Monthly Archives: July 2008

Stark Truth: Extreme Talent Coming for Xtreme Bulls

I’m gonna be writing about this for Thursday’s print editions, but wanted to let you know that the lineup for the Kitsap Xtreme Bulls has been announced. If you’re a rodeo fan, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Reigning world champion Wesley Silcox (2007) and three other past world champions — B.J. Schumacher (2006), Matt Austin (2005) and Cody Hancock (2000) — are among the 40 bull riders who will compete in the $50,000 ProRodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned event on Sunday, Aug. 24 at Thunderbird Stadium at the Fairgrounds.

Nine of the top-10 and 17 of the top-20 bull riders in the current PRCA world standings, led by No. 1-ranked Chance Smart of Philadelphia, Mo., are scheduled to show up. Most of those riders will also compete in the Kitsap Stampede, a four-day rodeo that runs nightly at the Fairgrounds from Aug. 20-23. Each performance starts at 7 p.m. The Stampede’s been a finalist for National Rodeo of the Year the last three years. If you haven’t been, you need to go.

Xtreme Bulls tickets are $25 for premium arena floor seating, $20 for adult general admission and $16 for youth (children under 5 are free). Tickets can be purchased by calling (360) 471-8449 or at the event’s web site at http://www.kitsaprodeo.com/. I hope those are the right prices. They seem to conflict with what’s posted on the kitsaprodeo.com site, but that’s the press release quoted the $25, $20, $16 prices.

If you show up, you might find yourself on TV. The show will be televised on a delayed basis on Sept. 7 (12:30 p.m., ESPN) and Nov. 23 (noon., ESPN2).

Winnercomm, America’s largest independent sports production company, owns the licensing rights to the PRCA’s Xtreme Bulls Tour through 2008. For more information on the 2008 Dodge Xtreme Bulls Tour, visit www.xtremebulls.com.

Here’s the Kitsap County Xtreme Bulls Roster:

Matt Austin, Wills Point, Tex.
Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D.
Casey Baize, Big Lake, Tex.
Fred Boettcher, Tomah, Wisc.
Howdy Cloud, Kountze, Tex.
Brian Curtis, Belle Fourche, S.D.
Myron Duarte, Auburn, Wash.
Douglas Duncan, Huntsville, Tex.
Clayton Foltyn, El Campo, Tex.
Jarrod Ford, Greeley, Colo.
Chad German, Groesbeck, Tex.
Seth Glause, Rock Springs, Wyo.
Cody Hancock, Taylor, Ariz.
J.W. Harris, May, Tex.
Luke Haught, Weatherford, Tex.
Allen Helmuth, Ellensburg, Wash.
Cody Hodges, Omaha, Tex.
Logan Knibbe, Rockdale, Tex.
Zeb Lanham, Sweet, Idaho
Jason McClain, Lewis, Colo..
Danny McDowell, Jena, La.
Colin McTaggert, Las Vegas, Nev.
Joe Meling, Pendelton, Ore.
Brent Menz, Delta, Mo.
Marcus Michaelis, Caldwell, Idaho
Jay Morrow, Wayland, Ia.
Bandy Murphy, Weatherford, Okla.
Zack Oakes, Tonasket, Wash.
Shawn Proctor, Tooele, Utah
Colby Reilly, Stratford, Wash.
Clayton Savage, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Cody Schoesler, Ritzville, Wash.
B.J. Schumacher, Hillsboro, Wisc.
Wesley Silcox, Payson, Utah
Chance Smart, Philadelphia, Miss.
Tate Stratton, Stanley, N.Mex.
Jake Wade, Alamo, Nev.
Bobby Welsh, Gillette, Wyo.
Stormy Wing, Dalhart, Tex.
Steve Woolsey, Benjamin, Utah

The Stark Truth: Tara Kirk On Reality Show Tonight

We’ve all had days where our clothes don’t fit us just right. With me, it usually has something to do with my waistline. They just don’t make clothes that fit a round mound of … well, you know what I mean.

It turns out Tara Kirk, the Bremerton swimmer who just missed making the Olympic team earlier this month by one one-hundredth of a second, has trouble finding clothes that fit her broad shoulders and well-defined back muscles. Hey, I’m only repeating what I’ve read, but I can image that zipping up a dress could be a bit of challenge for somebody built like Tara.

Anyway, the 25-year-old was recently ambushed by the style experts — Stacy and Clinton (they’re so well known you only need to know their first name) — on the reality TV show “What Not to Wear.”

Tara got a new wardrobe out of the deal.

The episode, taped in June, airs Friday at 9 p.m. on the TLC (The Learning Channel) network.

I know you’ll be checking it out.

FYI: staff writer Annette Griffus has posted some interesting stuff on our The Blogstroke.

And Bob Silver, the former sports editor of the Seattle Times and proud father of Olympic swimmer Emily Silver, has another must-read for those of you trying to keep track of his daughter, who’s on the mend from hand surgery.

The blog — Bainbridge to Beijing — is about Emily Silver’s long swim from a small island in Puget Sound to the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Stark Truth: It’s Time to Build Our Dream 18

If you’re a golfer living in this area, you’re pretty lucky. The Olympic Peninsula has a well deserved reputation for having some pretty spectacular golf courses. Everybody, no doubt, has a favorite track. But what about your favorite holes?
We’re in the process of building our Dream 18, using our best holes from the courses on this side of Pugetopolis.
Staff writer Jeff Graham and myself have met with a few pros and golfers in the region to get their input on the top holes in the area. You can argue all day about what makes a hole great: Sometimes it’s because of its unique features or maybe because it’s appealing to the eye and you’ll remember it forever because of the challenge it presents? Would it be a great hole on any course?
Anyway, with help from our panelists, we’re gonna make some tough decisions and come up with four par 3s, four par 5s and 14 par 4s to build a 72-par course.
Anybody out there got any opinions on the best holes in our region.
Cal Decker, I know you’ve got an one? Please, get back to me on this one.
Any holes from the Narrows Bridge (Canterwood, Madronna Links) to Sequim (Dungeness, SunLand, SkyRidge) and every hole in between (Trophy Lake, Alderbrook, Bayshore, Lake Cushman, Trophy Lake, LakeLand Village, Village Greens, Gold Mountain, McCormick Woods, Rolling Hills, Kitsap, White Horse, Port Ludlow) are fair game.
We’ve got a list started, and we need to cut it down, so get back to me quick if you think there’s a hole that deserves to be on our Dream 18. Well, it’s actually your Dream 18.
Man, if we could only get a tee time on this course after we build it.

Stark Truth: Villwock Resumes Chase for All-Time Record

Port Orchard native Dave Villwock and the defending national champion Miss Elam Plus skipped the first three races of the unlimited hydroplane circuit, but they’ll be back in action this weekend at the Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities.
You can find Villwock and his team parked under that big shady tree along the pits. They call it “Bernie’s Tree,” in honor of the late Budweiser owner Bernie Little.
Villwock, who has 55 career victories — third on the all-time list behind Will Muncey (62) and Chip Hanauer (61) — and the Elam elected not to compete in Evansville, Madison and Detroit in order to explore the possibility of taking the sport to Europe or the Middle East. They’ve been meeting with potential sponsors and looking at possible sites in places like Norway, Egypt, Dubai and they plan to go to Romania next week.
Unlimited hydroplane has struggled to stay afloat since Budweiser pulled its sponsorship. The circuit has been downsized to a series of six races (Seattle and San Diego follow the Columbia Cup) and the folks connected with the Elam decided potential races or exhibitions overseas could be a boon for a sport that’s clearly lost its luster.
The one constant for the unlimiteds has been Villwock, who keeps winning and winning. The 1972 South Kitsap grad has won the last four races on the Columbia River and I’m sure there’s kinks to be worked out, but don’t be surprised if he makes it five in a row this weekend.
From his days with Hanauer and the MIss Circus Circus to the Pico American Dream to the Budweiser and now Elam Plus, Villwock’s always seems to be the guy everybody’s chcasing.
Nine of his wins have come in the MIss Elam. He won 37 times in various Budweiser hulls.
What’s unlimited hydroplane racing have to do to regain the public’s interest? Or is it too late?

Stark Truth: Tuesday Linkage

Tara Kirk’s latest blog entry deals with her future after coming up short in her bid to go back to the Olympics. The “seduction of the swimming lifestyle is hard to resist,” the Bremerton swimmer writes. Read the whole blog at http://wcsnblogs.com/swimming/tarakirk. And if she haven’t checked out her earlier post, I encourage you to do so.

Here’s a couple fun links about the Sonics:
Longtime NBA writer Steve Aschburner uses the media guide to cover a lot of ground about some of players who wore the green and gold. Check it out here..
And here’s another good read on the Sonics, this one by Ron Judd of the Seattle Times, a former scribe at The Sun and sidekick of our outdoor writer, Seabury Blair Jr. You can find the story here.

Stark Truth: Thoughts On Swim Trials, Sonics and M’s

On to Beijing and Tara’s ‘Despair’
Congratulation to Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian and Bainbridge’s Emily Silver – Kitsap’s latest Olympians. Both will be competing in relay events at the Beijing Olympics next month. A lot of you have been reading our paper or following our online coverage at kitsapsun.com/roadtobeijing.
As excited as it must be for Nathan, Emily and their families and friends, can you imagine how Tara Kirk feels.
Bremerton’s Kirk missed out on a second trip to the Olympics by one onehundredth of a second. If you want to feel her pain of disappointment, then check out her blog: http://wcsnblogs.com/swimming/tarakirk. I don’t know if I’ve ever come across an athlete who described her emotions with such honesty. “Today, despair lies on me like an avalanche,” she wrote.

Sonics Gone for Good?
I’ve been debating that question since the settlement was reached that allowed Clay Bennett to take Kevin Durant and Co. to Oklahoma City, leaving Seattle without an NBA franchise for the first time in 41 years.
Initially, I figured Microsoft Chairman Steve Balmer and his partners, who have said they’re interested in bringing a replacement team to Seattle, would have enough clout to convince politicians in Olympia to produce a plan that will enable the city to renovate KeyArena. Balmer’s group is reportedly OK with footing about half of the $300,000 million it would cost to renovate the facility NBA commissioner David Stern, nor Sonic owner Clay Bennett, wanted any part of.
Now, the rules have apparently changed. Stern’s not making any promises, but he said if you turn KeyArena into a facility that meets NBA standards, then maybe the city could get a new team.
If the Legislature comes up with money for a re-modeled KeyArena or a new arena, Bennett must pay the city another $30 million if they can’t get a team by 2013.
I went back and read Stern’s statement on Black Wednesday, the day of the settlement.
“Given the lead times associated with any franchise acquisition or relocation and with a construction project as complex as a KeyArena renovation, authorization of the public funding needs to occur by the end of 2009 in order for there to be any chance for the NBA to return to Seattle within the next five years,” Stern said.
“Under the circumstances outlined above, the NBA would be happy to return to the city of Seattle.”
Read between the lines: Stern would also be happy if the NBA never returned to the city of Seattle. He makes it pretty clear, I think, that it’s going to be difficult to put together a plan that will bring Seattle another franchise by 2013.

How About Those Mariners?
The Marineros are no longer the worst team in baseball. They’re the third worst. The M’s (35-52, .402 winning percentage) have passed San Diego (35-53, .398) and Washington (34-55, .382) and are closing in on Cleveland (37-50, .425). The M’s are 10-5 under interim manager Jim Riggleman.
If it seems like the Riggle Men are getting key contributions from a different player every night, it’s because they are. And it’s because Riggleman is using everybody on his bench, much like Lou Piniella used to when he was with the M’s. Mike Hargrove and John McLaren always talked about giving regulars days off and using role players more, but they never did.
Should they remove the interim tag from Riggleman’s title?
Should they dump Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro right now?
Is Erik Bedard worth keeping if he refuses to throw more than 100 pitches?
Why is Jamie Burke still on the roster?

Stark Truth: 3 Things

Kitsap Sports Banquet
I thought Saturday’s banquet honoring area athletes and coaches at the Kitsap Sun Pavilion was a huge success. Area athletic directors came up with a stellar list of candidates and Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman was certainly in his element as the master of ceremonies.
Bozeman, who grew up as a foster child, talked about how coaches had been such a positive influence on his life and he delivered an inspirational talk about leadership. You don’t have to agree with everything he’s done, but you have to admit that the man has vision, is passionate about what he believes in and he’s getting things done.
He broke down his leadership talk into eight parts. No. 1 was the most important: Hang around smart people. Seek ‘em out. Listen to them. Really listen to them. Good advice.

Kitsap BlueJackets
The fourth-year collegiate baseball team is on a roll. After stumbling out of the blocks 0-6, they’ve won eight of their last nine games as they head into a six-game homestand against Moses Lake and Kelowna, B.C.
After three years of being primarily a pitching-dominated team, the BlueJackets are doing it with their bats right now. Kitsap’s hitting .284. They’re averaging over seven runs a game, scoring 10 or more in four of their past six games. Opponents, incidentally, are hitting .297 against Kitsap pitching so the possibility of a high-scoring game is pretty good when you head out to the ball yard.
And if offense doesn’t turn you on, there’s always the Burrito Batter. The BlueJackets designate an opposing player the Burrito Batter at every home game. If that batter strikes out, all fans get a free burrito at Taco Bell by showing their ticket.

Willie’s Streak
Did you know Seattle’s Willie Bloomquist has gone 78 games without getting an extra base hit? The unofficial record, according to baseball sleuths, is 100 games, set by Greg Gross 1988-99 while with the Phillies and Astros. The record for at-bats without getting an extra base hit in a season is 124 by Dwain Anderson in 1973 with the Cardinals and Padres. Willie’s had 84 at bats this season with 21 singles for a .250 average.
He doesn’t have a lot of power, but it doesn’t mean the South Kitsap grad isn’t a valuable player. Jeremy Reed only has four extra base hits in 79 at bats, but he’s hitting .304. I’d argue that the energy of those two guys had as much to do with the M’s winning six of nine games on their recent road trip as any position player on the team, with the possible exception of Adrian Beltre.