The 2011 Steel Stampede is a huge success!

What a great event! Almost 70 riders Saturday, and over 160 on Sunday. Sure was fun seeing everyone out there competing, volunteering, cheering, or just hanging around the pits sharing a beverage and a tall tale or two.

Anyone have any complaints or ideas on how we can improve next year?

I’ll chime in first and say that if you were a trials rider on Saturday who cut across from the dirt road up to section 7 (the sand section) and you felt your ears burning Sunday morning, it was because this old lady was busy raking your tracks and cussing your bad manners!

I know it sounds stupid, but we’ve got a couple of folks that live on the Ranch who want to shut down the race, last year they took pics of the off-trail tracks and made a big stink, so this year Pete asked everyone really nicely to please stay on the marked trails. So, why oh why were there folks that felt the need to do a little cross-country riding? Sigh. Okey-dokey, I’m off my soapbox and back to saying, WHAT A FREAKING AWESOME WEEKEND!

Seriously, could the weather have been any more perfect? And what a great group of volunteers! Many of ’em are out here supporting a sport they’re not involved in, and having a great time doing it – Crooked River Ranch Volunteers ROCK!

It was a natural terrain track, so it changed every lap, and boulders appeared in the course seemingly from nowhere, but you guys and gals took it all in stride and were absolutely flying out there.

I’m in the middle of posting huge batches of photos on flickr, I’ll have them listed by rider number so you can find yourself (just type your rider number and “Steel Stampede” into the Flickr search box). I saw many other photographers with some exceedingly nice equipment also documenting the action, so if they chime in with photo links, I’ll pass those along as I get them.

Pam’s Pics Here!

Matt Holloway’s Pics Here!

Just a few quick things that really stick out in my mind:

Listening to the birds sing in the crisp morning air, watching Dick Mann and the gang doing tech inspection.

Watching Ed Parsons have way too much fun driving that Rhino on the track delivering food to the workers before the race. Meals on Wheels on Speed!

Seeing Rod Kentner and Randy Limbeck walking the track kicking rocks before the race. So good to see these past super-fast locals out enjoying the day after both have suffered some extremely serious injuries in the past few years.

One of the racers breaking a clutch perch at the end of his first lap, restarting the bike and soldiering on to finish the race with his clutch lever flapping. That’s hard core.

Seeing tons of license plates from out of state and thinking how much cash it cost just for those riders to get to the race. That’s commitment, folks. You have my respect.

A row of small boys, all intently watching the racing. Who needs Playstation when you’ve got old bikes and fast riders?

Seeing something in the distance which stops me in my tracks. What the heck is that thing?

Smelling some very wild fuel mixes – from regular race gas, to oxygenated fuels, to something with acetone in it? Oh, and the Castrol! Dang, that stuff still smells cool, even though it gives me heartburn.

The pack of Hodakas – all four in a line during their second moto – I really love that 100 class, it’s super fun to watch.

So, what mental pictures did you take away from this weekend? It’s why we do this stuff, and why we’re not sitting at home watching reality tv, and why on Monday, when someone asks you what you did this weekend, you have something real and interesting to tell them.

Go ahead, brag a little, you earned it.