2nd-Brian K. Veerkamp
2nd-Davey “Doc” Wiser
High School Challenge
1st-Golden Sierra (Samuel Steward/Dominic Johnson)
2nd-Ponderosa (Austin Tibbs/Zach Brenner)
Since 2004, siblings Dylan and Makenzie Snyder have won a Father’s Day wheelbarrow race a combined nine times.
Add two more to that list.
Competing at the 69th running of the John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Races at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, the 23 year-old Coloma twins swept their respective divisions — Dylan winning the men’s championship race and Makenzie the women’s race.
This year’s victories marks the first time they’ve won the mens/womens divisions the same year. The duo won the teen boys and girls divisions in 2006 and ’07. Makenzie won three consecutive Teen Girls races from 2005 to ’07, and the women’s races in 2008, ’09 and last year. Dylan won the Teen Boys races in 2004, ’06 and ’07.
Dylan’s victory earned him a check from the Placerville Kiwanis for $1,000, a belt buckle and his name on the historic trophy. Makenzie picked up a $500 check, also from Kiwanis.
Each competitor starts with a wheelbarrow, a sack and a gold pan. The object of the race is navigate — with wheelbarrow — an obstacle course toting the required amound of ore.
At the starting line, racers sprint toward a sand pile (ore) and work their way around the challenging course. Before crossing the finish line the racers must traverse through the ever-popular shallow mud pit.
The competitor who meets the required weight of ore in their sacks — 50 pounds for men, 30 for women — qualify to win in the order they finished. The weight decreases for the younger age groups.
Dylan led from the start in the evening’s final race. Crossing over the fallen tree after picking up his ore, Brian Veerkamp, 55, last year’s defending champ, was on Dylan’s feet. But after crossing over the trestles and railroad ties, Dylan built his lead as he and other contestants went through the rattlesnake gulch and pit for the win.
“I started on the right so I had to cut over to the left side of the course,” Dylan said. “That way I can make my first entrance onto the obstacle (fallen tree) a lot quicker. I was able to get out front early and avoid getting into traffic. I think my quick start helped me win the race today.”
Dylan had 74.65 pounds of ore to win the race. Veerkamp carried 64.50 pounds.
Makenzie also got off to a fast start in the women’s race. She stumbled over the railroad ties but maintained her lead over the rest of the pack. She lost some of her ore but finished with 31.75 pounds to win the race for a second consecutive year.
“I was very lucky that I put an extra scoop (in the bag),” Makenzie said.
The twins stay in shape and felt confident that they would come out on top in this year’s races.
“I’m really happy to win it the same year my sister won,” Dylan said.
There were two back-to-back champions at this year’s wheelbarrow races. Jake Chaney of Placerville won the Youth Boys 10-12 division. The 12 year-old and his fellow competitors used a smaller wheelbarrow and needed a minimum of 10 pounds of ore. Chaney had 11.75 pounds.
Chaney and some of his friends who were competing in the race practiced together.
“I prepared more than last year,” Chaney said.
Jenna Costa was the other defending champion in the Youth Girls (age 10-12) division. She had 16.35 pounds of ore.
Alexandra Nisson competed in the wheelbarrow races for the first time and won the Teen Girls Race (13 to 17). The 16 year-old beat last year’s champion, Kristi Schnetz, who took third place.
Nisson led throughout the race and almost lost her lead to Schnetz when they reached the pit. But Nisson maneuvered her way out of the pit with her ore, pan and wheelbarrow and rocketed toward the finish line.
“I definitely went out for fun,” Nisson said. “I did not think I was going to win. I had a blast. I’m glad I did it this year.”
Each girl needed a minimum 15 pounds of ore. Nisson’s weight was 20.1.
Cameron Mosbacher won the Teen Boys Race. The minimum weight was 20 pounds, as the Ponderosa High School student had 21.35 pounds. This was the third time he’s competed in the wheelbarrow races.
“What I feel really decides how you place is the position you get out from the start,” Mosbacher said.
Other winners: Golden Sierra’s Samuel Steward and Dominic Johnson, carrying 65 pounds (minimum 50 pounds), won the High School Challenge while the Old Timer’s Race saw Donald Harden lug 49 pounds of ore (minimum 40 pounds) across the finish line.
Davey “Doc” Wiser competed in the Old Timer’s and the Men’s Championship races.
The Mountain Democrat and Placerville Kiwanis sponsored the wheelbarrow races.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.