Colorado driver wins 2012 Donald E. Erickson Memorial Chariot Race
In spite of the Friday evening snowfall, Saturday was more favorable for the 32nd annual Donald E. Erickson Memorial Chariot Races at Buck Springs east of Saratoga, Wyo., although the snow added more work for track maintenance crews. The chariot races were the main event, but Mother Nature provided another race on Sunday afternoon when snowflakes again began to threaten.
Wade Swingle of Brighton, Colo., and his team, Dueces Wild, had the best combined time for the weekend, to win the Interstate Racing Association Traveling Trophy, and the Dave Pennock “Good Times” trophy, donated by Rosemary Erickson. Swingle had the fastest time of the races both days, 22.77 seconds Saturday and 22.68 Sunday, for a total of 45.45 that won the number one spot in the first division.
The Norman Epler Memorial Race was won by Leather and Lace, driven by Betty Williams of Dubois, with a time of 23.68. The trophy for the race picked at random on Sunday, was a hand blown glass chariot team, donated by Patty Lufkin.
First Division Winners were: First Place: Dueces Wild, Driver, Wade Swingle (45.45); Second: Quick N Hot, Driver-Mike Johnson (45.63); Third: Call Me Anything, Driver, Clancy Henderson (46.24); Fourth: Gary Matheson, Driver, James Olguin (46.29).
Second Division Winners were: First: Leo and Joan Seely, Driver, Leo Seely (46.59); Second (tie): Pines Bar, Driver, Jim Stoker (46.70); Second (tie): Gilliam’s Pretty Pennies, Driver, Lara Gilliam (46.70); Fourth: Bailey’s Boys, Driver, Mike Johnson(46.83).
Third Division Winners were: First: Marv and Carol, Driver, Roy Morgan (47.00); Second:Horse Creek Express, Driver, John Williams (47.20); Thirrd: Equine Addiction, Driver, Dave Brant (47.29); Fourth: Cream of the Crop, Driver, David Walker (47.31).
Fourth Division Winners were: First: Mike and Peggy Johnson, Driver, Mike Johnson (47.86); Second-Eisele Racing, Driver, Roy Morgan (48.98); Third: Lady and the Tramp, Driver, David Walker (49.03); Fourth: Montezuma’s Revenge, Driver, Jed Hernandez (49.88).
Cash awards were $400 for first place in each division, $300 for second place in each division, $200 for third place and $100 for fourth place. Jackets from Pepsi of Rawlins, Wyo., were also awarded to winners in each division; Packy and Jennifer Bowen gave caps to second, third, and fourth place winners in each division, and all ties received equal awards.
First place awards in each division were sponsored by Wyoming Beverage; cash prizes were sponsored by the Saratoga Lions Club and other local sponsors. Cash prizes of $200 were also awarded to the winner of each race each day. A total of $8,000 was given out over the course of the weekend.
On Saturday evening race participants, fans and area residents attended the prime rib buffet catered by the Wolf Hotel in the Community Center. A Calcutta for Sunday’s races followed after the banquet. Calcuttas were also held at trackside both days.
There were many winners over the weekend with all the prizes awarded, the Calcutta winners, and the excitement experienced by racers and spectators alike. In spite of the chilly conditions, most spectators were probably thankful for a chance to be outdoors to cure their cabin fever.
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