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WMTA Trials Series
Rounds 4 & 5
June 12-13, 2010
By Ron Pocher
Photos By Colleen Straka
I’m pretty sure that Wyoming (the place not the people) has trouble reading a calendar. I seem to recall being up there for a trials event before, in what is usually considered one of the “warmer” months, and waking up to like two feet of snow. I’m sorry, but where I come from, when May and June come rolling around you start looking for a swimmin’ hole, not a parka.
Even though the first all-woman jury, ever, congregated in the area in 1870, Midwest is really known as an oil town. Oil has been first and foremost since day one and probably always will be. The black crude was first discovered “seeping”, by local Indians, in 1880. The oil history reaches back so far that the first major pipeline, which flowed 133,000 barrels per day from Tisdale Mountain to the Castle Rock tanks in 1924, was made of wood. Yeah, you read that right – the pipe not the barrels; or the pipe and the barrels. After completion of the local electric plant in 1924, the first electrified oil field, ever, also came to life in that same year. Just one year later, on November 19, 1925, the first lighted football game in the United States took place on a chilly Friday night where Midwest bowed to Casper, 19 to 0. By 1960 over six million people were working in the area, and most of these residents purchased their homes from the oil company that they worked for. Things aren’t quite as “booming” these days; but when the weather wants to turn nasty, it’s not really concerned with the name of the month.
For this two-day trials event, the so-called summertime temperatures were hovering in the mid-forties range. As if that wasn’t quite enough to help enhance your pleasure, it never stopped raining for longer than ten minutes all weekend. I was foolish enough to travel up to this tropical locale with Al Duke, and of course he just loved it. Sir Duke, the eternal optimist world champion, had a mile-wide grin on his face the entire time. I, on the other hand, was sporting an expression that would have convinced the casual observer that I must have surely been wearing a pair of Spider Man briefs that were both wet and fifty sizes too small. The conditions were a bit difficult.
The Trials Masters lost a good portion of their sections to the grasp of the swamp monster. Twelve sections were initially planned for Saturday, and ten more for Sunday, but saturated ground forced the trap designers to take another avenue. It was ultimately decided that the event would consist of just eight sections, located in the sandstone outcroppings, that would be ridden in opposite directions on each of the two days. Not a single entrant dared blame the disappointed course workers for not wanting to be outside any longer than necessary. The club also agreed that instead of having any poor observers battling the elements; the riders would participate in class groups and do their own scoring. This method proved more than adequate. Ralph Anaya, Zack Blackmore and Guy Chapman, aka “The ABC’s”, magically transformed the meet from a sure disaster to a darn good time.
Saturday was just plain cold, wet and blustery, so the Junior Class was limited to just one day. Come Sunday, four “feet-up” hopefuls went to battle and showcased their mud riding expertise in a rather tight scrap. Kayleen Smith came out on top, needing just two dabs throughout the contest. Hannah Chapman, like Smith, finished with 14 cleans but tallied just a few more marks with her second-place 5-card. Will Chapman steered his way to third with 6 while Breyden Martinson was really railing a couple of turns on his way to a 12-point fourth.
Shawna Chapman was the class of the Novice ranks as she sauntered off with the gold on both days via two stellar cards reading 3 and 7. Pennsylvania’s Shawn Rivers pocketed the silver by punching a 6-card on Saturday and a 13-card on Sunday. Ryan Anaya only competed on day two and matched Rivers on points but couldn’t quite muster as many cleans and had to settle for third. Dave Johnson snatched third in Round 4 and fourth in Round 5 after rolling home just off the pace on each day.
Ralph Anaya led the way in the Amateur division on day one, with just 9 marks dropped, but couldn’t claim the points for his Sunday performance due to his Trials Master obligations. Off the record, Anaya punched a day two 16-card. Shane Huschka scooped up the maximum points in Sunday’s round when he wrapped things up with just 20 points showing. Robert Smith churned his way to two consistent second-place rides with scores totaling 26 and 31.
Clay Hoyt pulled on his duster and casually went about the task at hand. Mr. Hoyt was able to best Gregg Stewart, on both days in the “Last Class”, but each round was highly competitive. Clay edged Gregg by five on Saturday, 9 to 14, but needed an extra clean to snatch the Sunday laurels. Hoyt finished with 14 cleans to Stewart’s 13, while both gents held cards totaling 17 points. Doug Wilson left the site with two round’s worth of third place points with his 23 and 65-point cards.
The Vintage A division saw its usual battle, but Fred Martinson was able to hold things together for just a skosh longer and therefore escaped with two class wins. Both rounds were much closer than the scoreboard reflected, but Chris Adams had a bit of trouble with later-loop five’s and therefore bowed to Martinson on each day. Fred only needed but a dab in each round and topped Chris, 1 to 10 and 1 to 15. Bob Strohman joined in on the fracas on Sunday and filched the third-place points with his 17-card. Adams was astride his highly modified Suzuki RL 250 while both Martinson and Strohman competed on exceptionally trick Yamaha TY’s.
Like Anaya, fellow Trials Master Guy Chapman was able to tally points for Saturday only, but made the most of it with his stunning 1-point effort that topped the Intermediate class. Guy’s brother Marc also needed just one dab, but took his a little earlier in the contest, and found himself in second. Marc rebounded on day two and sewed up the victory with an impressive 11-point ride. Trials Master number three, Blackmore, was able to count his third-place Round 4 points after scooting home with a 4-card. Montana’s Ryan Matteson had to settle for fourth on day one with just 5 marks dropped but came roaring back on Sunday to finish second with his 21-point tally. Randy Talburt rounded out the class on Saturday with his fifth-place finish but must have run into a spot of bother on day two as he failed to finish.
Casper area rancher Bruce Coates was able to negotiate both days’ slippery traps, with the required precision, and drove back home with two rounds worth of first place points in the Senior Intermediate ranks. Señor Coates turned in 5 and 12-point rides. Dan Straka joined the over forty fray on Sunday and guided his Montesa to a 21-point, second-place finish.
The Veteran Intermediate class, which features riders over fifty, saw some pretty intense competition on both days. Dirk Carroll looked to be in position to claim Saturday’s win but a late, sliding off a big slick rock, five nixed his chances. Ron Pocher was able to top Carroll by just four, 15 to 19, after Dirk’s poorly timed miscue. Mike Morgan rolled home in third with his 21-card. On Sunday Carroll turned the tables on Pocher, who punched two unfortunate fives, and convincingly won by ten, 4 to 14. Dallas Peak was nipping at Ron’s heels all morning, but two ill-timed fives probably didn’t help his cause much, either. Peak finished with 15 while Barry Matlack and his 21-card scooped up the fourth place points. Morgan wasn’t feeling quite up to snuff on day two, and though exhibiting fine form, chose to retire halfway through the round.
In the Advanced group, Russell Coates seemed to have all issues in order, as he was able to pocket gold medal points for both rounds. Coates just squeaked by Ross Stewart on each day, 1 to 2 and 5 to 6. Cody Coates filled out the podium, twice, with a 4-point Saturday and 11-point Sunday. Nate Matlack competed on day two and was just one dab, but six cleans, shy of Cody’s third place ride.
Idaho’s Clyde Jernberg certainly made his trip worthwhile by heading back west with a WMTA gold medal. Jernberg punched 30 and 33-point cards for the two days in the Senior Advanced class.
Kenny “The Lumberjack” Mosteller put on his usual near-flawless exhibition, needing only four dabs throughout the weekend. Mosteller notched first place points on each day, with 1 and 3-point rides, to claim the Veteran Advanced gold. Todd Hancock was able to finish second in both rounds, but Ron Anderson crept a little closer on Sunday by finishing just six marks adrift of Todd, with his 48-card. Mr. Hancock’s Saturday cushion held a tad more comfort, 24 to 37, thus handing Ron his first of two third place scores.
The usual WMTA Expert class, which features a battle of brothers, welcomed an out-of-state guest in the name and person of “Big Al” Duke. Derek and Brian Martinson are both accomplished trials riders, having competed in many NATC nationals through the years, and their yearly “feet up” duels are the stuff of legend. Derek’s technical wizardry was obviously on display in Round 4 as he was able to best Brian by ten, 6 to 16. Duke, who was spotting the pair a birthday or two, wasn’t all that far off the pace with 39. The brothers Martinson finished Sunday’s contest with but a dab apiece, but Derek must have taken his earlier in the contest as Brian nabbed the first place points. Duke closed the gap considerably with his 13-point, day two effort. Derek was able to make off with the overall due to his lower two-day point total. Brian grabbed the silver while Al headed back to Colorado with a bronze.
Wyoming Pro’s Miles Morgan and Shad Petersen, cordially traded wins on this weekend that was fit for a mallard. Morgan handily beat Petersen in the first day’s tussle, but Shad fought back on day two and claimed his first win of the series. Morgan’s day one 9-card trumped Petersen by twenty while Sunday’s scuffle finished with a tighter spread. Shad won Round 5, 15 to 17, but Miles claimed the overall gold medal with his 26-point, two-day total. “The fact that it was wet probably made the event more fun” said Petersen. “If it would have been the usual, dryer conditions; the sections may have actually been too easy”. It’s always rather interesting to see what the pros consider “too easy”.
As is often the case at WMTA two-day events, medals were handed out based on cumulative scores from both rounds. You had to compete on both days to qualify; but if you did, you got a medal. Due to the harsh conditions, the Trials Masters gave everyone the option of riding one skill level lower while in the traps, if agreed to by the group, but most classes just rode their usual lines. The Iiams Cups are awarded each year, at this event, to the support and upper level riders who post the most cleans for the weekend. Shawn Rivers and Bruce Coates both received cups for their 40 cleans apiece in the support classes while Kenny Mosteller punched 45 dab-less marks and claimed the upper level cup.
Eddie Cochran’s rock classic, one of the all-time great tributes to teen rebellion, begins with the line – “I’m gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler”. Rock-n-Roll, let’s not forget, was formed on the basis that maybe a little revolt in our lives just might help to ensure that one’s blood was flowing with the proper force. Anyone who happened to be riding the Midwest trials event, in mid-forties June temperatures, would have most likely been questioning the sincerity of global warming. Was Mr. Al Gore truly concerned about this unproven “dilemma” or was he simply glorifying the assumptions “just to try to earn a dollar”? If you honestly believe that Gore, or any 99 out of 100 politicians, actually has good intentions directed toward the welfare of his fellow man (and not his own); then no, Martha, “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”.
PRO:1. Miles Morgan (9); 2. Shad Peterson (29).
EXP:1. Derek Martinson (6); 2. Brian Martinson (16); 3. Al Duke (39).
VET ADV:1. Kenny Mosteller (3); 2. Todd Hancock (24); 3. Ron Anderson (37).
SR ADV:1. Clyde Jernberg (30).
ADV:1. Russell Coates (1); 2. Ross Stewart (2); 3. Cody Coates (4).
VET INT:1. Ron Pocher (15); 2. Dirk Carroll (19); 3. Mike Morgan (21).
SR INT:1. Bruce Coates (5).
INT:1. Guy Chapman (1); 2. Marc Chapman (1*); 3. Zack Blackmore (4); 4. Ryan Matteson (5); 5. Randy
VINTAGE:1. Fred Martinson (1); 2. Chris Adams (10).
AMA:1. Ralph Anaya (9); 2. Robert Schmidt (26).
LAST CLASS:1. Clay Hoyt (9); 2. Gregg Stewart (14); 3. Doug Wilson (23).
NOV:1. Shawna Chapman (3); 2. Shawn Rivers (6); 3. Dave Johnson (30).
*Marc took his first point before Guy
PRO:1. Shad Peterson (15); 2. Miles Morgan (17).
EXP:1. Brian Martinson (1); 2. Derek Martinson (1*); 3. Al Duke (13).
VET ADV:1. Kenny Mosteller (1); 2. Todd Hancock (42); 3. Ron Anderson (48).
SR ADV:1. Clyde Jernberg (33).
ADV:1. Russell Coates (5); 2. Ross Stewart (6); 3. Cody Coates (11); 4. Nate Matlack (12).
VET INT:1. Dirk Carroll (4); 2. Ron Pocher (14); 3. Dallas Peak (15); 4. Barry Matlack (21); 5. Mike Morgan (dnf).
SR INT:1. Bruce Coates (12); 2. Dan Straka (21).
INT:1. Marc Chapman (11); 2. Ryan Matteson (21); 3. Randy Talburt (dnf).
VINTAGE:1. Fred Martinson (1); 2. Chris Adams (15); 3. Bob Strohman (17).
AMA:1. Shane Huschka (20); 2. Robert Schmidt (31).
LAST CLASS:1. Clay Hoyt (17/14); 2. Gregg Stewart (17/13); 3. Doug Wilson (65).