RMTA is an Equal Opportunity Non-Profit Organization
RMTA Trials Series
August 8, 2010
Lake George, Colorado
By Ron Pocher
Photos By John Clement
Many moons ago, when I was still skinny and good lookin’ (or still in my teens in other words), I had one of those forgettable jobs building tennis courts. It would have been a lot more painful than it was, if not for one of the funniest cats I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Regan Garrett was one of those characters that didn’t just keep you laughing – he made sure you were rolling on the ground while you were doing it. “Hawk” had plenty of inspiration though; he comes from a large family, six boys and one girl, and every last one of them can make you chuckle.
I recall one occasion, where I was more involved than I should have been with attaching some chain link fence to its posts, when Regan calmly sent a “p-s-s-s-t” my way. I turned around to find him doing his best Elmer Fudd impression in the middle of the court. Garrett kid number five had found one of those metal birds, that they used to plop on the top of fence posts back in the day, and it sat comfortably perched atop his cap as he snuck across the court pretending to hold a gun (that looked more like a shovel).
I rarely pick up a hammer without recalling a summer day, more than thirty years ago, when Regan decided I needed a Spanish lesson. The amateur comedian had a carpenter’s hammer in one hand and a sledge in the other. The joke was rather simple really, but it’s one I thought worth stealing, and it’s been good for many giggles through the years. Regan held up the claw hammer and calmly replied “martillo”; then he held up the sledgehammer and spurted “martillo grande” just before we both burst into a five-minute fit of laughter. Gringos – they know just enough Spanish to be dangerous(ly funny).
Every summer about this time a ghastly group of demented souls assemble themselves in the breathtaking mountains surrounding Lake George. These so-called Trials Masters are long on talent but short on manner. Karen Leute and Evelyn Peacock handled the score table with a surgeon’s precision and thus prevented their event-designing cohorts from being deemed “a gaggle of gadabouts of the hopeless variety”. Ron Gardner, Adam Leute and Tracy Zentz, aka “The Three Amigos”, were cordially joined by Tom and Dustin Hedwall and the third best looking Leute, Zach. These six “trials gods” came up with yet another near perfect meet at one of the RMTA’s favorite venues, Sledgehammer Gulch.
The Championship class found three dashing gents, rather skilled in the art, ready to thrill. Keith Wineland came up with his usual stunning performance and was obviously enjoying the obstacles chosen by friend and rival, “Dusty”, the third generation of Hedwall plonkers. Wineland needed an opening loop seven to get those joints lubricated, but vastly improved that score with a second lap 1-card and a clean final circuit. Wineland’s 8-point total easily topped Bailey Tucker’s final tally of 51. Tucker followed loop one’s 15-card with a pair of 18’s. Steven Deines fell victim to an uncharacteristic-like trend, as his loop scores were increasing with each go-around, thus pushing his total to a third place 102.
Defending champion Chris Hertrich unfortunately incurred some last minute mechanical difficulties; leaving just four classmates to wrestle over the Expert class gold. Kevin and Keith Busch would have had their usual tight tussle, if Keith could have figured out a way to lessen that opening loop 32-card. Kevin was sporting an early 11-point lead but Keith almost cut his deficit in half after loop two, and headed into the final circuit trailing by 6. The elder Busch turned in the third lap’s lower mark, to snatch the top spot by eight with his 67. Keith nabbed the silver with 75 while Al Duke fought his way past Brian Koerwitz, 91 to 95. Cleans were hard to come by as Keith tallied the most, with just four.
The Advanced class sported the day’s largest contingent, with no less than fourteen “feet up fools” taking to the traps. A large beach towel could have covered the top five; as the first through fifth placed riders were separated by a mere six points. That sly old fox Billy Burgener, who can usually find his way to the top in a tight one, snagged the gold with his 32-card. Todd Tucker and Sarah Duke both ended play with 34 marks showing, but Todd got the nod on cleans – 18 to 10. Tucker punched a class best 6-card on his final go-around. Greg Howie was just one point adrift in fourth with 35, but would have needed two dabs less to better his position, as he only managed eight cleans. Stephen Marcus rounded out the top five with 38/11 while Patrick Howie rolled home in sixth, another ten points back, at 48.
Two of the usual suspects in the Senior Advanced class were serving as Trials Masters, so just four seasoned veterans were left to argue over the hardware. Offroad multi-tasker, Ron Schmelzle, was evidently feeling up to snuff as he handily won the meet with a dandy 5-point total. Schmelzle must have surely impressed his main sponsor, “Duff” Beer, by punching 2, 2 and 1-cards for the three circuits. Mike Wehling sat comfortably in second, albeit a few dabs arrear of “Duff’s” main man, with his 47. Ken “the Great” White rounded out the podium with his 62-card while a trying last loop pushed “Super” Dave Lindeman to a fourth place 103.
Only three needy vermin bothered to enter the Veteran Intermediate class but they still would have had their usual scuffle, if Jeff Payne hadn’t spotted the field a faulty appendage that he acquired prior to the start of competition. Payne broke the bone connecting his two biggest toes during warm up. Payne’s toughness should never be questioned, as the class front runner showed the youngsters just what it takes to compete for a series championship by soldiering on to collect third place points. Ron Pocher and RMTA President, Frank Petersen, had a pretty good battle raging throughout the day but Pocher was able to hang on for the gold on the strength of his first loop 7-card. Pocher finished with 40 while Petersen came in just four dabs shy at 44. Payne handed in a “gutsy” 82 and is obviously named accordingly.
Neil Pieper turned in the intermediate level “ride of the day”, with his stellar 26-point total, while en route to the top step in the Senior Intermediate division. Pieper also punched the most cleans with 17 and tied Pocher with best loop score at 7. “Gnarly” Neil is obviously whispering sweet nothings to his new 2010 Beta. Al Bunge posted his best intermediate rank finish to date with the help of his impressive 57-card. Jim Plumb, who’s always steady, steered his way to third with 66 while Scott Sears continues to show improvement and ended up in fourth with 88.
Pete Helfter won the Intermediate class for the fourth time in seven tries with the aid of his tidy 38-point total. Helfter is definitely in the “driver’s seat”, and steering his way to a class championship, as all three of the other round winners have jumped up to the Advanced ranks. Todd Sutherland was able to head home with the silver after posting his 62-card while Darren Myers continued his string of impressive finishes with a 69-point third place. Myers has enjoyed a consistent season that has found him sitting on or near the podium at most of this year’s rounds. Joel Heuvelmans rounded out the class with his 89.
David Koerwitz extended his points lead in the Senior Amateur division by rolling home with the fewest dabs yet again. The man simply doesn’t make many mistakes. Dave’s shining 5-point tally included a card full of zeroes from his day’s final circuit. Jeff Marcus seemed rather pleased with his fine 14-point runner-up effort while Chuck Moline snuck by John Clement, 19 to 20, to pocket the remaining medal. Clement was spotting the field about thirty year models though, as he saddled up his trusty TL 125 for the contest. Sharon Jubb punched continually improving cards, to give the boys their usual scare, but came up a few marks shy with her 31-card.
“Trophy” Ty Lindeman was hoping to win his second successive Amateur class round, but ran into a “buzz saw” named Tim Goodwin. Goodwin was rather stubborn about putting his foot down, as his 7-point total included a “clean” last lap. Lindeman wrapped things up with a 2-dab third loop but it was “too little, too late” as he finished with 12. Goodwin held the edge on cleans as well, 24 to 23. Roy Moline added to his recent medal intake with yet another bronze via his tidy 18-card.
The Vintage classes continued to boast(?) a poor turn-out as each division sported just one rider. “Hello…do you read me? Over.” Let’s get some butts in the seats of those once worthy steeds (that still contain what can be referred to as seats). Jim Owen accepted the Vintage A gold with his 90-point total while Ed Peacock walked away with the honors in Vintage B by virtue of his fine 17-point ride. Both gents would have surely swapped their medals for the presence of a feisty contender.
Cindy Bright and Jody Hutchinson both looked just “mahvelous” throughout their afternoon skirmish in the Women’s class. Hutchinson was trailing Bright by just two dabs after the first two circuits but her worst loop score reared its ugly head on the final go-around. Mrs. Hutchinson bowed to Mrs. Bright, 70 to 53, in this battle of lovelies.
Chase “Burger” Abbott and “Mild” Micah Hertrich continued their year-long battle in the Novice division. Both talented youngsters needed five dabs on their opening loops but Hertrich jumped ahead on the second lap when he only dropped two marks to Abbott’s three. Chase squeaked by for the gold when Micah posted his second 5-card on loop three. Abbott punched his second consecutive 3-card to win by but a dab, 11 to 12. Jay Stevenson snatched the bronze with his 34, while Nigel Parker was just off pace with 37.
Nobody seems to want to challenge Mr. Evan Manniko in the Junior A class and about five minutes of watching him ride would justify this avoidance. The kid can bring it. Evan needed just ten dabs on a difficult line while undoubtedly missing the competition that Garrett Stokes usually provides.
The Junior B class saw no less than seven teetering tikes taking to the technical traps. That sounds like one of those elocution improvement lines – read that baby ten times real quick like. Jackson Lewis topped this group for the sixth time in seven rounds and has that number one plate clinched as he finished runner-up in his other outing. Lewis should be the newest Junior A rider at the upcoming Tucker Ranch two-day. Chase Bright, and his stunning 14-card, pocketed the silver with Mia Manniko nipping at his heels with a bronze winning 16. Luca Wood had another fine outing and wound up in fourth with 23.
I remember suggesting to the Garrett’s long ago; that they should have sister Annie, a brilliant attorney who would certainly be up to the task, compile a book of all the family stories. Believe you me; you don’t know what funny is until you’ve heard a few of those babies. You’d only have to spend about thirty seconds with the late Poppa Garrett, Clay Sr., before realizing where all the kids obviously got their gift for humor. Like I mentioned before; you could fill a book with them, but here’s my all-time favorite.
While still in high school, Regan had been absent from said facility the previous day in order to try and talk his way out of a parking ticket in the local courts. Just before heading off to school, he suddenly realized that he didn’t have a “note from home”. After a quick search of the house revealed that Mom Garrett had already left for grocery shopping, Regan was forced to call on “Senior” for help. “Dad, can you write a note saying I was sick yesterday so I can get an excused absence”? asked Regan. “Why sure son, I’ll write you a note”, replied Mr. Garrett. While standing in line at the attendance office, Regan suddenly realized that he had failed to read Senior’s note. After carefully unfolding the legendary memo (that Mr. Garrett had folded about fifty times into a one inch square), Regan quickly read the words that helped him decide that he didn’t need an excused absence all that bad after all. Clay Sr. was obviously one of those gifted writers who didn’t need a whole passel of words to get his point across. The “note from home” simply read: