The highlight of the TATUR party is the awarding of the coveted Silver Spuds. Susan Melon Westmoreland put these together this year. I really liked the silver which almost looked like chrome. We had plenty of these to present this evening--but we'll get to that a bit further down in this post.
This past weekend concluded the Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series--a collection of TATUR and TATUR affiliated dirt trail races. Points were given for completing races. Each subsequent race completed earned progressively larger points. Bonus points were given for top 10 finishes. And best of all--volunteering also earned points.
The deal was--do ALL of the races by either running or volunteering, and there would be some nifty awards. Jana Graham, Sue Ann Bement, Jason Bement, Bryan Carpenter, Mike Rives, and did just that--perfect attendance. Little Blake Bement stands in for his dad, who was home sick with the flu. Brian helped hold up the red Christmas tree. (Brian has lately turned into the incredible shrinking man, and almost was completely hidden by the tree.)
These brass pocket compasses were engraved on the back--Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series
Never Quit Running
Pro: Keep this compass with you, and you'll never get lost.
Con: if you keep it in your back pocket, people will think it's a can of Skoal.
The winners of the Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series--well let's just say it was an Ochoa sweep.
Aaron entered every race, but had to drop on his last race at the Half and Half--but his relentless perfect attendance and top 3 finishes really racked up the points. He pretty well clinched the series by the 8th or 9th race. What can I say about Katie? She entered 8 races, and won 7 of them, and was 2nd in the only one she did not win.
Their award? A combination compass/sundial. This is actually an old-school Garmin. It is also waterproof up to 1000 feet.
Jennie, Brynna, Jen-O, and Sarah modeled some of the new TATUR uniforms. Brynna and Jen-O had on 6" heels, and were over 7' tall.
Stormy emceed the program for the most part. He has the gift for this. How does someone grab a mic and ramble for 30 hours, and still be funny after a day and a half of no sleep? Stormy always has a way of bragging about everyone, and tonight was no exception.
Most Improvved TATUR went to Scott Smaligo and Geoff Hanley. Yes--it was a tie. These two have both done a few ultras, both signed up for Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd, both finished in just over 26 hours--less than 4 minutes apart. I later heard that they actually did a lot of their training runs together. It was a very fitting tie-vote. Geoff could not be there, but Scott was delivering his spud.
Most Beat-Up Feet is an award that recognizes someone who runs a lot of races, does insane training, does running streaks (not naked), and yes--who has blistered/mangled feet as a result. Bryan finished the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd, and trained like a madman to get ready. Bryan would run after 8:30 in the evenings after his kids were in bed, running 8-12 miles every night, and back-to-back 20-30 milers on the weekends. And yes--his feet looked like someone had beat them with a small sledge hammer after his 100 miler. (I loved Stormy's outfit--right down to the blue boxers.)
TATUR Rookie of the Year went to Jeremy Wiley, Jeremy started coming to our Sunday and Tuesday runs on Turkey Mountain. He usually ran with the group that I led. He huffed and puffed and it seemed like I was killing him--but he always stayed up and kept coming back. By the end of summer, he was leading my group when I couldn't be there. He signed up to run the Red Dirt Shuffle Half Marathon and despite being a little nervous about the distance and despite the course being actually 14.5 miles long, Then he entered the Pumpkin Holler 50K, and again finished it easily and seemed like he could have gone out for another 31 miles. Now, he has his sights set on a belt buckle.
Most Inspirational TATUR went to Wes Rupell. Wes had some bad health issues this past year, with pneumonia, and then some heart trouble. His doctors orders were no running, and wear a heart rate monitor. Funny thing is though,they wanted him to walk--so he walked a half marathon up and down the halls of the hospital. Wes would come to our runs and take the monitor off and come walk with us but always ended up running. Now, Wes is BACK. He may not be running 100 milers. But he will never stop running.
Jbob Jones could not attend the party, but Aaron was gracious enough to take him his trophy Jbob won Best Performance in a Race for his win at the Pumpkin Holler 135.6. Jbob ran with trekking poles, which is allowed, and ran like a river current--smooth and relentless. Jbob took a nap, and Kathy Hoover came within a mile of catching him, but Jbob turned it on and finished strong. While Jbob had never entered a 100 miler before, he had paced a friend for 100 miles in the Tahoe 200, and I knew he was a lock to finish the 135.
Female TATUR of the year was given to Jenny Bailey. Jenny helped so much with the Tuesday/Sunday group runs often leading the fast group. Jenny finished 2nd at Lake McMurtry 50K, 2nd at Warior Princess, and 4th at Pumpkin Holler for her first 100 mile buckle. She earned her silver spud.
Poor Jason--home sick with the flu. :-( Besides scoring a cool brass antique compass, Jason won in a tie for Male TATUR of the Year. Jason is a steady-as-she-goes runner, and never seems like he is laboring at all. Besides running every ODTS race, he also had two top ten finishes. Jason is an encourager, somehow talking his wife Sue Ann to doing every race too, including their first 100K at Pumpkin Holler. We tried to figure out a way to put a long beard on the Silver Spud, but it ended up looking like a hairy skirt. But you know, Jason's beard is not that far from doubling as a hairy skirt.
I did mention that Male TATUR of the Year was a tie. (We had a panel of 8 voters) Cameron Plate won a share of Male TATUR of the year. Cameron ran nearly every race in the Dirt Series. He finished in the top 10 in all but one race, and he won at Warrior Princess. He also ran 112 miles at Across The Years 72 Hour, and 127 miles over 3 days at the Silverton 1000, where he and his brother Brandon were co-winners of the 72 hour event. In a few years, Cameron will be winning every race he enters.
A new award--the Mitchey--was presented to someone who selflessly volunteers, and has the knack of finding things that need done, and doing them without even being asked, and then expecting no thanks at all. This award was named after Mitch Drummond, who is selfless help--personified. This years Mitchey went to Edward Lebowsky, and as I expected, claimed he was not worthy. But he is worthy, appreciated, and a true friend. He declined having his picture taken, admitting to damaging expensive camera lenses in the past.
For the 9th year, we donated proceeds from Turkey and TATURs to the Westside YMCA, where the race starts and finishes. We Love the Y and they have been great to us.
Our friend Mitch Drummond (in the tux) is a huge supporter of the Westside YMCA, and posted on his Facebook wall.
"I must say last night was quite the honor - two of my favorite groups in the same room for food, celebration and a bit of bragging. TATUR (Tulsa Area Trail & Ultra Runners presented a nice check to the Westside YMCA and Camp Takatoka to help send kids to camp. It was awesome.
It's funny how opportunities and decisions can changes lives in unimaginable ways. I took my kids to camp one summer about 15 years ago. I liked the results so much I joined the board with the goal of helping send more kids to these great camps. During one board meeting someone said "a run group is having a race Saturday and asked for help." Well that was about 10 years ago and here we are. Still raising money to send kids to camp. I'm running more than I ever imagined (without my brother chasing me). I've met some great people. I've changed a few lives. And I can't wait to change more."
Thank you for the kind words, Mitch.
Most of the above pics are courtesy of Beyond Ordinary Life Photography Laurie did a fantastic job hosting the party, and taking pictures. Truly, I feel blessed to have such talented, generous, and amazing friends. Have a blessed Christmas and a joyous new year, my friends.