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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for the ‘Dave Villwock’ Category

1979 NHRA Top Fuel championship car not just a story anymore — it exists

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Silverdale’s Rob Bruins and Bremerton’s Chris Horn are returning to the drag strip at Pacific Raceways (formerly Seattle International Raceway) in Kent this weekend along with the Top Fuel dragster that they helped to an NHRA championship in 1979.

Bruins drove the Gaines Markley-owned dragster and Horn, then 19, was the full-time mechanic for a team that shocked that drag racing world by winning a world championship without winning a national event.

Horn, now a Kitsap-based real estate broker, came across the car by accident on a motorcycle trip to Nevada in 1996. He bought it, later chased down the original Keith Black aluminum engine block and other parts. He sold it to the World Speed Museum in December of 2013, and the car is now restored and will be at the track this weekend.

Thirty-five years ago, I covered the Northwest Nationals and wrote a story about these guys. They lost in the first round that day, but that was not the norm. The car won every divisional race it entered, and reached the semis or finals in all of the other national events to secure the championship.

I don’t pretend to be a motorsports expert, but this is a cool story about a couple of local racers who did big things in the world of motorsports.

Rob Bruins, Dave Villwock, Ryan Villopoto. That’s some serious motorsports history that’s come out of Kitsap County.

Here’s the story about Bruins, Horn and the innovative car that changed the drag-racing landscape.

 


Tickets for Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet on sale

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

The Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 25, at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo.

Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 13. Cost is $35 $30 and they’re available at the Baymont Inn & Suites (5640 Kitsap Way, west Bremerton) and Team Sports (1550 NE Riddell Rd., east Bremerton). Cash and checks only will be accepted at the Baymont and at Team Sports. You can also email Kitsap Athletic Roundtable secretary/treasurer Jodee Strickland — jodeestric@aol.com — to reserve tickets or write Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, P.O. Box 5707, Bremerton, Wa., 98312, to request tickets. Strickland will mail tickets to those who request them before Christmas by Dec. 31. If you request them after that day, the tickets will be left at will call on the day of the event.

Tickets will be available at the door, but it’s best to rsvp to Strickland or write a letter to the KAR to make reservations.

The Hall of Fame begins with an 11 a.m. social hour. Dinners will be served at noon with the induction ceremony to follow.

Here’s a previous story I wrote about the event. Some of the athletes will be featured as we get closer to the date:

The Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame’s latest class includes the winningest unlimited hydroplane driver in the history of the sport, the first athlete from Kitsap County to compete in the Olympics, an outdoorsman who is a noted mountain climber, author and artist, the voice of the Kitsap Stampede and a competitive men’s soccer team that paved the way for so many others to enjoy the sport in our area.

This will be the 26th Hall of Fame ceremony, but only the ninth year that it has been staged in its present form. Previously, the Kitsap Oldtimers inducted deserving baseball and softball players, coaches, sponsors and umpires. When the Oldtimers disbanded and merged with the KAR, the Hall of Fame was expanded to include all sports.

This year’s class is among the most diverse in history.

The hydroplane driver is Dave Villwock, the South Kitsap grad who announced his retirement in May after a legendary career that included 67 victories — 10 of them Gold Cup wins — and 10 national titles.

Ed Eliason grew up in Poulsbo and became one of the nation’s top archers. He won seven national titles and placed fifth at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Burley’s Dee Molenaar, 95, is the author of The Challenge of Rainier, considered the definite work on the climbing history of Mount Rainier, where he worked as a park ranger and mountain guide. He climbed Rainier more than 50 times and was involved in several other mountaineering expeditions.

Randy Corley, who moved to Silverdale from North Platte, Neb., 12 years ago, has been voted the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Announcer of the year 11 times and he has been a fixture at the Kitsap Stampede for more than 30 years.

The Bremerton Chuggers — a men’s soccer team — formed in 1974 and played until 2000. They made a major impact on the local soccer scene, and Lance McCoy, one of the founding players, said the Chuggers are thrilled to be going into the local Hall of Fame.

“We’re the first soccer group to ever go in,” McCoy said. “It’s a sport we all cherish and love, and you can’t know what an honor it is to be inducted into this group of incredible athletes. For us, it’s kind of a culmination of 27 years of work.

“ … There wasn’t a lot of soccer in this area when we started and to see where it is now, it’s rewarding. So many of our players have given back and are now in the coaching ranks.”

Two other teams will be inducted: the 1951 Bremerton High football team, which was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state before losing 14-13 to Ballard in the annual Thanksgiving Day game in Seattle and the 1984 Suquamish slowpitch team that won a national championship.

Other athletes and coaches voted in include:

Mark Rill: Former South Kitsap star helped the Wolves to the state finals in 1981 and to the semifinals in his senior year in 1982. He went on to have a standout career at Pacific Lutheran as an offensive tackle (brother David, already in the Kitsap HOF, was a linebacker at Washington).

Gary Rouse: The Bremerton drag racer made a name for himself as one of the top competitors in the sportsman class. For years, he drove a ’65 Chevelle in the SS/M automatic class and he more than held his own when he matched up against the best in the nation.

Allison Eoff: One of the top competitive female bowlers in Kitsap County history, she’s also been a good ambassador for the sport and handled various administrative roles.

Kerry Keefe: Former Bainbridge basketball star — she averaged 18.6 points her senior year and is the career leader in rebounds for the Spartans — started two years at Georgetown University.

Chris Thorsen: Former Central Kitsap athlete was one of the best athletes of his era, starring in basketball and track and field, where he ran the half-mile. Thorsen has coached several years during his teaching career.

Ernie Hahn: Longtime junior high coach — baseball, football and wrestling — in Port Orchard impacted a lot of lives during his career. He also worked as an assistant football coach at South Kitsap when Ed Fisher was the head man.

Mike Welch: Bainbridge girls basketball coach established a successful program, leading the Spartans to second-, sixth- and third-place finishes in his first three seasons.

John Ross: Smart, quick and aggressive, Ross was the leading rusher at West High, Olympic College, where he earned honorable mention All-American honors, and at Central Washington, where he rushed for 1,119 yards in two seasons.

Jerome Walker: A state sprint champion at West High in 1978 and ’79, Walker went on to have a standout career at one of the elite track and field programs in the country — the University of Oregon.

Bonnie Burmaster: Former Olympic Aquatic Club coached worked with youth swimmers in the area for 27 years before retiring in 2009. Among her students: Olympians Tara and Dana Kirk, and Nathan Adrian.

Frankie Lee: One of the top roller hockey players and coaches in U.S. history, Lee was on the U.S. National team from 1984-99, and still coaches the USA Ladies National team that usually includes a handful of players from his Bremerton Hurricanes team.

The Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award will be awarded to the Carlson family, which has owned and operated Minder Meats for years and been huge contributors to the community. Jim Carlson Sr., was also a standout lineman on the ’51 Bremerton High football team and past president of the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, as was his son Jim Carlson, Jr. Marlyn Carlson was among the first female members to join the KAR.

The Dick Todd Award goes to a sports official and this year’s honoree is Jim Lamont, who got into officiating basketball because of Todd.

 

 


Happy holidays, happy New Year, see you in a couple weeks

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Gonna head south — way south — for some sunny weather and relaxation.

I don’t think I’ll find a sports bar in Adelaide, Australia, where I can watch the Alamo Bowl, but you never know.

My gut says the Huskies and Baylor Bears will lock up in a pinball war: points and yards will be coming that fast in what could be the most entertaining shootout in recent memory: The final: Baylor 56, Washington 43.

My gut also says that Prince Fielder won’t be holding any press conferences soon in Seattle. If the price and number of years comes down, maybe the M’s have a shot. If the Seattle can get him for $100 over five or six years, then maybe it’ll happen. But with agent Scott Boras calling the shots, it’s hard to imagine that will happen.

My gut says I should have lost some weight before heading Down Under. But the Aussies on the west coast are experiencing one of the hottest summers on record, so maybe I’ll melt some pounds off in Perth.

Before I head home to put some cookies out for St. Nick, here’s some dates to remember:

Tuesday, Dec. 27: the East-West Alumni basketball games, 6 p.m., Bremerton HS. Great event if you’re a Bremerton alum.

Jan. 14: The Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet, sponsored by the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, will be held at the Baymont Inn and Suites. Tickets ($30) are available at Team Sports (at its new location in Riddell Square, east Bremerton; Hi-Joy Bowl in Port Orchard and the Baymont).

Jan. 25: The 77th annual Seattle Sports Star of the year awards banquet at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Bremerton swimmer Nathan Adrian and hydoplane driver Dave Villwock, a Port Orchard native, are nominated in their categories. You can vote online. Go here to vote, buy tickets etc.

I’ll leave you with a list of some of the year’s top local stories. If I missed something, please email sunsports@kitsapsun.com. Look for our year-end story next weekend.

Happy holidays and best wishes to everyone.

TOP STORIES

Ryan Villopoto: RV had one greatest seasons ever for a motocross/supercross rider. After badly breaking his leg in 2010, Villopoto won 6 of 17 in the AMA Supercross season to nail down that championship then rode off with 10 more victories in 24 starts to claim the outdoor Motocross trophy. He helped USA win motocross of champions., You know he’s big stuff when he gets a shoe (Vans) named after him.

Kitsap Pumas: The Pumas won a national championship in third year of operation, and pushed the Sounders to the brink in a U.S. Open Cup playoff game at Starfire. It didn’t come without some turmoil. Executive director Ben Pecora resigns at the end of the season and owner Robin Waite doesn’t bring back coach Peter Fewing. Pumas assistant and OC head coach James Ritchie is named head coach for the coming year. Rumor has it the Pumas are already guaranteed a spot in the U.S. Open Cup because of a change in format, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.

Nathan Adrian: The Bremerton swimmer —  America’s best hope for a gold medal in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2012 London Olympics — continued to collect NCAA, national and international titles. The academic All-American from Cal has established himself as one of the elite swimmers in the world. I’ve got a hunch he’s going to be at the top of the list a year from now.

Willie Blooomquist: The Port Orchard native had his best MLB season, starting for Diamondbacks at the game’s most important defensive position — shortstop — in the heat of a pennant race. He batted leadoff, played well in postseason and was rewarded with a 2-year, $3.6 million deal (turned down $4.6M from Giants). A nice feel-good story for a nice, hard-nosed guy who finally proved that he’s a lot more valuable than a lot of people have given him credit for over the years.

Troy Kelly: A year after hip replacement surgery, he nailed down a PGA Tour card after finishing 11th on the Nationwide Tour. He won over $200,000 and now has a second chance to make a name for himself on golf’s biggest stage. He’s hired a personal trainer, dropped 15 pounds and those who know him say he’s mentally and physically in the best spot he’s ever been.

Erynne Lee: PNGA and Washington State Female Golfer of the Year played in the U.S. Women’s Open for a second time, got back to the quarterfinals in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, won a state high school title, a state women’s amateur title and is now a freshman at No. 1-ranked UCLA. Year ended on a sad note as her mom, Debbie Lee, died in mid-November after suffering a heart attack and stroke while in South Korea.

The U.S. Junior Amateur:  The folks at Gold Mountain did another masterful job of putting on a national golf tournament on the Olympic Course. From the opening dinner on the U.S.S. John C. Stennis, which featured Johnny Miller, to the championship match, won by Dallas’ Jordan Spieth,  it was a magnificent week. It’s possible an NCAA Championship could be in Gold Mountain’s future plans.

The Year of the Wrestler: The top high school story was about Kitsap wrestlers, who won 8 titles and had 13 wrestlers in the finals at Mat Classic. Pretty remarkable stuff for a bunch of the hardest working and toughest athletes around.

Kingston: The next-best high school story revolved around the Kingston Bucs, who went from doormat to a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament under the direction of first-year coach Blake Conley.

Kitsap Bears: The Bears, a collection of guys who are passionate about football, rolled out for weekly practices and dominated the local northwest semi-pro scene.  The Bears reached the North American Football League title game. Three months later, owner Don Purser announced that the team will take the 2012 season off.

OC soccer: Men’s team comes out of nowhere and makes a spirited run to the NWAACC finals before coming up short in the title game. You had to be there to really appreciate what this team accomplished.

Drew Vettleson: Central Kitsap star, the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 baseball draft, got his professional career off to a solid start, earning MVP honors for his rookie-league team at Princeton (W.Va). You get the feeling it was just the start of big things for the likeable right-fielder who gained famed at a young age for his ability to pitch with either arm. The Tampa Rays player was rated the sixth-best major league prospect in the Appalachian League. Vettleson hit .282 for the  Rays with seven  home runs, 13 doubles, four triples and 20 stolen bases in 61 games.

Steven Gray: One of West Sound’s all-time best players capped a great four-year basketball career at Gonzaga, enjoying some of his best games against big-time NCAA competition. The All-West Coast Conference guard, a free spirit who grew up in Chimacum and Bainbridge, is playing professionally with a first division club in Latvia.

BlueJackets: Matt Acker, the only coach in BlueJackets’ history and a really good guy and good coach, resigns to spend more time with his family. The college summer team struggles to put fans in the seats, but you’ve got to give the local ownership group props for hanging tough. They said they’re in it for the long haul, and they haven’t waivered, even when it meant digging into their own pockets for more money. Olympic College head coach Ryan Parker, a three-year assistant to Acker, is the new coach and he immediately goes out and signs local products Andy Smith (North Kitsap/Bellevue CC/Liberty University, Va.), Tyler Baumgartner (Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC and he’s signed with Oregon for next year), and Daniel Jewitt (North Kitsap/Truman State, Mo.) to play for the Jackets. That’s a good start toward putting butts in the seats.

BMX King: Port Orchard’s Josh Klatman, a 19-year-old student at Olympic College, ends the year as the No. 1-ranked amateur rider in his age group for the second straight year. BMX is an Olympic sport and if Klatman wanted to pursue a berth, he’d have a chance to make the team. He’s that good.

Dave Villwock: How could I forget the Port Orchard unlimited hydroplane driver, the all-time winningest in the sport’s history? Super Dave, one of the most intelligent athletes I’ve come to know, keeps motoring along, breaking records and proving that he just might be the best to ever pilot one of those flying machines.

 


What’s your top local sports story of the year?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

It’s that time of year to come up with a list of the top local stories of the year.

What’s your top story of the year?

Off the top of my head, I’ve put together a list. It’s in no particular order and I’m probably overlooking something.

Add to it if you’d like. I’ want to know what you think. Help me out. Give me your top five, or even top 10.

 

TOP STORIES

Ryan Villopoto: RV had one greatest seasons ever for a motocross/supercross rider. After badly breaking his leg in 2010, Villopoto won 6 of 17 in the AMA Supercross season to nail down that championship then rode off with 10 more victories in 24 starts to claim the outdoor Motocross trophy. He helped USA win motocross of champions., You know he’s big stuff when he gets a shoe (Vans) named after him.

Kitsap Pumas: The Pumas won a national championship in third year of operation, and pushed the Sounders to the brink in a U.S. Open Cup playoff game at Starfire. It didn’t come without some turmoil. Executive director Ben Pecora resigns at the end of the season and owner Robin Waite doesn’t bring back coach Peter Fewing. Pumas assistant and OC head coach James Ritchie is named head coach for the coming year. Rumor has it the Pumas are already guaranteed a spot in the U.S. Open Cup because of a change in format, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.

Nathan Adrian: The Bremerton swimmer —  America’s best hope for a gold medal in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2012 London Olympics — continued to collect NCAA, national and international titles. The academic All-American from Cal has established himself as one of the elite swimmers in the world. I’ve got a hunch he’s going to be at the top of the list a year from now.

Willie Blooomquist: The Port Orchard native had his best MLB season, starting for Diamondbacks at the game’s most important defensive position — shortstop — in the heat of a pennant race. He batted leadoff, played well in postseason and was rewarded with a 2-year, $3.6 million deal (turned down $4.6M from Giants). A nice feel-good story for a nice, hard-nosed guy who finally proved that he’s a lot more valuable than a lot of people have given him credit for over the years.

Troy Kelly: A year after hip replacement surgery, he nailed down a PGA Tour card after finishing 11th on the Nationwide Tour. He won over $200,000 and now has a second chance to make a name for himself on golf’s biggest stage. He’s hired a personal trainer, dropped 15 pounds and those who know him say he’s mentally and physically in the best spot he’s ever been.

Erynne Lee: PNGA and Washington State Female Golfer of the Year played in the U.S. Women’s Open for a second time, got back to the quarterfinals in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, won a state high school title, a state women’s amateur title and is now a freshman at No. 1-ranked UCLA. Year ended on a sad note as her mom, Debbie Lee, died in mid-November after suffering a heart attack and stroke while in South Korea.

The U.S. Junior Amateur:  The folks at Gold Mountain did another masterful job of putting on a national golf tournament on the Olympic Course. From the opening dinner on the U.S.S. John C. Stennis, which featured Johnny Miller, to the championship match, won by Dallas’ Jordan Spieth,  it was a magnificent week. It’s possible an NCAA Championship could be in Gold Mountain’s future plans.

The Year of the Wrestler: The top high school story was about Kitsap wrestlers, who won 8 titles and had 13 wrestlers in the finals at Mat Classic. Pretty remarkable stuff for a bunch of the hardest working and toughest athletes around.

Kingston: The next-best high school story revolved around the Kingston Bucs, who went from doormat to a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament under the direction of first-year coach Blake Conley.

Kitsap Bears: The Bears, a collection of guys who are passionate about football, rolled out for weekly practices and dominated the local northwest semi-pro scene.  The Bears reached the North American Football League title game. Three months later, owner Don Purser announced that the team will take the 2012 season off.

OC soccer: Men’s team comes out of nowhere and makes a spirited run to the NWAACC finals before coming up short in the title game. You had to be there to really appreciate what this team accomplished.

Drew Vettleson: Central Kitsap star, the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 baseball draft, got his professional career off to a solid start, earning MVP honors for his rookie-league team at Princeton (W.Va). You get the feeling it was just the start of big things for the likeable right-fielder who gained famed at a young age for his ability to pitch with either arm. The Tampa Rays player was rated the sixth-best major league prospect in the Appalachian League. Vettleson hit .282 for the  Rays with seven  home runs, 13 doubles, four triples and 20 stolen bases in 61 games.

Steven Gray: One of West Sound’s all-time best players capped a great four-year basketball career at Gonzaga, enjoying some of his best games against big-time NCAA competition. The All-West Coast Conference guard, a free spirit who grew up in Chimacum and Bainbridge, is playing professionally with a first division club in Latvia.

BlueJackets: Matt Acker, the only coach in BlueJackets’ history and a really good guy and good coach, resigns to spend more time with his family. The college summer team struggles to put fans in the seats, but you’ve got to give the local ownership group props for hanging tough. They said they’re in it for the long haul, and they haven’t waivered, even when it meant digging into their own pockets for more money. Olympic College head coach Ryan Parker, a three-year assistant to Acker, is the new coach and he immediately goes out and signs local products Andy Smith (North Kitsap/Bellevue CC/Liberty University, Va.), Tyler Baumgartner (Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC and he’s signed with Oregon for next year), and Daniel Jewitt (North Kitsap/Truman State, Mo.) to play for the Jackets. That’s a good start toward putting butts in the seats.

BMX King: Port Orchard’s Josh Klatman, a 19-year-old student at Olympic College, ends the year as the No. 1-ranked amateur rider in his age group for the second straight year. BMX is an Olympic sport and if Klatman wanted to pursue a berth, he’d have a chance to make the team. He’s that good.

Dave Villwock: How could I forget the Port Orchard unlimited hydroplane driver, the all-time winningest in the sport’s history? Super Dave, one of the most intelligent athletes I’ve come to know, keeps motoring along, breaking records and proving that he just might be the best to ever pilot one of those flying machines.


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