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Date of Issue: June 22, 2006

200 NASCRAB races and counting

In 1994, Greg Koeper saw his first crab race in Illinois at a place called Dawn's that was owned by a guy named Dan. He made a mental note to himself that if he ever owned his own pub or tavern, he would host crab races there.

Koeper didn't realize how popular crab racing, a.k.a. NASCRAB, would turn out to be. Koeper, along with Kathy Houck and Kerry and Cathy Freesen, own Grego's

Almost to the Beach Tavern, which opened in February 2001. They have hosted NASCRAB - National Association of Safe Crab Racing in Bars - every Thursday since May of that year to the delight of people from all walks of life.

Thursday, June 8, marked the 200th race at the local watering hole at 4332 Palma Sola Blvd. in Bradenton. Every "crab jockey" received a gift for participating in the races, which took place amid many balloons and streamers, creating a festive racing atmosphere.

After the race, everyone in attendance enjoys a piece of cake to commemorate the occasion.

There have been some changes or modifications throughout the 200-race history. Initially, prospective jockeys would sit and wait for the announcement to come and pick a crab. It was at this moment that the really competitive jockeys stood out, resulting in Koeper "tweaking" the system by handing out numbered tickets to make the "draft" more orderly.

Flailing was another issue that had to be dealt with in order to preserve the "dignity of the sport." NASCRAB quickly adopted harsh consequences for any jockeys whose flailing, pointing and bobbing motions adversely affect the outcome of a race.

The first flailing offense - by the driver, not the crab - results in him/her being banished to the flailing carpet and donning the flailing cap. It is hoped that this humiliation will curtail this "affront to fair competition."

Bradenton resident Jeff Marx is a flailer. When asked why, he stated, "I can't control myself."

While Marx may be the Tony Stewart of NASCRAB, Ellen Benjamin has to be the Richard Petty. Benjamin is the career leader in NASCRAB wins with three, and she doesn't appear to be slowing down with a win this past month.

In NASCRAB, jockeys "rent" a crab for $1 and race in heats against four or five other crabs. The crabs start out in the middle of a round table and race to the edge with the top two crabs crossing the finish line advancing to the next round. The process is repeated for round two with six or eight crabs emerging to race in the championship round for the coveted NASCRAB T-shirt and assorted prizes.

Prizes are provided by longtime sponsors River Forest Animal Hospital, Bob's Golf, Strands Hair Salon, Blood Bank of Manatee and Americom.

If you haven't tried NASCRAB, get on out to Grego's Almost to the Beach Tavern by 7 p.m. on Thursdays, but remember, NO FLAILING!

 

Go skateboarding day set for June 21

Go skateboarding day is set for June 21. Skaters and any other kids for that matter are encouraged to go out on that day and do whatever it is that they love to do. So get on down to the Holmes Beach skateboard park and have fun.

For more information, check out the Web site goskateboardiase.org.

 

Horseshoe news

Debbie Rhodes threw a "six pack," or double ringer, to close out her third consecutive trip to the winner's circle at the weekly horseshoe competition at the Anna

Maria City Hall pits. Rhodes teamed up with husband Tom to win the June 3 championship by a 22-12 score over the team of John Johnson and Steve Doyle.

Johnson and Doyle jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but the Rhodes poured it on to win in convincing fashion.

Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by random team selection.

There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.

 

Key Royale golf news

Meredith Slavin shot a one-under-31 to capture the Key Royale Club women's low-net golf competition on June 6. Sue Hookem and Joyce Reith tied for second in

Flight 1 with scores of even par.

Rose Slomba shot a 35 to win top honors in Flight 2 by one shot over Markie Ksiazek, Jean Winegarden and Pat Weingart.

The ladies also had an "if only game" where a player's gross score was improved by subtracting their worst hole and their handicap. Joyce Reith and Meredith Slavin tied for first with a score of 24, while Pat Weingart finished a shot back with a 25.

Dee Bassett on No. 6 and Rosewitha Fowler on No. 4 each had chip-ins on the day.

 

AMICC basketball camp news

The Anna Maria Island Community Center's "Driven" summer basketball camp is now accepting applications. Players ages 9-13 are encouraged to sign up for the two-week camp that will focus on teaching techniques to improve a player's offense, defense, independent thinking, sportsmanship, ball handling and shooting.

Cost for the camp is $35. The camp will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday, June 19-30, except for the first day, which starts with orientation at 11 a.m.

Registration deadline is June 16.

For more information, contact the Center's Andy Jonatzke at 778-1908.

 

Center news

Catch a game of adult pickup basketball from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m on Wednesday evenings. The cost to play in the "cool" (air-conditioned) gym is only $2 per player.

Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the United States, is being played at the Anna Maria Island Community  Center on 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Pickleball, a combination of tennis and badminton, is played by two or four people using wooden paddle/racquets and a whiffle ball. If you are over 21 years of age and interested in this exciting new game, come on down to the Center. Cost is $2 and information about league signups is expected at a later date.

For more information, contact the Center at 778-1908.

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