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"High Struttin’ at Turkey Rock"
RMTA Trials Series
September 13, 2009
By Ron Pocher
Photos By Scott Leverton
If you’re fortunate enough to reside in Colorado’s beautiful Arkansas River Valley, then hopefully, you’re also wise enough to count your blessings. If you’re a trials rider and call this lovely area home, then you had better be counting your lucky stars nightly.
Buena Vista; Poncha Springs; Salida; Wellsville; Swissvale; Coaldale; Cotopaxi and Canon City are all quiet little mountain communities found in this region; and let’s not forget Howard.
Oh, and the trials venues; Stock Ranch in Canon City; Texas Creek; Volcano Gulch; Tucker Ranch near Cotopaxi; and Turkey Rock in Howard. Turkey Rock is the only public riding area in the state that is designated specifically for trials bikes only, and with one look at the rocks, you would certainly know why. They’re a little on the big side.
Big as in NATC nationals big. 1986, ‘92, ‘98 and 2002 were years that the national circuit made a stop at “the Rock”. The RMTA has been holding as many as three events per year at this challenging venue, dating back to their first visit in 1978. AHRMA also frequents this haunt that boasts a breathtaking view of the “Twin Sisters”.
The Brothers’ Howie, Greg and Pat, were the trials masters for the upper level classes, and they certainly weren’t pulling any punches. Greg’s wife Melissa headed up the sign-up and scoring duties to help make this weekend a real family affair. “Air Jordy” was a bit under the weather, or he would have been right there in the mix pulling his weight as well.
Local yokels Larry Lund and Herb Jonke were hand picked to help entertain the support classes. When Lund and Jonke were still playing high school baseball (about a hundred years ago), they could have each thrown rocks from where they live now, and hit Turkey Rock easily. Some guys have all the luck. Being able to cast a fly from their back decks to the Arkansas River probably doesn’t bother them much either.
Jonke planted a foot wrong after setting exactly one section in-a-row and left Lund scrounging for other RMTA “riff-raff” to help pick up the slack. As usual, Dr. Lund had ten beautifully-flowing sections in hand, with plenty of tight turns no doubt, come “show
All joking aside, what Lund has done for Colorado trials riders and Colorado trials over the years, couldn’t be listed in “five” issues of Trials Comp, much less the bit of space we have here.
For the first time this season, the support classes were chosen to ride the morning session while the “big dogs” would jump into their own 10-section scuffle later that afternoon.
Oliver Smith may be, I don’t know, like 3-feet tall; and yeah, he may weigh like 50 pounds; and well, he does ride one of those little electric-powered trials bikes; and yes, he did win the Novice class (again) with 38 points; but he’s certainly no novice. Watching this “mighty mite” ride will leave your mouth ajar. Some cat that just calls himself Huss managed to edge out Nigel Parker for 2nd. Huss and Parker both finished with 61 points dropped, but Huss managed to clean 8 sections to Parker’s 6. (Maybe Huss should call himself Hoss. If you’re going to pick just one name, pick a good one, like Bear for instance). Madison Leigh came home in 4th with 68 points and 9 cleans and won the “best dressed” award for like the fiftieth time.
Jason Todd continued his “hot and cold” running in the Amateur division to handily top that group with a 21. When he’s on, forget about it; but the rest of the time I believe he’s dis- and re-assembling small, combustible motors in his mind or maybe contemplating more important topics like fishing. Scott Leverton came all the way from Illinois to snatch the silver medal with his 39. Leverton, who had ridden exclusively back east before this adventure, kept expecting to find a mud bog just around the next corner until someone finally informed him that he would have to go down to the river to witness such rubbish. Adam Falek completed the podium with 48 points.
Jim Plumb, who’s still recovering from not just one, but two broken legs; must be mighty close to all the way back. Plumb zeroed all 30 sections. David Koerwitz was certainly no slouch as he nabbed the silver with only nine marks lost. Jared Drake had a fine ride as well, with a 17, for third in the Senior Amateur ranks.
“Natty” Nick Shaver continued on fine form by punching a 26, with 14 cleans, to just nip Zach Leute’s 26/12. Drew Sinks and Jon Greenleaf also had rides that were certainly worth mention in the ultra-competitive Intermediate division.
The Senior Intermediate class had more entrants than usual, with nine riders in the rumble, and Oliver’s Dad, Ian Smith, was gracing the top step when the dust had settled. Neil Pieper pocketed the silver while another trials “Pops”, Rob Deines, escaped with the bronze.
Mike Buchholz, to the surprise of not even some poor guy floating in an inner tube somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific, won the Veteran Intermediate class with only 9 marks lost. Wyoming’s Ron Anderson certainly looked comfortable on his brand-new Beta, by finishing 2nd with a 23. Jeff Payne managed to cart his twenty-pound mustache around long enough to take third with a “close-but-no-cigar” 25.
In the always “scratching and clawing” occurrences of the Advanced division, Adam Leute was able to find some not-so-common breathing room. Leute put in a stellar performance with a final tally of 15. Stephen Marcus held on for second, with his 33 being just enough to top the always-brilliant Sarah Duke, for the first time in his brief trials career.
In the Senior Advanced ranks, Tracy Zentz orchestrated yet another smooth-as-silk rendition of that old classic (turkey) rock number “Winning With Style”. Mike Wehling’s 21 just clipped Ron Gardner’s 23 after an afternoon of back-and-forth dicing for second. Gardner looked like he might get the nod, after Wehling’s first loop score of 14, but “Iron Mike” finished strong with a 1-point final circuit.
The Expert class drew a talented field, with 8 entrants, but Ben Wehling had just a little something extra for the boys on this warm autumn day. Wehling was running on all cylinders, as his 16 marks fell reasonably shy of the 34 card submitted by Kyle Deines. The young Deines had to be pretty happy with his first ride of the season, due to a jam-packed college schedule, though. Kevin Busch, who has ridden “the Rock” a time or two, rounded out the podium with his 40.
The Howie’s were able to come up with some (near) national caliber obstacles for the club’s premier division. Keith Wineland showed that he is certainly at home with “the bigger, the better” nomenclature, as he was able to negotiate the first two loops with just one dab each. Wineland’s third time around must have been just a tad more eventful, as he finished with an 8-point total.
Local boy, Bailey Tucker, who was back competing in the Pro class for the first time in months, had a promising, consistent event. Tucker notched a 2nd place finish. Steven Deines put in his usual “fighting-for-every-point” effort, to place third overall.
With a little luck, some of us may be reading another story about another trials that took place (at Turkey Rock) in another 31 years. You never know. Let’s keep on counting those lucky stars, just in case.
PRO: 1. Keith Wineland (8); 2. Bailey Tucker (61);
3. Steven Deines (110); 4. Keifer Jacobson (dnf).
EXP: 1. Ben Wehling (16); 2. Kyle Deines (34); 3. Kevin
Busch (40); 4. James Sinks (41); 5. Kenan Jacobson (55);
6. Keith Busch (63); 7. Al Duke (75); 8. John Sinks (84).
SR ADV: 1. Tracy Zentz (10); 2. Mike Wehling (21);
3. Ron Gardner (23); 4. Mark Jacobson (62).
ADV: 1. Adam Leute (15); 2. Stephen Marcus (33); 3. Sarah
Duke (36); 4. Tim Willbanks (53); 5. Jeff Hutchinson (55/8);
6. Bill Haskell (55/7); 7. Josh Taylor (66).
VET INT: 1. Mike Buchholz (9); 2. Ron Anderson (23); 3.
Jeff Payne (25); 4. Frank Peterson (29); 5. Ron Pocher (44).
SR INT: 1. Ian Smith (18); 2. Neil Pieper (25); 3. Rob Deines
(29); 4. Rick Daniel (48/10); 5. Andy Parker (48/9); 6. Mike
Kunz (51); 7. Mike Bolas (60); 8. Mike Kopicky (90); Ken
INT: 1. Nick Shaver (26/14); 2. Zach Leute (26/12); 3. Drew
Sinks (31); 4. Jon Greenleaf (39); 5. Livio Bognuda (63);
6. Jeff Marcus (67).
SR AMA: 1. Jim Plumb (0); 2. David Koerwitz (9); 3. Jared
Drake (17); 4. Sharon Jubb (59); 5. Steve McCann (79).
AMA: 1. Jason Todd (21); 2. Scott Leverton (39); 3. Adam
Falek (48); 4. Ken Kopicky (110); 5. Greg Smith (dnf).
NOV: 1. Oliver Smith (38); 2. Huss (61/8); 3. Nigel Parker
(61/6); 4. Madison Leigh (68); 5. John Todd (dnf).