolition derbies to the fact that it is getting harder to find derby cars, more expensive to buy them and more expensive to make them compliant to derby specifications. He points out that the demolition derby at the California State Fair in Sacramento, which usually has 20 to 30 cars, only had five this year. “The attendance for derbies is down everywhere … it’s getting a lot more expensive,” Williams said. So, he plans to make some changes next year, which will allow more people to participate. He says he’s thinking about “going back stock to where you basically chain doors shut and, you know, run it, which will help out because kids and people who don’t have a lot of money can go find a car and build it competitively.”
Regardless of the number of cars or the specifics of the rules, it is safe to say the demolition derby remains a favorite at the Lassen County Fair and will continue to see a large and rowdy crowd of spectators eager to watch dirt fly and metal twist.
Diamond Mountain Speedway races draw a packed crowd during fair week
Samantha Schultz stands next to her car in the pit, ready to race at Diamond Mountain Speedway on Saturday, July 20. The grandstands were packed, as spectators came out to enjoy the races and the Lassen County Fair. Photo by Maddie Musante
July 26 — Carnival rides, corn dogs and country concerts weren’t the only things that brought crowds of people to the Lassen County Fairgrounds last week. Diamond Mountain Speedway held stock car races as part of the Lassen County Fair on Saturday, July 20 and packed the grandstands with spectators eager to watch racers push their cars to the limit on the racetrack. The crowd was not disappointed, as the racers gave it their all in an attempt to be the first car across the finish line in each division. The results of the races and current standings are as follows:
Mini division results
In heat race one, Lary Whitebird was the champion in car No. 97, with Bailee Glenn, in car No. 75, coming in second and Andrew Love, in car No. 75, getting third.
Whitebird went on to win the trophy dash and Glenn got second place.
Whitebird took his winning streak into the main event, again taking first place. Glenn got second and Love was third.
Mini division standings
Whitebird currently holds the number one spot in the mini division with 169 points, while Glenn stands in second with 159 points and Galen Hainline is third with 129 points. Matt Canada is fourth with 39 points, Michael Nichols is fifth, also with 39 points, and Love is in sixth place with 37 points.
Strictly stock division results
Paul Fletcher won heat race one in the strictly stock division, driving car No. s10. Nathan Howard, in car No. 81, came in second, Jake Beauchman, in car No. 25, got third and Aaron Mayne was fourth in car No. 13.
Samantha Schultz, driving car No. 05, took first place in the second heat race, with Richard Longacre coming in behind her in car No. 07. Junior Toon and Gene Cain were each black flagged.
Howard came back to win the trophy dash, while Fletcher took second place, Beauchman got third and Schultz came in fourth.
In the main event, Schultz was the big winner, coming in first place ahead of Fletcher, who got second place, Toon in third and Beauchman in fourth.
Strictly stock division standings
Toon is currently in first place in the strictly stock division with 198 points, Schultz has 189 points, putting her in the number two spot, Mayne is third with 182 points, Cain also has 182 points and is in the number four position, Longacre is fifth with 151 points, Howard stands sixth with 144 points, Fletcher comes in seventh with 144 points, Dan Dias has 120 points and is in eighth, Fred Kresky is number nine with 71 points and Beauchman comes in 10th with 69 points.
Modified division results
Mitch Murphy, in car No. 7m, took first place in heat race one in the modified division. Larry McCracken came in second driving car No. 06, Tommy Glenn got third in car No. 76, DJ Short was fourth in car No. 5m and Steve Bejcek got fifth driving car No. 20.
Riley Simmons won the second heat race, driving car No. 21r, Bill Pearson was behind him in car No. 7n, Boyd Murchison came in third driving car No. 23 and Aaaron Langslet took fourth in car No. 23a.
In heat race three, Wade Kennemore was the winner in car No. 24, Matt Murphy drove car No. 6m into second place, John Sloan got third in car No. 14s, Dennis Arnold was fourth in car No. 13 and Bryan Gray got fifth in car No. 73.
After winning the first heat race, Mitch Murphy came back to win the trophy dash, Matt Murphy got second place, McCracken took third and Pearson came in fourth.
Pearson went on to claim first place in the main event, with Kennemore behind him in second. Matt Murphy got third place, Mitch Murphy came in fourth, Bejcek was fifth, Short took sixth, Langslet got seventh and Arnold came in eighth.
Modified division standings
Simmons holds the number one spot in the modified division with 199 total points, Matt Murphy is second with 193 points, Arnold is third with 184 points, Bejcek stands in fourth with 147 points, Ricky Bobby has 130 points, putting him in fifth place, Short stands in sixth with 98 points, Tommy Glenn III is number seven with 95 points, John Sloan has 92 points and is in the number eight spot, Pearson comes in ninth with 84 points and Kennemore is 10th with 81 points.
The next racing event at Diamond Mountain Speedway will be Saturday, August 10.
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