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“Hold the Lava, Por Favor”

RMTA Trials Series

Final Round

November 8, 2009

Canon City, Colorado

By Ron Pocher

Photos By John Clement


BLM riding area, Volcano Gulch, can be found just a stone’s throw away from the southern rim of the “Grand Canyon of the Arkansas”, which is more commonly known as the Royal Gorge.

The “Gorge” was discovered by Zebulon Pike and his scouts in the year 1806, after serving as the wintering grounds for the Ute Indian tribe for many decades prior. The Ute’s appreciated both the shelter provided by the steep canyon walls and its close proximity to the many vast, buffalo-filled parks that were common to that era.

Today the Royal Gorge is more famous for its class 5 rapids raft trips and its Go Fast! Games, which feature some of the world’s finest base and bungee jumpers. The 360-acre park boasts the world’s highest suspension bridge, longest single-span aerial tram, steepest incline railway, and highest roller coaster.

The trials masters for this final round of the 2009 RMTA season consisted of a mixed bag of virile young stallions and crotchety old pack mules, more than a little past their prime. The geezer gang, Jeff Payne and Don Reedy, set sections for the support classes and they must have been feeling a bit grumpier than usual, because their layout was certainly a challenging test ranking high on the difficulty charts. The troop of toddlers, Steven and Kyle Deines and Joey Hamilton, weren’t exactly forgiving with their upper level cohorts, who took to the traps in the afternoon session.

Jordan King made an impressive return to competition, after a brief exile, to handily top the Novice division. “Air Jordy” must have found a spot in one section that he just couldn’t agree with, until his fourth and final loop, and finished with a rather stingy 3-card. Miss Madison Leigh continued her string of top finishes with a 10-point second place. Mild-mannered Micah Hertrich came home in third for the second straight meet, with his 14.

“Trophy” Ty Lindeman was able to claim his first ever, Amateur class win with a brilliant 14-point ride. The always-consistent Greg Smith placed second with a 29-card, while the stunning Bevin Sharpe rounded out the podium with only 47 marks lost.

Jared Drake captured his second straight Senior Amateur gold and with it the class championship. Jim Plumb put up quite a fight throughout the morning, but his 14-point card fell just two dabs shy. Jeff Marcus battled through the usual list of old guy ailments to finish third with a 26.

Class champ, Rob Deines, grabbed the honors in the Senior Intermediate group, with his skimpy 31-card revealing the best intermediate-level ride of the day. Neil Pieper notched yet another top finish, with his 59-point score comfortably besting good buddy Mike Bolas and his 77.

Jon Greenleaf must have really enjoyed winning the previous event’s Intermediate class, and therefore chose to play that song again. His 58 just squeaked by the 59-card of Pete Helfter and the third place 61 of Drew Sinks, who finished the year as class runner-up.

Apex Sports’, Mike Stokes, put the motorcycle business on hold just long enough to walk away with the laurels in the highly competitive Veteran division. Ron Anderson was gnawing on Mike’s leg like a wolverine all morning long, and was able to match his 58-card, but came up just 3 cleans short and had to settle for silver. John Clement strolled away with the bronze for the fourth event in-a-row.


Tracy Zentz

Tracy Zentz

Tracy “Zerro” Zentz kept his hot streak intact with yet another triumph in the Senior Advanced ranks. Zentz, who managed to win all seven rounds he attended, finished with a starving-for-points 7-card. Ron “Raga Mon” Gardner was holding tight after loop one, but couldn’t quite keep pace and nabbed another second place with his 20. “Super Dave” Lindeman, and his 36-point total, filled out the class.


Adam Leute

Adam Leute

The Advanced class was quite simply a knock down-drag out affair. Adam Leute must have been well aware that his classmates were growing rather impatient with his recent success and were hoping to put an abrupt end to such selfish behavior, but Leute proved undeterred, and escaped with yet another victory. The man has more nerve than a toothache. ’09 Class champ, Leute, narrowly slipped by a whole gaggle of foaming-at-the-mouth contestants with his 16. Bill Burgener (17); John Sinks (18); Greg Howie (21) and Sarah Duke (22) were all knocking at the door, but the “Big Bad Wolf” just wouldn’t let ‘em in.


Chris Hertrich

Chris Hertrich

The Expert class championship would come down to this series-closing round, with the act’s featured players being Chris Hertrich and Zach Clement. Hertrich jumped ahead by but a dab after loop one, but Clement fought back on the second go-around to yank back four, and lead by three, heading into the season’s final circuit. Hertrich, who won state titles in ’99 and 2000, added this year’s Expert class crown to his résumé when his 8-point, loop 3 score, topped the 14-card of Clement. Keith Busch left the site with his second straight third place award.


Zach Clement

Zach Clement

In the Championship class, Keith Wineland led Bailey Tucker by just one point after one loop and by exactly none after two. Tucker’s best chance for an ’09 victory would also come down to the year’s closing lap. An unfortunate final section five would dash Tucker’s hopes, but coupled with Wineland’s 1-point finishing card, a cleaned last trap would have still left Bailey lacking. Wineland captured his eighth premier class championship and now sits just one title shy of the record nine held by RMTA legend, Mark Manniko.

Tom Steven is considered Colorado’s most noted geologist. A past president of the Colorado Scientific Society, Steven enjoyed an exemplary 42-year career with the US Geological Survey, where he received many prestigious awards. Honored with the Volcanoes of Colorado Symposium by his Colorado peers, Steven was mostly noted for his geologic maps and reports, but also published a book of poems about the beauty of scenery he was privileged to witness as a field geologist. This little gem, titled “Transcendental”, was lifted from said book.


I have sat on mountain peaks, alone,

And listened to the music of silence;

I have looked beyond the farthest stars,

And seen the beauty of nothingness


I’m not real sure how good Wineland and Tucker’s poetry is these days, but they both study rocks too, and their methods sure seem like a heck of a lot more fun.



PRO:1. Keith Wineland (10); 2. Bailey Tucker (17).

EXP:1. Chris Hertrich (34); 2. Zach Clement (37); 3. Keith Busch (56); 4. Tom Hedwall (57); 5. Kevin Busch (60); 6. Al Duke (73); 7. Pat Howie (dnf).

SR ADV:1. Tracy Zentz (7); 2. Ron Gardner (20); 3. Dave Lindeman (36).

ADV:1. Adam Leute (16); 2. Bill Burgener (17); 3. John Sinks (18); 4. Greg Howie (21); 5. Sarah Duke (22); 6. Stephen Marcus (34); 7. Bill Haskell (35); 8. Josh Taylor (43); 9. Ryan Lindeman (55); 10. Tim Willbanks (66).

VET INT:1. Mike Stokes (58/8); 2. Ron Anderson (58/5); 3. John Clement (60); 4. Ron Pocher (72); 5. Rick Loucks (75); 6. Larry Lund (dnf).

SR INT:1. Rob Deines (31); 2. Neil Pieper (59); 3. Mike Bolas (77).

INT:1. Jon Greenleaf (58); 2. Pete Helfter (59); 3. Drew Sinks (61); 4. Alex Tucker (68); 5. Zach Leute (77); 6. Pat Robinson (103).

SR AMA:1. Jared Drake (12); 2. Jim Plumb (14); 3. Jeff Marcus (26); 4. Fred Martinson (41); 5. Tom Maddux (43); 6. Mike Buchholz (8) Exhibition.

AMA: 1. Ty Lindeman (14); 2. Greg Smith (29); 3. Bevin Sharpe (47); 4. Hayden Strauss (52); 5. Ray Plumb (59).

NOV:1. Jordan King (3); 2. Madison Leigh (10); 3. Micah Hertrich (14); 4. Nathan Taylor (18); 5. Sean Tourville (23); 6. Nigel Parker (24).

JR A:1. Evan Manniko (21).

JR B:1. Mia Manniko (35); 2. Jackson Lewis (40).