RMTA is an Equal Opportunity Non-Profit Organization
"No, Not “That” Deines"
RMTA Trials Series
Rounds 7 & 8
September 26 & 27, 2009
By Ron Pocher
Photos By John Clement
From what I’ve heard, turns out Cliff Tucker had a pet peeve. Sure, he admired the flip turns and hops and nose wheelies just like the rest of us; but he also believed that a real trials rider should be able to turn as well.
I remember RMTA member Larry Lund once telling me “Well, you know Cliff was a full-blown genius, don’t you?” Before Lund had casually mentioned it, I hadn’t been aware of the fact. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Mr. Tucker; but anyone who has had acquaintances with the rest of his clan would agree, they pretty much reflect anything you’d need to know about the man.
Tucker left word that he would like to see his ranch hosting trials events for as long as possible, and he also left his legacy in the NATC Hall of Fame and of course, the Cliff Tucker Memorial Cup.
Tucker Ranch is nestled away in a little cove of rolling, pińon-covered hills, just north of the speck on the map town of Cotopaxi. One look at the general store, the high school, the well-crafted homes and the Arkansas River gently rolling by; and you too would long to be a Cotopaxi Pirate.
The ranch probably has somewhere between 75 and 100 known section sites, and every last one of them is still hiding options. Friendly neighbors, the Kulick’s, have more than a handful of traps scattered around their spread as well, some of which are often witnessed from their roomy front porch with barbecue ablaze.
When practicing at the ranch, which is always welcome, one just travels from (rock) outcropping to outcropping; never far from the truck when suddenly realizing you’re tuckered out. (Bailey Tucker always stares at me with a quizzical look when I use this term, probably thinking “Is he messing with me or just a common hillbilly who says that sort of thing regularly?”)
There’s an abundance of massive rocks occupying the ranch, but the Loaves of Bread area is usually the region that tests the big boys. Three two-day NATC nationals (’02, ’04, ’07) have gone down at the ranch, with even more yet to come probably lurking on the horizon. 3-time and reigning national champ, Pat Smage guided his Sherco to victory during the last NATC visit.
The trials masters for Round 7, the first of the two-day event, were certainly a capable lot. Brothers Keith and Kevin Busch would set for the upper classes while Jared Drake, Frank Petersen, and his lovely sweetheart, Sharon Jubb, handled similar duties for the support class clan.
Saturday’s Championship class looked like it might dish up a hotter than usual main course, when Bailey Tucker, with the aide of a little home cookin’, completed the first loop with just one more dab than 7-time state champ Keith Wineland. Steven Deines had probably gathered a few points too many to still be in the hunt, but his gritty determination never falters, and this day would prove no different.
As the day progressed, Wineland coaxed his Beta into a performance more to his liking, and after posting a first loop 16, rebounded with only three dropped points on each of the two final circuits. Tucker couldn’t quite keep pace with his friendly foe, but improved considerably with 12 and 8 on his final two loops and if he wasn’t pleased with his performance, several onlookers probably were.
The Expert class had a hearty contingent, with eight warriors bellying up to the bar. (although not all of them actually had bellies) Zach Clement, Chris Hertrich and Kyle Deines were all trying to convince each other that they hadn’t brought a knife to a gunfight; with all three riders punching a 10 on loop one. Ben Wehling and James Sinks were both nipping at this threesome’s heels, after posting a pair of 15’s, to sit tied for second.
Clement was able to find a little breathing room, by bettering his first loop score by nine points with a 1; but Deines, with his second loop 3, was still hiding in the shadows. Hertrich fell a few beats off the mark with an 8, but sat perched all alone in third.
Clement remained pretty close to perfect with a third loop 2, claiming the gold with an impressive total of 13. Hertrich saved his best for last, matching the winner’s final lap tally, and sneaking into second with 20 marks for the day. Deines must have run into a spot of trouble on the encore circuit, where his 12-point card pushed him back to third with 25. Wehling, whose third loop 3 almost pulled him upon the podium, fell just two points shy with 27.
The Advanced class, which always sports it’s fair share of young guns, have had their hands full lately with a lad who may have graduated high school a few years prior. Yes kids, you can call him Mister Adam Leute, who was once again the author of a convincing win, with just 20 marks lost. Stephen Marcus finished runner-up for the second meet in-a-row, with a final sum of 44, on his 200cc Gas Gas. Sarah Duke, who hasn’t left the meets without a medal for some time now, kept her streak alive with a finishing score of 50.
Mike Wehling and Ron Gardner had a real slug fest in the Senior Advanced division. The two veterans of finesse picked up right where they left off from their previous round’s duel at Turkey Rock. Gardner threw the first punch with his loop one score of 8 edging Mike’s 9, but the bobbing and weaving Wehling countered in the second, with a 4 to Ron’s 8. Gardner, who refused to buckle, fought to the finish but could only match third-loop 4’s with his stubborn rival and had to settle for silver.
Mike Buchholz, who would have to be called the cream of the Veteran crop, came into this round knowing one more win would clinch this year’s class title, so he promptly went about doing just that. Ron Anderson, an RMTA member who regularly travels from Cheyenne, Wyoming; submitted his usual steady performance, to nab yet another second place, with his 16 marks trailing the stellar 5-point total of Mr. Buchholz. John Clement filled out the podium with a rather tidy 22-point card.
Todd Tucker worked the better part of the weekend before to ensure that the notorious Wehling Falls would be in full glory for the two-day affair. This strategically crafted rock pile, named after it’s demonic creator Mike Wehling, is always the final section of any Tucker Ranch event and inevitably takes points with or without the water feature flowing.
The trials masters for day two’s Round 8 were Buchholz and Jim Plumb. Buchholz, who incorporated portions of sections he had used in a prior AHRMA event, set the support class agenda with a bit of assistance from vintage stalwart, Ed Peacock. Buchholz, Plumb, Peacock, Petersen and Drake all pitched in a curveball or two for the upper class course.
The Vanderbeek Memorial Cup was up for grabs in the Novice class and no less than seven eager contestants were all hoping to lug that baby home. They were all greeted with one small problem though, the elfin Mr Smith. Eight-year-old Oliver Smith won his third out of the last four events and looks set to snatch the class title as well, which would make him the youngest RMTA adult class champion to date. Saturday’s winner, Joel Thies, came up just one dab shy with his 4-card and only put a pod down 6 times over the entire weekend. The ethereal Madison Leigh, who continually shows promise, grabbed the bronze medal for the second straight day.
The always smooth and graceful Nick Shaver waltzed away with the Hartman Memorial Cup by plonking to yet another convincing Intermediate class win on his Gas Gas. Shaver was able to pocket the gold on both days. Alex Tucker and Drew Sinks came down to cleans on Saturday with the edge going to Tucker 14 to 13, while Sinks topped Jon Greenleaf on Sunday to add a silver to his bronze.
Rob Deines had a pretty fair weekend, climbing to the top step for both rounds in the Senior Intermediate division. Rick Daniel kept Deines looking over his shoulder on Saturday, finishing just three marks back with a 24 to Rob’s 21. Neil Pieper edged out Mike Kunz for third in yet another tussle that came down to cleans. Ian Smith made sure that Daniel’s medal from Sunday wasn’t quite as precious, with his 21 trumping Rick’s 27, but trailing the 12-card of Seńor Deines.
With Buchholz sitting out day two’s festivities, due to his trials master obligations, the Veteran class was up for grabs. Anderson pounced on the opportunity, steering his way to win number two for the season. Petersen and John Clement wrestled all day, both finishing with 29 points, but the former topped the latter, with 16 cleans to 12.
Leute continued to dominate the Advanced class, checking in with a 45-card to sweep both rounds. Greg Howie muscled his way onto Sunday’s podium with 54, while Duke and Marcus again won medals with 55 and 56-point cards, respectively. This three-way battle for second was one of the closest of the weekend.
Tracy Zentz decided to come out on Sunday and wrap up the Senior Advanced class championship with yet another victory, while Mike Wehling had to settle for the runner-up’s silver. Rick Plsek had an impressive ride for third on a course that may have been sporting some expert level obstacles.
Sunday’s Expert class boasted the most entrants for either day, 12, and just like on Saturday, Zach Clement came out on top. Kyle Deines was able to improve day one’s finish by one spot with his second, while Keifer Jacobson shoehorned his brother’s 125cc Beta into third.
Wineland was able to tote home the Matt Plsek Memorial Cup for the fourth time, which goes each year to the Championship class winner. Mr. Wineland also has this year’s Ute Cup (RMTA), Expert’s Cup (RMTA), and Mosteller Cup (WMTA) sitting on his mantel. Wineland’s first two loop scores of 5 and 3 were followed by a third loop 13, which may have been linked to a quickly-deteriorating tough, dry course. ’07 state champ, Bailey Tucker, finished second with Steven Deines third in a thinner-than-usual field. Local pro Dustin Hedwall has been honing his enduro and enduro-cross skills recently and missed all but three of this year’s events.
While all of the cups presented during any RMTA calendar year, from the Second Hand to the Ute, are coveted; none may be quite as prestigious as the one given out in Cliff Tucker’s honor. This memorial cup is awarded each year via a drawing of Sunday’s class winners, from Novice to Pro.
Rob Deines probably couldn’t even begin to imagine pulling off some of the tricks that his two sons, Steven and Kyle execute without so much as batting an eyelash. He won’t be seen doing some massive up any time soon. You won’t catch this gent hopping and skipping around like his tires might pop if he tried to actually turn; but on this gorgeous day, amongst family and friends, he had hoisted one of the most prized trials awards in the whole Rocky Mountain region. When the handshakes and applause and the hoots and hollers had finally subsided, and Poppa Deines was still sporting a look of disbelief… I thought I heard a chuckle.
PRO: 1. Keith Wineland (22); 2. Bailey Tucker (37);
3. Steven Deines (101).
EXP: 1. Zach Clement (13); 2. Chris Hertrich (20); 3. Kyle
Deines (25); 4. Ben Wehling (27); 5. James Sinks (40);
6. Pat Howie (72); 7. Joey Hamilton (73); 8. Al Duke (78).
SR ADV: 1. Mike Wehling (17); 2. Ron Gardner (20);
3. Dave Lindeman (48).
ADV: 1. Adam Leute (20); 2. Stephen Marcus (44); 3. Sarah
Duke (50); 4. Greg Howie (56); 5. Bill Haskell (58); 6. Ryan
Lindeman (72); 7. Don Reedy (dnf).
VET INT: 1. Mike Buchholz (5); 2. Ron Anderson (16); 3.
John Clement (22); 4. Ron Pocher (33).
SR INT: 1. Rob Deines (21); 2. Rick Daniel (24); 3. Neil
Pieper (43/16); 4. Mike Kunz (43/8); 5. Mike Bolas (46).
INT: 1. Nick Shaver (21); 2. Alex Tucker (31/14); 3. Drew
Sinks (31/13); 4. Jon Greenleaf (41); 5. Pete Helfter (53);
6. Zach Leute (56); 7. Jayson Maynard (83).
SR AMA: 1. Fred Martinson (7); 2. Jim Plumb (13);
3. Tim Thies (82).
AMA: 1. Todd Sutherland (17); 2. Greg Smith (20); 3. Jason
Todd (26); 4. Ty Lindeman (27); 5. Patrick Dechant (38);
6. Bevin Sharpe (40); 7. Adam Faleck (50); 8. Ed Peacock
(65); Exhibition-Oliver Smith (87).
PRO: 1. Keith Wineland (21); 2. Bailey Tucker (69);
3. Steven Deines (98).
EXP: 1. Zach Clement (43); 2. Kyle Deines (50); 3. Keifer
Jacobson (56); 4. Chris Hertrich (59); 5. Ben Wehling (65);
6. Kevin Busch (68); 7. James Sinks (76); 8. Keith Busch (78);
9. Pat Howie (92); 10. Al Duke (96); 11. John Sinks (104);
12. Joey Hamilton (dnf).
SR ADV: 1. Tracy Zentz (29); 2. Mike Wehling (38); 3. Rick
Plsek (57); 4. Ron Gardner (62); 5. Dion Plsek (73); 6. Dave
ADV: 1. Adam Leute (45); 2. Greg Howie (54); 3. Sarah
Duke (55); 4. Stephen Marcus (56); 5. Bill Haskell (72); 6.
Ryan Lindeman (91); 7. Alex Tucker (98). 7. Don Reedy (dnf).
VET INT: 1. Ron Anderson (20); 2. Frank Petersen (29/16);
3. John Clement (29/12); 4. Ron Pocher (30); 5. Jeff Payne
(31); 6. Gary Plsek (34).
SR INT: 1. Rob Deines (12); 2. Ian Smith (21); 3. Rick
Daniel (27); 4. Neil Pieper (33); 5. Mike Kunz (36); 6. Mike
INT: 1. Nick Shaver (16); 2. Drew Sinks (21); 3. Jon
Greenleaf (26); 4. Pete Helfter (33); 5. Zach Leute (43);
6. Ron Lesnak (66); 7. Maggie Kunz (84).
SR AMA: 1. Jim Plumb (2); 2. Fred Martinson (4); 3. Jared
Drake (6); 4. Sharon Jubb (23); 5. Tim Thies (33).
AMA: 1. Greg Smith (9/25); 2. Jason Todd (9/22); 3. Ty
Lindeman (11/25); 4. Patrick Dechant (11/24); 5. Sean Duncan
(13); 6. Bevin Sharpe (15); 7. Ed Peacock (21); 8. Adam
Faleck (30); 9. Caleb Miller (32); 10. Malachi Cowan (42).
NOV: 1. Oliver Smith (3); 2. Joel Thies (4); 3. Madison
Leigh (6); 4. Rich Huss (9); 5. Micah Hertrich (15); 6.
Tristan Sinks (17); 7. Nigel Parker (26).