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Tomfoolery Brewed or bottled: The choice is yours

Also inside:

New farming trend in NE Kansas Local MMA scene continues to grow Kansas Speedway offers excitement


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Tomfoolery

Inside Features 3

From the editor

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Cover Crops A trending way to get the most nutritionally out of that field.

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Becoming a brew master How-to basics for the wannabe at home brew king.

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Warriors of the Cage Mixed martial arts are a lot more than just two guys beating each other up.

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55 mountain peaks before the age of 55 A pair of Northeast Kansas athletes look to conquer all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks before time catches up to them.

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Page 9 An insider discusses the art of selecting beer — stocking for consumers

Kansas Speedway There’s more to it than just the NASCAR series — although that can be pretty fan friendly, too.

Other 6

Vehicle buying stress? Three tips when buying a car to help ease your mind.

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Gone fishing Atchison is home to the Kansas City Catfish Series season finale.

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Hunting Season Information


Tomfoolery

From the editor:

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I really feel that hat you’re each story provides reading right now is some tidbit of useful information. the inauguFrom how ral edition to brew your of Tomfoolery —a own beer to magazine what to fodesigned cus on when buying a car, for men, by hopefully you men. learn someAs you’ll thing along notice, there the way. is really no Enjoy. theme within the magazine. We cover beer, crops, cars, MMA fighting, etc. It’s a mixed bag of stories, people Editor, Tomfoolery and events.

Logan Jackson

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Mailing address P.O. Box 247 Atchison, KS 66002

Advertising Representatives Jim Ervin Melissa Gibson

Editorial (913) 367-0583, Ext. 20410

Contributing Writers Joe Warren Adam Gardner Craig Miller Adam Burns

Advertising (913) 367-0583, Ext. 20406

Our staff Publisher Joe Warren joe.warren@npgco.com

Editor/Designer Logan Jackson logan.jackson@npgco.com

christy.mckibben@npgco.com

Advertising Designers Jackie Dix Melissa Friger Sara Haught Sarah Heerboth Holly Lyons Judy McCoy Produced by Atchison Globe

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Cover crops could be a new trend in Northeast Kansas By Joe Warren

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hen a region is mired in drought and farmers are looking for ways to keep nutrients and moisture in the fields, there is a solution that might seem counterintuitive. With corn, soybeans and wheat already battling to survive difficult summers such as in 2012, it wouldn’t appear on the surface to be wise to throw some extra vegetation in those fields. But that’s exactly what some agronomists and farming experts are advocating. It’s called a cover crop. It’s not a new concept, but it is fairly new to Northeast Kansas. Historically practiced up north in Nebraska and the Dakotas, cover cropping is the idea of planting a second, non-commodity crop to aid the crop that farmers are trying to make money with. Jamie Funk, a soil conservation technician for the National Resources Conservation Service – a branch of the

USDA – said that cover crops can actually act as protection for commodity crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat in a

time of drought. “Any rain we get soaks in, instead of running off,” Funk said. The crop also helps keep

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the soil at a more moderate temperature. “Last summer when we had all those 100-degree days, with cover crops the soil was 30-50 degrees cooler,” he said. “It kept (the sun) from baking the commodity crops.” Funk said that what farmers to our north have found is that adding a crop like rye grass, clovers, purple-top turnips, some radishes and select legumes to the field either right before harvest or right after harvest has multiple benefits. Those benefits can be nutritional, organic and financial. In addition to providing structure for the land to absorb moisture, Funk said a cover crop guards against erosion and the mulch created from the crop adds nutrients to the soil – either cutting down or eliminating the need for the farmer to fertilize the land for the next year. “It also acts as a barrier for weeds and insects, cutting down on the need for some herbicides

and pesticides,” he said. Atchison County Extension Agent Ray Ladd said that another benefit for farmers who own livestock is that a cover crop can help make up for a poor hay yield. “We had some producers who flew on a cover crop over their corn or beans, and that provided some short-term vegetation for animals in a bad year for hay,” Ladd said. Funk said that to keep all the nutritional and anti-erosion value, the cover crop is not harvested, but can be grazed for a short period. He said the key is to keep from taking too much vegetation, so that the land has a cover and the leftover matter can become mulch. As for applying the cover crop, that can be done in a number of ways. Locally the most common is to either plant immediately after harvest, or to drop seed in by plane a short time before harvest is anticipated. He said the latter method

gives the cover crop more time to develop before winter. There are also some farmers who are getting creative by attaching a planter to combines during harvest. This allows the producer to add the seed while taking the commodity crop. Of course, there are some drawbacks to cover crops. For one, it takes time and money up front with the hope that the benefits will be realized as much as a year down the road. Also, anytime you introduce new vegetation to an area, there is a risk that the cover crop could attract pests that weren’t a problem to begin with. That makes it a risk/benefit situation for each individual producer. For more information about cover crops, you should contact the USDA or your local extension service agent.

TF


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Tomfoolery

Avoid vehicle buying stress By Logan Jackson

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uying a vehicle can be a stressful experience – but a few easy steps can make it much easier on consumers. Dan Senecal, a sales consultant at Lewis Chevrolet Buick, said there are three important steps to consider when buying a vehicle. “There’s a lot more information out there now,” he said. “You can see what’s been done to the vehicle a lot easier.” First, Senecal said if you want the best bang for your buck, check out the car’s history. Those histories can be found online or at the dealership. Senecal said Car Fax and Auto Check both can be helpful. “I would definitely check the Car Fax, Auto Check – check out the reports,” he said. “We have those as a convenience to the customer, but you can find them on the Internet on your own.” Second, customers should always test drive a vehicle they’re

interested in. Although not all customers want to test drive a vehicle before purchase, Senecal said he would urge everyone to test things out. He said you can learn a lot about how the vehicle drives during that test driving phase. Finally, customers should have a trusted mechanic check out the vehicle. “We encourage people to have a mechanic look at the vehicle,” Senecal said. “That makes the customer at ease and makes us at ease.” Senecal said not all customers realize that dealerships want them to have a mechanic look things over. He added if a dealership doesn’t want a mechanic to look at the vehicle, they may have something to hide. “I don’t know if people know they can take it to a mechanic or not,” Senecal said. “We’ve always offered that as an avenue.” Senecal also added that cus-

tomers should buy from a reputable dealership if they want the best results. Dealerships go through inspections of their own to get customers the best possible vehicle for the price. “With technology the way it is now, most dealerships have a big inspection list to go through,” he said. “We do a lot of different checks.” Senecal said Lewis Chevrolet Buick goes through a 172-point vehicle inspection to certify a pre-owned car. They check maintenance, detailing, the engine, the exterior, etc. “The certified pre-owned title gives you some assurance,” he said. “Those are guarantees that will cover certain things.” “You do the best you can. If you find something that is unsatisfactory, you don’t offer that for sale.”

TF

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Tomfoolery

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Becoming a brew master

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By Adam Gardner

ou pop the top and hear the universal sound of relaxation. You can drink it straight from the bottle or can, or pour it in a glass. You plop down in front of the TV to watch your favorite team or settle into a lawn chair to enjoy a warm Kansas night. There are many ways to drink a beer – none of them are wrong. But what if it was your own beer? What if instead of that mass produced six pack you picked up on the way home from work, you were enjoying a home brew that included your own sweat and blood … figuratively, of course? I joined my brother, Steve, one Saturday night in July to watch the process of home brewing. Joined by the third Gardner brother, Jonathan, we discussed the finer points of home-made beer … along with several other topics. Steve already had five gallons of water on the stove and the ingredients on the counter when we arrived. That night’s creation would be an Oktoberfest beer, brown in color with a darkness that leaned more toward a Guinness than a Budweiser. Assuring us that everything was sanitized – a crucial step – Steve poured the water into a large igloo cooler. He uses the cooler because it holds the temperature well. “The way I do things may not be the way others do them,” Steve told us. Once the water was at about 163 degrees, Steve added 12.25 pounds of cracked wheat, which cooled the water to 153 degrees – his desired strike temperature. Beer is basically four ingredients: Water, grain, hops and yeast. The cracked wheat was the grain Steve was using for this beer. He added a pound of Vienna malt – used in several Oktoberfest beers – and less than a pound of crystal malt for flavoring. With the cooler lid closed, the mashing began. Mashing is the process of the grain soaking in hot water to convert complex starches into simple sugars. Waiting for the mash to work its magic, Steve, Jonathan and I cracked open a beer ourselves – because Steve has never brewed beer without drinking some – and Steve told us how historians think beer was first “discovered.” Long ago, in Egypt, a bowl of porridge with hot water poured over it was left out for a period of time. Yeast – which is all around us – eats away at sugars to create alcohol, which happened with the porridge. Eventually somebody ate the porridge and realized it gave them a funny feeling – a feeling that man

Homemade beer includes four basic parts — water, grain, yeast and hops.

When brewing your own beer, using a large cooler can be a good choice. The cooler holds temperature well.


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Tomfoolery

has enjoyed ever since. After about an hour, he drained the liquid – the sweet wort – from the cooler and placed it on the stove to bring it to a boil. He poured more water into the cooler and mixed the water and grains as much as possible in what’s called sparging. Sparging is done to get as much of the sugar out of the grains as possible, and then the liquid is drained again and added to the pot on the stove. There was more downtime as we waited for the sweet wort to boil. More beers were cracked open and discussion turned – as it so often does with the three of us – to football. More specifically, we talked about college football. Steve and Jonathan are both K-State fans, while I’m a Jayhawk. Unfortunately there wasn’t much bragging for me to do at that point. The wort began to boil and Steve added an ounce of Saaz hops which will add to the flavor profile. The boil will last an hour, with another ounce of Saaz hops added in the final 5-10 minutes for aroma. He tied the hops in cheese cloth for an easy way to take the

hops out after the boil. Also added in the final minutes is a teaspoon of Irish moss, which acts as a clarifier for the brew. “It’s about to get boring real fast,” Steve informed us. After the boil, the wort has to cool down before heading to the fermenter. The quicker the wort cools, the better, since there is less time for bacteria to be part of the equation. Steve puts the pot in the sink and pours cold water around it to speed the process. “The Godfather” gets started on TV to help us wait. Once cooled, the liquid is transferred to the fermenter and Steve pitches the yeast – brewing slang for adding yeast. He uses dry yeast for convenience and gives the combination a good whipping with a large whisk. The top of the fermenter was put into place and the waiting game continued – this time for about a week. The yeast will eat away at the sugars with two results: Carbon dioxide and alcohol. Steve has an air lock on his fermenter, which has several tiny holes that allows the gas to release (otherwise the lid would blow off) while keeping dust out.

Seven to 10 days later, the beer is ready to be bottled. Without CO2 tanks, Steve uses bottle conditioning to carbonate the beer. He pours a tiny amount of yeast in each bottle before adding the beer and after another week, the yeast has produced enough carbon dioxide for carbonation. Brewing at home is a rewarding experience. “I wish I could only drink my own beer. There is some weird gratification in knowing you made it,” my oldest brother told me. However, brewing at home can also be a fun night of bonding, as was the case for the author. We talked sports – we solved the problems with the Kansas City Royals, which includes the owner selling the team to the owners of Sporting KC – I got to see my nephews (Steve’s two boys) and one of the greatest Pugs of all time, Maggie (Steve’s dog). The only thing left to do now is drink Steve’s beer. I think I’ll have it in a glass while sitting outside enjoying a warm Kansas night.

TF

The sweet wort waits to boil. The beer will be ready to be bottled seven to 10 days after being transferred to the fermenter.


Tomfoolery

Lager, ale, stout —

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the choice is yours

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By Adam Gardner

f brewing your own beer isn’t something you want to do, or if you simply like heading out to a sports bar to try different beers, Willie’s Sports Pub in Atchison has a beer selection that expands beyond the regular domestics like Bud Light and Coors Light. In a July interview, Robbie Shriwise, Co-owner of Willie’s, explains how he chooses what beers to keep in the bar, as well as the growing popularity of craft beers. Adam Gardner: How do you choose what Willie’s keeps in stock? Robbie Shriwise: A lot of it depends on our clientele – what people drink around here. When I came in, I took our beer selection from (their Manhattan location), which is pretty extensive, and basically carried it right over to

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Atchison. In Manhattan, it’s very mixed between lagers, ales, stouts; that type of thing. From there I just tracked the numbers and I can tell what types of beers people like to drink, what they don’t like, and then I tailor it from there. AG: How do you test new beers? RS: I bring in new beers about once a month (he points to board hanging over the bar with names of beer written in chalk). I have specific areas – I know people around here like wheat beers – so I like to bring in a different type of wheat beer. People have shown a little bit of an interest in IPAs (India Pale Ale), so I make sure I have a new IPA each time also. From there, it’s all up to sales. I get the general idea of what people want, what people want to try and what people are willing to try, and then I just track sales of everything. AG: How do you find these new beers? RS: Experience. I do a lot of research; I have four or five websites that I track and use to see what is trending, what’s good. There’s one I use extensively called BeerAdvocate.com. People can get on there and rate (different beers), so you can get the general idea of what the public thinks about it. You’ve got to be careful when you’re bringing beers in because you want to make sure it’s a decent beer before you bother bringing it in. AG: It seems that smaller breweries are starting to make a name for themselves in the market. Where do they rank alongside the big boys? RS: When we first opened up … more than 50 percent of our sales were Bud Light in some form or another. I just updated my numbers and it’s still relatively high when you consider how many beers I have, but it’s about 31 percent now. A lot of people now are willing to and enjoy trying new beers. It’s just a lot of times they don’t know; they’re not comfortable with it, they haven’t seen it and that type of thing. AG: What can people do to broaden their beer horizons? RS: People’s tastes are different – that’s why there are so many types of beer. My newest way of trying

to bring people around to trying different types of beer is I’m changing my beer menu to break it down into categories. I’m breaking it down into a category that will allow people to look down the list and … find a beer they like and have tried and (then) try another one of that same category. AG: Exploration is becoming more common for beer drinkers. RS: A lot of people enjoy the idea of going into a place and seeing 15-20 beers they haven’t had. It’s a lifestyle for several people; they brew their own beer, they seek out places to go eat (with a good beer selection).

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! g n i h s i F e Gon

Atchison to host finale of Kansas City Catfish Series

The Missouri River was bursting with fishermen last year during the Kansas City Catfish Midwest Open Championship. There were 47 teams of two that participated in the finale. Atchison is hoping for an even bigger turnout for the 2013 tournament. The championships will take place Sunday, Sept. 22 at Independence Park in Atchison. Boats will leave the docks at 7 a.m. The final weigh-in is set for 4 p.m.

Kansas City Catfish practices catch and release at each of its events. Last year, there was more than $6,000 in total prize money. The Atchison Elks Lodge #647 will host a catfish fry during the event as well. Events for spectators are still being planned. For more information about the event, visit www.atchisonkansas.net or call (800) 234-1854.

Last Year’s Winner*:

David Shipman & Mike Rybolt Total Weight: 78.9 lbs. *Shipman & Rybolt also took home first in the big fish contest, catching a 50.8-pound catfish

Last Year’s Runner Up: Roger & Don Whetstine Total Weight: 75.3 lbs.


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Popular hunting seasons right around the corner Deer Youth & Disability Archery Season Muzzleloader Season Pre-Rut Whitetail Anterless Regular Firearm

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Important information for upcoming deer seasons Legal Equipment

Firearm permit holders may hunt with any legal equipment during the firearm season. Muzzleloader permit holders may hunt with a muzzleloader or archery equipment during the muzzleloader and firearm seasons. Archery permit holders may only use archery equipment during the archery season.

ARCHERY

Longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows that do not have a mechanical device that locks them at full or partial draw and crossbows. No bow, crossbow or arrow may have any electronic device attached that controls the flight of the arrow. Devices that may be attached to a bow or arrow shall include lighted pin, dot or holographic sights; illuminated nocks; rangefinders; film or video cameras; and radio-frequency location devices. Arrows used for hunting big game and turkeys must be equipped with broadhead points that cannot pass

through a ring 3/4-inch in diameter when fully expanded. Non-broadhead arrows may be in possession while hunting but may not be used to take or attempt to take big game animals. Devices capable of dispensing lethal, debilitating or immobilizing chemicals may not be used to take big game animals. Handguns may be possessed during big game archery seasons but may not be used to take big game.

FIREARMS

Centerfire rifles and handguns that are not fully automatic, while using only hard-cast solid lead, soft point, hollow point, or other expanding bullets; shotguns using only slugs. Any person who lawfully possesses a firearm suppressing device may use that device in conjunction with lawful hunting, fishing, and furharvesting.

MUZZLELOADERS

Muzzleloading rifles, pistols or muskets that can be loaded only through

the front of the firing chamber with separate components and that fire a bullet of .40 inches diameter or larger. Only hard-cast solid lead, conical lead, or saboted bullets may be used with muzzleloading rifles, pistols and muskets. Handguns may be possessed during big game muzzleloader only seasons but may not be used to take big game unless they are muzzleloading handguns. Range-finding devices and optical scopes or sights that project no visible light toward the target and do not electronically amplify visible or infrared light may be used with any equipment. All firearms deer hunters and persons assisting them must wear blaze orange. In addition, all deer hunters (archery and firearms) must wear hunter orange during any open firearm season. A minimum of 100 square inches on the front and 100 square inches on the back must be visible. A blaze orange hat must also be worn.

Region 2 Hunter Education Class Location: Atchison Boys and Girls Club Dates: Sept. 13 - Sept. 14 Contact: David Rapson Time: 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm Other Information: Email David Rapson at david. rapson@us.army.mil to register for this class. All other questions & info contact George Matthias at (913) 370-6551 or (913) 8284229. Class will be held at the Atchison Boys & Girls Club, 1225 Ash St., Sept. 13, 6:30-10:30 p.m. and Sept. 14, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. YOU MUST attend both sessions. As amended and effective January 1, 2005 Kansas law provides: Anyone born on or after July 1, 1957 must be certified by an

approved course in hunter education before they can hunt in Kansas EXCEPT that anyone 15 years old and under may hunt without hunter education certification PROVIDED that they are under the direct supervision of an adult 18 years old or older. Effective July 1, 2007 individuals 16 or older may purchase a onetime deferral of the Hunter Education requirements by purchasing an Apprentice hunting license. Holders of Apprentice hunting licenses must hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter age 18 or older. Hunter Education Certification issued by any state, Canadian Province, or some foreign jurisdictions are deemed to meet the requirements of Kansas Law


Warriors of the cage

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By Logan Jackson

ours of hard work. Buckets of sweat. Plenty of cuts, bruises and blood. You enter the cage, stare down your opponent. The crowd goes wild. You focus on what it took to get to this stage. These next few moments will make all of that training, all of the long hours in the gym, worth it. Mixed martial arts fighting continues to draw large crowds. The intensity, athletic ability and skill of each fighter remains a large attraction across the country. “A lot of people just see it as people beating each other up,” Travis Courter said. “It’s a sport. There’s a lot of technique involved. It’s not a bloodbath like it used to be. There are a lot more rules in place now.” Courter owns and operates Bad Intentions in Atchison, a gym focused on MMA style fighting. He has about eight regulars that compete in fights. Courter has been involved in MMA for several years. He has retired from fighting – but has jumped into a coaching, promoting and sponsoring role. “The Bad Intentions part is the training center,” he said. “I coach these guys up. The big thing I do now is run a promotion, which is a pretty big promotion. We do a traveling show, and I do two shows a month. “If I didn’t have the promotion, I wouldn’t have the funding to run the gym. The gym doesn’t make money itself, but the shows do. I couldn’t have a show without the fighters, so they kind of go hand-in-hand.” Becoming an MMA fighter doesn’t happen overnight. Courter said he won’t throw someone in the cage unless he’s comfortable with their ability. “There are people that come in and want to fight right away,” he said. “I can’t put them in there if I know they’re not ready. Usually, the fast learners fight after three to six months. The guys that don’t come in enough or aren’t as quick at learning certain things usually fight after a year or so.” Workouts normally consist of cardio and weight lifting. The group doesn’t lift a lot of heavy weights, however. “When I work out, I run and lift in the mornings to start my day,” member Andre Hampton said. “I train in our gym from noon to 2 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and rest on Saturday. My training consists of a lot of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening, which can be very tough on your body if you don’t eat right and rest accordingly.

Jared Wilburn, right, and Andre Hampton do some grappling during a practice session. Both are members of Bad Intentions — and both wrestled in high school.

“When I have a fight coming soon, I eat six meals a day in small portions with no processed meat.” Diet is another key ingredient to MMA. Eating healthy and correctly can make or break a fighter. “Diet is a huge part of it,” Courter said. “Nutrition is a big part of your health. When you’re cutting weight, if you’re not eating right, you won’t be as strong as you could be.” A background in wrestling isn’t necessary for MMA fighters – but it does help. The members of Bad Intentions do a lot of sparring during practice, working with each other on their ground game. Member Jared Wilburn wrestled at Atchison High School as a senior. He joined the gym to stay in shape – and because he enjoys a good fight. “I train as often as possible,” he said. “I make sure to train a few days a week minimum. We throw punches, work on new submission moves, and go against each other for some live work. “MMA training is as tough as you make it. If you want to push yourself, the equipment and trainers are there to give you an extremely tiring workout.” Although Bad Intentions does have more than a handful of fighters, Courter said he has 10 to 15 members that train in the gym just to stay in shape. “A lot of people do it just for the health part,” he said. “Once you get into, though, it’s a lifestyle – and


if they stick around long enough, they usually get the itch to try it.” Staying in shape and promoting his fighters is Courter’s main goal for the gym. “My favorite part is the conditioning itself,” he said. “I really like seeing the guys achieve their goals. I like seeing fighters being treated fairly. A lot of places just use fighters for money. My company is all about helping the fighters. I want to do what I can for them.” As Courter’s promotion continues to grow, he hopes to find a local venue to host a fight. He’s hoping to host a show in Atchison as soon as he can. “I’ve got a lot interest,” Courter said. “A lot of people want me to throw a show here. I don’t know that I’ll be able to do it – but if we could find a spot, we’d love to put one here. We could put on a good show here.” A long battle ends in your favor. The referee raises your hand. The training, the hours spent in the gym, prove to be well worth it. “In MMA, I enjoy the support of

Andree McGowan goes through sparring drills during a training session at Bad Intentions.

family, friends and fans,” Hampton said. “To have people cheering you on is one of the greatest feelings in the world. It makes you feel loved and appreciated. The sportsmanship in MMA is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Grown men

pummel each other until submission – and hug after with appreciation. It’s a very emotional moment for all fighters.”

TF

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“55 before 55” By Craig Miller

“Now therefore give me this mountain. For I will surely conquer it.” Joshua 14:12 (KJV)

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s 600 riders converged on Idaho Springs (Colo.), to take part in the annual Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill climb, two riders from Kansas wondered if they would have what it takes to compete with the pack and reach the 14,264-foot summit. For Dr. Pete Rosa, M.D., and Mike Riley of Hiawatha, this wasn’t just a bike race up a mountain, it was one more step in their quest to climb all of the

14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. Rosa and Riley refer to it as “55 before 55,” meaning they want to conquer all 55 peaks, usually called the Fourteeners, ranging from 14,001-foot Sunshine Peak to the boulder-strewn summit of 14,433foot Mount Elbert, before they reach the age of 55. Up until now, the climbs were mostly on foot, save for last year’s bike race up Pikes Peak, but when they heard about the Mt. Evans Hill climb, they couldn’t resist. The Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Ev-

ans Hill climb is one of the oldest mountain races in Colorado. It is a 29-mile, hard-core bike race that starts in Idaho Springs and snakes its way up along the highest paved road in North America. The race starts at an altitude of 7,540 feet and proceeds to Echo Lake, where it turns and climbs close to the mountain’s 14,264-foot summit. Riders come from all over the United States for the climb and in the past, riders from France, Switzerland, Germany and Australia

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17

Dr. Pete Rosa, M.D., and Mike Riley conquer Mount Evans, checking off another peak on their “55 before 55” quest.

the highest part of the course, they would have to climb off their bikes and hike another 20 minutes to reach their goal. The paved road stopped well shy of the summit, before it headed back down the mountain. Since the pair were looking to knock off another Fourteener in their “55 before 55” quest, they would have to lay their bikes down and scale the rocks to the summit by foot. With burning thighs and little oxygen, they finally reached the top of the summit. As they took in the breathtaking view of the entire Front Range and Continental Divide, they knew they had conquered Mt. Evans and one more Fourteener they could cross off their list.

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have competed. “We knew it was a serious race, so we trained hard for it,” said Rosa. “We had ridden 25 to 70 miles a day, five days a week over the last few months to prepare.” When they sized up the competition on race day, however, they were surprised at the level of riders they were racing against. “They looked pretty tough,” Rosa said. “We thought we might get smoked for sure.” The race began bright and early Saturday morning, no wind or clouds in sight. With the wildflowers in full bloom and the occasional goat or two spying down from the rocks above, the racers headed up the switchbacks toward Echo Lake. As the two riders climbed toward the Lake, the air thinned. At 12,000 feet, they crossed the timberline and entered the alpine zone, one of the few areas below the Arctic Circle where alpine tundra is found. The Alpine Zone boasts intense solar radiation, high winds, and freezing temperatures that limit vegetation. Only lichens, wildflowers and other plants that can adapt to a short growing season can survive. “We pushed it pretty hard up the mountain,” said Rosa. “We quickly discovered we weren’t the quickest out there, but we were proud of the fact that we were able to keep up with the middle of the pack all the way to the top.” Rosa’s and Riley’s agendas were different than most, however. They knew once they reached


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f there is one thing Kansas Speedway has to offer, it’s this – a great time for a low price. As a racing experience tradition, fans can bring in a 14X14X14 cooler filled with all the food and beverages they can consume. If the cooler runs out, no need to worry. Fans can return to their cars to restock by receiving a pass out. As many sports fans know, it’s rare to get to enjoy a sporting event while enjoying cheap beverages and food. On top of that, there is no charge to park. “Without a doubt, I think we are very cost friendly,” said Kelly Hale, Kansas Speedway Public Relations Director. “Your only cost to come out would be your race ticket.” A ticket to a typical NASCAR series can run anywhere from 33 to 300 dollars, according to ticketliquidator.com’s pricing for the Oct. 5 NASCAR Nationwide Series event. Now, the NASCAR series is the most popular event at the venue, but the 72,000-capacity speedway hosts 30,000-some season ticket holders from all fifty states including six different countries. Kansas Speedway has

By Adam Burns even more to offer than its price-friendly rates. It showcased its new road race track on Aug. 16-17 in the Grand Am Road Racing Series, one of the premier road racing series in the world. The track is located on the infield and is a six turn, 6.37-mile course. “Road racing is all about the cars,” Hale said. “It’s about the Porshe’s or Ferrari’s, Lamborghinis, Mustangs and Corvette’s… That’s what the focus is more on.” This opens up more opportunity for increased interest and Hale believes it will bring more events, like the Grand Am Series, to Kansas. “It’s a great chance to expose the state of Kansas to these people,” Hale said. Outside of racing, the speedway hosts about 200 events a year. The events consist of charitable events, driving schools, business meetings, vendor shows and even police officer trainings. “People think we’re only here only a couple weekends of the year, but we’re here all year and we have a lot of stuff going on,” Hale said. The location couldn’t be much better. Surrounded by


the Legends shopping center, Sporting Park, among other booming businesses, Kansas Speedway continues to be successful despite a decrease in NASCAR attendance across the United States. From 2009-2012, attendance dropped 8.5 percent, according to a USA Today report. “This just seems to be one of the places to be in the area,” Hale said. “A lot of businesses look to this area

to build.” As many sports fans continue to moan about expensive days at an event, Kansas Speedway continues to offer one of the better deals around. “You don’t have to know anything about racing to be out here,” Hale said. “It’s definitely a great weekend to come out and spend with your buddies.”

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Photo courtesy Kansas Speedway

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