Celebrations of cars and football

Posted 9/27/23

Quilcene had it all on a recent weather-perfect Saturday. The Quilcene Fair and Parade satisfied all of your needs with a car show, a football game, a “burnout,” craft booths, food …

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Celebrations of cars and football


Quilcene had it all on a recent weather-perfect Saturday. The Quilcene Fair and Parade satisfied all of your needs with a car show, a football game, a “burnout,” craft booths, food trucks, live music and a parade. And yes, there were several thousand folks cheering it all on.

We lucked out finding a parking spot near the parade route making it easy for us to see the Boy Scouts leading the procession and carrying flags. Then came some of everything you might expect: vintage cars with princesses throwing candy, fire trucks, logging trucks, political floats, and so on. The car show held almost 200 trucks and cars with the owners worried that the upcoming football game could put a dent in their pride and joy. I know of at least one entrant who left at the outset of the game since he was parked perilously near the end zone. The nearby “burnout” appeared to be won by the driver who was able to most quickly blow a tire. The event was characterized by the expected distasteful smoke and smell generated by burning up tires on one’s car. I suspect the event was sponsored by Firestone tires. Don’t forget, the East Jefferson Rotary Club is sponsoring a car show this Saturday in Port Ludlow at the Yacht Club. I know you will be there! No “burnouts” are planned.     

Regular readers will recall that BJ and I went to rival NCAA Division 3 schools, DePauw University and Wabash College in Indiana. There are 243 Division 3 football schools. The question is if any of those Division 3 schools have ever won against those big guys like the University of Washington or the Ohio State University or Notre Dame teams which are three of the 261 schools in Division 1? Wabash actually played perennial powerhouse Notre Dame 10 times and has a record of 1-9. The last game was in 1924 and the lone win came in 1905.

Ohio is one of the football hotbed states where football is enthusiastically celebrated every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the fall. The state is even home to the National Football League Hall of Fame in Canton. OSU has one of the most successful records in Division 1 football with eight national championships, 41 conference championships and 10 undefeated seasons including six perfect fall campaigns. OSU played Notre Dame last weekend and now holds a 6-2 record against the Fighting Irish who last beat the Buckeyes in 1936! Seven Buckeyes have received the Heisman Trophy with Archie Griffin earning it twice. The Ohio State Buckeyes are indeed an elite football team having not even lost to another Ohio college since 1921. My friend Greg Patten has alerted me to the history of that game.

As it turns out, the last Ohio college team to beat the Buckeyes was the Oberlin College Yeomen, now an academically elite Division 3 school in Oberlin, Ohio, about an hour north of Columbus. Back in 1921 Oberlin’s football program was a pretty big deal with its own rich football roots. Oberlin’s 1892 football team was undefeated as was the 1921 team. The 1892 team had a player named John Heisman who is seen by many to be one of the greatest football players to ever play the game. And, yes, they named the trophy after him, presented annually to the year’s best college football player. On a soggy October Saturday in 1921 in Columbus, the over- confident Buckeyes fell to the motivated Yeomen 7-6. The Yeomen then became a footnote in the dark webs of college football history, the last Ohio college football team to beat Ohio State.

As you might suspect, my friend Greg Patten is an alumnus of Oberlin and like Wabash and DePauw it is an NCAA Division 3 school. Coincidentally, Wabash College played Oberlin last Saturday, thrashing the Yeoman 59-6. As you also might suspect, as do I, there was a much larger number of folks interested in the local and national Division 1 games like Notre Dame versus OSU, the University of Washington versus the University of California and the PAC 2 championship game between Washington State and Oregon State. However, do any of those folks know where John Heisman went to college?

Love a curmudgeon, cheer for your team and have a great week!

Leader cartoonist blows the whistle on public-land abusers

Dozens of TVs, refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and abandoned cars had either been gunshot, torched or both.

This place of destruction was what some locals called “Carnage Canyon,” roughly 30 acres off Lefthand Canyon in Boulder County, Colorado.

It was a shocking sight, but was it unique? Think about your own nearby public lands.

This canyon’s history began with mountain biking. Sometime in early 2000, a mountain biker discovered the canyon and developed a trail through it. Then, more bikers came in droves and “motocrossers” also loved it, particularly because nobody was around making rules or telling them what to do.

Nobody complained to the Forest Service, the managing federal agency.

After them came people in Jeeps who liked to plow through mud, crawl over big rocks and climb up the sides of the canyon. They also widened the trail into a one-lane, eroded dirt road.

Still other folks figured the canyon was a great place to dispose of junk cars and appliances until the place began to resemble an open landfill. Target practice came next. Still, no one complained.

What else happened to this much-abused canyon? A murder and manhunt followed by a homeless people whose encampments were not healthy for what was left of the woods. Yet none of this was the cause for restoring the canyon to its original state.

Hey, there were no complaints! 

But here’s how erosion changed things. It brought water carrying large amounts of silt down past the canyon's mouth and into Lefthand Creek. After the silt killed all the aquatic insects, the trout left. It was people who liked fishing for trout who demanded that the steam be fixed, and that meant the canyon had to be restored.

The Forest Service invited two nonprofit groups — Wild Lands Restoration Volunteers and Trail Ridge Road Runners — and Walsh Environmental Services to restore the canyon.

Over seven years, bullet-ridden debris was hauled away and the squatters discouraged. But it took hundreds of volunteers to dam the erosion channels — one 20 feet deep — and replant grass, shrubs and trees in the trashed roads and open areas. 

Some areas had eroded so steeply that a person could stand upright, reach out and touch the ground. Hay bales used to mulch grass seeds would tumble down the slope like bison stampeding over a cliff. 

But one problem remained and it was a big one: target shooting. A number of “near misses” made many shooters uneasy. There were also five documented shootings involving Forest Service employees and 10 complaints from area residents about flying bullets too close for comfort.

When the Forest Service erected signs closing the area to recreational shooting, their signs became targets riddled with bullet holes. But after the canyon was damaged by flooding in 2013, motorized access became blocked and target shooting was phased out.

These days, the canyon no longer looks lunar, fish are finally back and silt traps at the bottom of the canyon are almost empty. Mountain bikers are welcome on designated trails.

Locals liked to blame tourists, newcomers and outsiders for the illegal dumping, vandalism and unregulated shooting in the mountains. But Carnage Canyon’s problem areas were not tourist destinations, and most of the broken appliances and shot-out signs were problems well before the surge of newcomers.   

The truth is that when damage occurs over the decades, it is usually done by people who live in the area. We have to put the blame where it belongs, and that’s on us. We are the yahoos who do this, not Californians or Texans.

It’s also true that no government agency will act unless we complain. So when there’s an opportunity to participate in planning for what the agency calls “travel management,” we need to get involved.

I was one of the volunteers who worked several summers to help restore the battered landscape once called Carnage Canyon. The work was rewarding, as all improvements were better than what was there, but volunteers shouldn’t have to be called in to clean everything up.

Federal agencies need to be better protectors of the public lands they manage for us. And when we see rampant abuse, we need to blow the whistle to protect the lands we all own.


Rob Pudim is a contributor to Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, an independent nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West.


One of the major components of aging in good spirits boils down to the daily practice of being happy no matter the terrain. This is said with a good deal of clarity because I learned the concept from some experts. I became acquainted with the true spirit of aging well through association with several ninety-plus folks who crossed my path (particularly one sweet guy who made it to one hundred).

The common denominator I noticed with all these sweet souls can be defined in one simple word - happy. No matter their personal challenges, they found joy in the small stuff. They were a merry lot. Ever since knowing them I’ve been a student of aging well. 

When I was getting my writing career going, I worked part-time as a fitness trainer in a hospital-affiliated wellness program. My favorite exerciser was Jake. He was small and frail, his pulse was close to impossible to detect and his blood pressure was low. Jake was one hundred years old.

On one particular day in class he wobbled some getting up from the chair, leaning with both hands on his walker for support. He concerned me, so I linked an arm through his and applied a death grip to the underside of his forearm. Jake smiled and patted my other hand that was tightly attached to his upper arm and we shuffled toward a stationary bike. I adjusted the seat, helped him climb on, and secured his feet on the pedals and hands on the bars. He pushed one foot down and the pedals and handlebars began a slow rotation. His leg and arm muscles quivered. I stepped closer. His body stabilized and he pedaled a little harder. I was worried.  What if a foot slipped off the pedal and he fell?  What if he passed out?  What if his hundred-year-old heart just quit? 

“Tell me how you’re feeling, Jake,” I asked in an insistent voice.

He grinned and pedaled faster.

“How hard do you feel you’re working?” I quizzed.

He winked, raised both thumbs up, and began to sing.

“On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again.”

The others in the class howled with delight, and Jake continued on with his Willie Nelson tune. I sniveled through laughter and tears, and by the time my playful centenarian stopped singing I knew I wanted to embrace life and age happy despite all the usual ups and downs.

Jake’s classmates were equally inspiring. Coping with heart issues, diabetes, COPD, all accepted their limitations, didn’t complain about stuff they couldn’t change, enjoyed the exercise activities they could participate in to improve mental and physical well-being and were pleasant and fun to be around.

When compared to other older folks who were a bit cranky, the cheerful crowd seemed to have a better quality of life. And they lived longer, each with a joyful heart and something in each day to appreciate.

“Did you see our beautiful sunrise?”  “My arthritis is better today.” “Had a nice chat with my son.” “My cat makes me laugh.” “Daffodils ready to pop.” I look back on all of them with gratitude and love. They made aging look like fun, or at least like something worth doing well.

Just a few days ago there was a woman featured on the news. She was one hundred five years old. She loved baseball, her garden, her family, her neighbors. She laughed readily and her happiness was contagious. When the reporter asked the usual secret to aging question, the old woman’s eyes sparkled when she said, “I do love a good chocolate cake.” I’m not sure about all that sugar, but what a fun-loving gal.

Personally, I’m finding this aging-in-good-spirits concept not quite as easy as my old exercisers made it seem. For someone who frets over stuff and occasionally whines over nothing, it sometimes seems like a bloody full-time job, but I’m making progress, keeping on that positive road with fond memories of my one-hundred-year-old crooner.

Carole Marshall is a retired feature writer for a national magazine and author of three books.