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It was quite a weekend, when you could go running with the Duluth East Greyhounds, or rollerblading with the In-Line Marathon. Or you could make the drive to Bayfield and Big Top Chautauqua to see a memorable concert by Trampled by Turtles.
I had time after watching St. Scholastica romp to hustle home and pick up my wife, Joan, for the drive to Big Top, and, as usual, Trampled by Turtles put on a crowd-pleasing show that featured a blend of quite a few of their earliest songs along with some of their newest.
Ringleader Dave Simonett was in great form as lead singer, and his guitar playing was much more prominent than usual in the TbT bluegrass-rock-folk style. Erik Berry’s mandolin was right on, and Ryan Young looked like a wild man on the fiddle, while Banjo Dave Carroll was his usual self on banjo. Tim Saxhaug, who plays electric bass, was also in fine form, and led the group with a solo on its first encore piece.
Off to the right, Eamonn McLain, who has been an intriguing background performer on upright bass, moved to the front line and was exceptional in helping with some new arrangements of Turtles classics. His long notes were ideal accents on several songs.
The best treat for me was the group sang “Separate,” my personal favorite for its instrumental interludes, but is rarely a part of Turtles concerts in recent years. That was just one of several restructured staples from the first of their nine albums, but it was the best.
Duluth East has the Edwards twins leading the way, with Jaden Edwards and his left-handed quarterbacking, and Jaxon Edwards who plays wide receiver and linebacker. But against Proctor Friday night at Ordean Field, the Rails battled but couldn’t contain East’s Greyhound-like speed.
Derek Daniels opened the game by running back the opening kickoff for a stunning touchdown, and later he ran a sweep around right end that looked like the old Paul Hornung sweeps by the Green Bay Packers. Except that Hornung was never a state track meet 100-yard dash star, like Daniels is. It worked so well that he made a repeat performance on the same play later.
Still later, Elijah Leonard burst through the line and outran the Rails for another long touchdown, and the Hounds won 28-9. With the explosive rushing attack combined with the passing and play-calling of Edwards, East may be a threat to North Branch this week.
The world sports story of last weekend was not the Vikings giveaway at Green Bay, it was the women’s championship won by Julie Brandt-Glass, a 40-year-old from Grand Rapids, Mich., with a time of 1:22:42.89, edging Sarah Hopkins of Calgary, Alberta, who was right at her elbow
in 1:22:43.14. They were at the front of the lead pack of elite runners, who pay extra to get a two-minute head start ahead of the also-rans.
Trouble was, three of the “also rans” also rolled right past the elite rollers and got to the finish line three minutes ahead of them! Georgia Birkeland, 17, from White Bear Lake, hit the finish line in 1:19:08.78, and Katrina Brown, 14, of Downingtown, Pa., was second, and Sarah Smith, 36, of Thomasville, N.C., was third. The third-place time was 1:19:17.6 — still more than three minutes ahead of Brandt-Glass. But race officials declared that only those who paid the tariff to compete at the elite level could win the event.
Oh yeah, Ewen Fernandez, 30, from France, was the men’s winner at 1:03:57:77. But when the winner finishes three minutes behind the first three to the finish line, the Inline Marathon has some sprainin’ to do.
In motorsports, Jason Line won the Pro Stock event, which is the cause for great celebration in Wright, Minnesota, and he moved into the season points lead as well. Appropriate timing, we might add, because the NHRA just made the announcement that because of too many contenders for the pro levels, they were going to start rotating one of them — Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock — out so that each of them will have four fewer events to run.
Very strange, particularly when the announcement pointed out that next summer’s NHRA meet at Brainerd will not have Pro Stock! This year, Jason Line won the Pro Stock event and it was spectacular, and because he and Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson from Duluth are local contenders in the class, it holds the same prestige, if not more, than Top Fuel and Funny Car.
Big mistake, NHRA. But we don’t think they’re listening.
My prediction that the Chicago Bears will repeat as division champion in the NFL stands. Mitch Trubisky led the Bears to an improbable last-second victory over Denver Sunday. After the Bears yielded a long drive for Denver’s touchdown to make it 13-12, the Broncos went for a 2-point conversion and made it, to go ahead 14-13 with 31 seconds left. Trubisky came through with three or four big pass plays, the last one as time expired, but the officials ruled time out had been called as the clock went to zero, so one second remained. Out trotted Eddy Pinero, Chicago’s rookie kicker, and he kicked a 53-yard field goal — the longest of his brief career — and the Bears won 16-14.