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Up until this past weekend New Hampshire had dominated the Vermont-New Hampshire all star games this year as the Green Mountain State hadn’t won a game. Things changed though as Vermont got a win and a tie in soccer and split the two games in basketball.

In the Lions Twin State 32nd annual girls game U 32’s Emily George scored with 1:02 left in the 2nd half to give Vermont a 2-2 tie. Black River’s Morgan Kathan who received the Vermont 12th Player Award also scored. Sarah Carlson from Bow High School scored for New Hampshire. Sarah will be playing her college soccer at Castleton. New Hampshire leads in the series 17--10 with 5 ties.

In the 40th annual boys game Vermont defeated New Hampshire 4-1. New Hampshire leads in the series 17-15 with 8 ties. Since 1975 in the 40 boys games played to this point New Hampshire has scored 71 goals and Vermont has scored 70.

It was a fantastic crowd on hand at Spartan Stadium and the Lions have to be very pleased with the turnout!

In the Twin State basketball games in the 32nd girls game Vermont defeated New Hampshire 79-66. West Rutland’s Morgan Raiche had 11 rebounds. Morgan along with twin sister Taylor will be playing her college basketball at Castleton. New Hampshire leads in the series 19-13.

New Hampshire won the 32nd boys game 91-75. Williamstown’s Jason Manraring who was the Vermont Michael Johnson MVP Award winner led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds. He’ll be playing his college ball at Castleton. New Hampshire also leads on the boys side 19-13.

The series standings are unofficial as there seems to be some discrepancies as to what the actual series records are. The basketball games were on hiatus for a couple of years.

The Vermont-New Hampshire scorecard this year now reads New Hampshire 6 Vermont 2 with 1 tie. Next up the granddaddy of all the Vermont-New Hampshire All Star games...the 61st annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in Hanover, New Hampshire on Saturday August 2nd. It’s hard to believe, but both Shrine football teams will be reporting to camp at Castleton later this week.

The Vermont Sports Media Association chose a 72-year-old marathon specialist, a junior softball pitcher from BFA-Fairfax High School, and a junior track and field athlete from Mount Mansfield Union as its athletes of the month for May.

Elected in statewide balloting of VSMA membership were Newton Baker of Montpelier as the Open Division Athlete of the Month, Kayla Mathieu of BFA-Fairfax as the High School Female Athlete of the Month, and Alec Eschholz of Mount Mansfield Union as the High School Male Athlete of the Month.

Each was first nominated by a VSMA member for his or her outstanding efforts during May.

In that month, Baker — who has undergone knee, ankle and prostate cancer surgeries — completed seven marathons in a span of 14 days, including the New England Challenge of five marathons in five days in five states. Baker then finished the Shires of Vermont Marathon a day later and later added his 26th consecutive Key Bank Vermont City Marathon. Baker has run in all of the Key Bank marathons since the event was founded.

Also nominated for the Open Division award was Castleton State College freshman women’s lacrosse player Kim Gosselin.

In two of May’s biggest meets, Eschholz owned the hurdling events. In the Burlington Invitational he won the 110-meter high hurdles and 300 intermediate hurdles, setting meet records of 14.66 and 39.12, respectively. At that meet, Eschholz also won the long jump with a 21'6" leap, and his 5'10" high jump was good for third.

At the Essex Invitational, Eschholz won the 110m high hurdles in a meet-record 14.64, and then broke a state record set in 1987 in the 300 intermediate hurdles with a time of 38.34. He also took second in the long jump at 21'1.5".

Eschholz outpolled Poultney senior baseball player Sean Shepardson and Middlebury Union senior lacrosse player Sam Usilton.

In May, Mathieu, Vermont’s Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, dominated every lineup she faced, going 9-0 to improve her career record to 34-0 through the end of the month. For the month, her earned run average was 0.25, and she walked fewer than one batter per game while averaging 2.1 strikeouts per inning. At the plate, she batted .600 with a .696 on-base percentage and a 1.230 slugging percentage.

Mathieu earned the VSMA nod among a field of five nominees that included U-32 senior lacrosse player Nicole Lavigne, Otter Valley Union senior softball player Cortney Poljacik, and two senior track and field athletes, Katherine Furland of Essex and Hannah Merriam of Peoples Academy.

The three May winners will receive plaques from the VSMA’s sponsor of the organization’s Athlete of the Month program, Initial Ideas of Rutland.

More information about the VSMA is available from organization president Josh Kaufmann of the St. Albans Messenger at josh@samessenger.com.

Bill Bowes will be leaving his job as the Castleton womens hockey coach and golf coach to take a position with the womens hockey program at the University of New Hampshire.

I wish Bill the best of luck and nobody can say he left the cupboard bare at Castleton. The future is bright for Castleton womens hockey. That being said Bill will be missed. He is just a wonderful person and a class act!

It was a great speech delivered to the camp participants by new Castleton head football coach Tony Volpone before the scrimmages on the final night of the Southern Vermont Football Camp at Rutland High last week.

The Vermont State American Legion baseball tournament gets underway this Thursday July 24th at Castleton and will wrap-up on Monday July 28th. A few games will be played at St. Peter’s Field in Rutland the first couple of days of the tournament.

Catch you next week!

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Finish Line

Duprey wins 4th of season at Malta

Defending street stock champion Billy Duprey is on fire at Albany Saratoga Speedway. On Friday night he notched his 4th win of the season and 2nd consecutive on Hungry Mike Ronca memorial night. In the modified division Kenny Tremont picked up his 2nd win of the season. Mike Ostrander was the sportsman winner and Kim Duell the pro stock winner. Rob Maxon took the checkers in the limited sportsman.

At Devils Bowl Friday night Ron Proctor ended a long drought by winning the modifed feature. Todd Stone was 4th and John Scarborough 5th. Bucko Branham was the late model victor with Robert Bryant 4th and Josh Masterson 5th. Jamy Begor won the renegade division and Chris LaVair bested Chuck Bradford in the mini stock division.

At Lebanon Valley Speedway Saturday night Brett Hearn took the win in the modified division and Manchester's Chuck Towslee was the pro stock feature winner. The Valley was in action again on Sunday night as David Gravel picked up the World of Outlaws Sprint Car feature win and Brett Haas was the 358 modified feature winner. A good run by Frank Hoard III finishing 6th.

Stewart Freisen continued his winning ways at Fonda Speedway. Patrick LaPerle won the ACT International 300 at Airborne Speedway Sunday afternoon.

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Don Chioffi

Vermont State Fair Edition

By Donald J. Chioffi, President, VSF

Well, just where do we begin this edition? It is now approaching August and following the 4th of July since 1846 farmers and citizens all over the state have looked forward to agricultural fairs all over the country, including, for sure, one of the oldest and proudest in that country right here in Rutland Vermont at the old Rutland Park, now the Vermont State Fairgrounds.

If we go back to February when I got a call from three of the Trustees of the Rutland County Agricultural Society then I will be able to tell you all just why this Fair has been in existence continuously since that date except for the world war. It was at that time in February that the board informed me that there was a sizeable delinquency in the accounts of the Society, and that they had no choice but to dismiss the President and General Manager since the books and records of the organization were in a shambles. After giving me that great news, they asked if I would consider becoming the President, at least until December until the Annual Meeting of the Society. Under any normal circumstances any member of this proud organization would be flattered to be offered the Presidency. But then, with the ship still barely afloat, holes in its stern and bow, ripped and tattered sails, to be offered the captaincy seemed a dubious honor, at best. But the challenge, oh, the challenge! Far too great to resist. My love of the organization, my love of the Fair, my great respect for agriculture and a chance to make some lasting contributions to a community that has been my family's lifetime home would let me give but one answer to their request---yes---but not without trepidation.

Fast forward to July 18 and I can tell you this with conviction. This is the hardest, most challenging, most complicated and sometimes the most frustrating job that I have ever had in my 69 years on this earth and that is precisely why I now know just why the fair has survived all these years in spite of pestilence, wars, floods, and other financial challenges greater than the one we faced at this time.

But this is Sams Good News---and the one thing we do NOT do here is dwell on the negative. Right from the start, I experienced the support of a board of directors, the trustees and the officers of the RCAS---a support that I have never witnessed in my membership years to this date. We have met, as a board, every week since February and the standing joke is just what time is 8 O'clock, really. Meeting from 6 to 8, our meetings have never finished 'till 10:45 even once since then. Not one whimper---just the continuing question at 9, 9:30, 9:45, and 10----"Don, is it 8 yet?" And on we go.

With limited income until we conduct our premier event this Aug 29th through September 7, we have managed still to pay off around $120,000 of an estimated $200,000 debt from unpaid 2014 bills. At the same time we are shrinking down our contracted obligations for many causes, certainly including the fact that we do not have any money---and who in their right mind would contract for tens of thousands of obligations knowing full well that there was no money to pay those obligations.

But success is right ahead and you all should know it. Our 2014 VERMONT STATE FAIR brochure is coming out this week and the lineup is as good as you ever have seen. We have attempted to bring in ground acts that provide both entertainment and also a product of value for our patrons. Al the Artist is an accomplished Carricature Artist of over 30 years and his wife Cindy is also an accomplished Face Painter. Both will be providing FREE entertainment and souveniers for all our patrons all over the midway. We have a great talent in Jason Gibbons, THE WHITE SHADOW, who will not only entertain you with his incredible BASKETBALL talents, but will work directly with kids of all ages showing them how to do those tricks. There are FREE acts every day on the sugarhouse stage, and Truck and Garden Tractor pulls FREE on the main track at the grandstand. The Coleman Carnival Midway is top notch and there are some new twists this year. Maple, dairy, 4H, and all the wonderful Agricultural exhibits are all set to go, along with Fish And Game and, of course, the famous Racing Pigs. The kids and adults alike will love the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo where all can get some "hands on" encounters with some wonderful animals. And for all our horse lovers, a great treat is in store with the great riding antics and perfection of the HORSES, HORSES, HORSES show.

We have three great Demolition Derbies with all the smashes and crashes and thrilling rollovers that are characteristic of a Stoney Roberts event, culminating with the State Championship on Saturday night at 7.

And Sunday, September 7, GOVERNOR'S DAY, our last day at the fair, we intend to pack the whole place with a tremendous BENEFIT EVENT called VERMONTERS FOR VERMONTERS. This will be a star studded showcase of talent that will wow all audiences and will be on for the entire day from 11 on till evening. We have witnessed the devastation that drug addiction has caused all over our state and we are committed to breaking this cycle of personal destruction. This event will raise funds for the Rehabilitation and after care for those so affected by assisting Dismas House and Project Vision to accomplish their goals. We owe this to our community, and we owe it to ourselves----these are not strangers---these are our own people, and no one has not been touched by this scourge. Let us pack our grandstand all day and listen to some awesome music provided by Joey Leone's Chop Shop, Bow Thayer and the Perfect Trainwreck, The Jeremy Graham Band, and The Ashley Buchart Band, both out of Nashville. Every dime of the $10 paid for this Event will go to the Benefit---and the Admission to the Fair will be only $5, half price, for all those buying an Event ticket.

And lastly, since I am the biggest kid at any event and it didn't take much convincing for my board to agree wholeheartedly, we have changed the pricing structure at our Fair. Fairs are for kids of all ages but Fairs are especially for kids. Kids 12 and under, accompanied by adults, will be welcomed at our Fair at NO CHARGE all week---anytime---period! And we have the best parking anywhere in the city----right on our grounds, every day, for the low price of $4 all day, with security and a shuttle provided for our patrons.

I can smell the sausages, the dough, the onions, and the cotton candy just by the writing of all this, and if you had not guessed it already, yes, the holes in the ship have been patched, there are some new sails and there have been some favorable winds---and one heck of a lot of hard work by a very dedicated group of officers, trustees, and directors. The only thanks they ask is that you come and enjoy the tremendous bargain of entertainment and fun you will have at this year's VERMONT STATE FAIR. As we say----you can TASTE THE FUN----and-----OF COURSE YOU'RE COMING!

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