Chambers County Lake has busy Memorial Day weekend

The weather was perfect and the fish were biting over the Memorial Day weekend at the Chambers County Lake. Dozens of anglers and patrons came out to enjoy the holiday at the lake and a wide variety of fish were hooked. Lake Managers Ken and Fay Holt were thrilled turnout and are looking forward to a great summer. The Holt’s also mentioned that the Chambers County Lake will be hosting night fishing starting later in the summer. Be sure to check out the lake Facebook page and check the paper for upcoming news about night fishing. Pictured are Nanette Phillips and Arthur Core showing off this impressive two pound crappie they hooked over the weekend at the lake. For more information about the lake, call 864-8145.

The weather was perfect and the fish were biting over the Memorial Day weekend at the Chambers County Lake. Dozens of anglers and patrons came out to enjoy the holiday at the lake and a wide variety of fish were hooked. Lake Managers Ken and Fay Holt were thrilled turnout and are looking forward to a great summer. The Holt’s also mentioned that the Chambers County Lake will be hosting night fishing starting later in the summer. Be sure to check out the lake Facebook page and check the paper for upcoming news about night fishing. Pictured are Nanette Phillips and Arthur Core showing off this impressive two pound crappie they hooked over the weekend at the lake. For more information about the lake, call 864-8145.

Mike Edge Memorial Race is Saturday at Penton Karting Komplex

The second annual Mike Edge Memorial Race will take place this weekend at the Penton Karting Komplex. As one of the track’s biggest races of the season, nearly 100 competitors are expected to attend and compete in 15 different classes of kart racing.

The event will take place on Saturday, May 24. Gates will open at 1 pm CST and practice will begin at 4 pm. The feature races will begin following practice.

Admission is $10 and kids six and under get in for free. Parking is free, but reserved parking is available for $10.

The classes in action include Clone Lite, Clone Medium, Clone Heavy, Pro Clone, Predator Lite, Predator Medium, Predator Heavy, Pro Predator, Clone Red, Clone Green, Clone Purple, Clone Blue, Junior Unrestricted, Junior Pro and open class.

Penton Karting Komplex is located at 5153 County Road 114, LaFayette. For more information contact Mitch Edge at 334-757-0301 or call the track at 334-864-0967.

Basketball tips off locally this week

Basketball season tipped off this week in LaFayette, with Chambers Academy hitting the hardwood first on Monday night. The Rebels have another game Thursday while LaFayette High opens next Tuesday.

All four Chambers teams traveled to 3A Hooper Academy on Monday. The boys were the lone victors for the Rebels on the night. They defeated Hooper 64-52. The varsity girls fell 62-54, the junior high boys were defeated 37-21 and the junior high girls lost 37-26. Those games will be covered in next week’s edition.

CA is set to travel to Abbeville on Thursday, with all four teams in action. The varsity teams will both compete in the South Montgomery County Academy Tournament on Monday and Tuesday of next week, and the Rebels first home contest is set for Monday, Dec. 2 against Coosa Valley. Chambers has seven games on the schedule before the Christmas break, along with two tournaments.

All three LaFayette High teams will be in action for the season opener at home against Booker T. Washington High School on Nov. 26.

The varsity boys will then host the annual Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 27 and 29. The Bulldogs will welcome Valley, Notasulga and Sacred Heart Catholic School for the tournament. Valley and Sacred Heart will play in the first game at 6 pm CST on Wednesday and LaFayette and Notasulga will close the evening. The two losing teams will play in the consolation game on Friday at 6 pm and the championship will begin at 7:30 pm.

LHS has two more home games, against Horseshoe Bend on Dec. 3 and Valley on Dec. 7, before they play their first road game on Dec. 10 against Randolph County. Both Randolph County and Horseshoe Bend are region games for the Bulldogs.

LaFayette has seven regular season games on the schedule before the Christmas break, as well as two tournaments.

County Lake announces Winter closing

The Chambers County Lake is getting ready to close for the year. The final day the lake will be open is Monday, Nov. 25th. The lake will be closed throughout the rest of 2013 and January of 2014. It will reopen on Saturday, February 1, 2014.

Pat Garrett Rodeo brings action to LaFayette

Cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the southeast made their way to LaFayette on Friday and Saturday night for the 31st annual Pat Garrett Rodeo held at the Chambers County Agricultural Park. Both nights featured exciting events, including team roping, saddlebronc and cowgirls breakaway roping. Friday night, local celebrity and business owner Kenny Know of Kenny Know Tire tried his hand at riding a bull. Unfortunately, the bull, which was nicknamed Saban, had its way with Knox, bucking him off in about three seconds. Rodeo organizer said both nights were a big success, and he thanked all the fans, contestants and sponsors for their support of the exciting events. Above, LaFayette’s Kendall Cook competes in the barrel races. (photo: Jody Stewart)

Cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the southeast made their way to LaFayette on Friday and Saturday night for the 31st annual Pat Garrett Rodeo held at the Chambers County Agricultural Park. Both nights featured exciting events, including team roping, saddlebronc and cowgirls breakaway roping. Friday night, local celebrity and business owner Kenny Know of Kenny Know Tire tried his hand at riding a bull. Unfortunately, the bull, which was nicknamed Saban, had its way with Knox, bucking him off in about three seconds. Rodeo organizer said both nights were a big success, and he thanked all the fans, contestants and sponsors for their support of the exciting events. Above, LaFayette’s Kendall Cook competes in the barrel races. (photo: Jody Stewart)

LaFayette team wins Peewee Bowl

Chambers Academy’s first ever “Peewee Bowl” this past Saturday was a resounding success. Six teams participated in the round-robin tournament event, and fittingly the two city teams battled for the championship. In that special championship game, the City of LaFayette’s team defeated the Chambers Academy team 33-6. To get to that point, both teams went undefeated through their bracket. LaFayette defeated Restoration Christian School and Catholic-Montgomery, while Chambers defeated Lee-Scott Academy and Abbeville Christian Academy. “Our kids had a great time and we really appreciate Chambers Academy inviting us to participate,” LaFayette league commissioner Danny Williams said. “We would look forward to coming back any time.” Above, Chambers and LaFayette battle in the title game.

Chambers Academy’s first ever “Peewee Bowl” this past Saturday was a resounding success. Six teams participated in the round-robin tournament event, and fittingly the two city teams battled for the championship. In that special championship game, the City of LaFayette’s team defeated the Chambers Academy team 33-6. To get to that point, both teams went undefeated through their bracket. LaFayette defeated Restoration Christian School and Catholic-Montgomery, while Chambers defeated Lee-Scott Academy and Abbeville Christian Academy. “Our kids had a great time and we really appreciate Chambers Academy inviting us to participate,” LaFayette league commissioner Danny Williams said. “We would look forward to coming back any time.” Above, Chambers and LaFayette battle in the title game. (photo: Jody Stewart)

Mitcham wins Penton Late Model points title

The racing season came to an exciting end this past weekend at Penton Raceway. The track held their finale for the 2013 season with a special Saturday night of racing. Championships were won as all four divisions were in action. The night featured both first-time winners and first-time champions in a fitting end to the season.

For the first time in his young racing career, Taylor Mitcham has a championship. His fourth place finish on Saturday secured the Penton Late Model title in a close race with Chase Edge. Mitcham finished nine points ahead of Edge with a total of 144 through seven races. Cord Dodgen finished in third in the points chase with a total of 85.

In the actual Late Model season finale, Rodgerick Dykes picked up the win, besting Edge. Dana Eiland drove his ride home in the third spot.

The Limited Sportsman series race featured the biggest field of the night, but the series champion didn’t participate. It wasn’t necessary though as Kelly Leonard had already amassed a big lead to earn the points title. Leonard finished with 160 points, 33 ahead of second place Daren Grant. Leonard dominated the season winning three of the seven races. David Martin finished the season in third place with 121 points.

In the Sportsman race on Saturday, John Capps picked up his first win of the year at the track. Capps bested Pat Wall and Grant, who finished second and third, respectively.

Cale Sessions was fourth, followed by Keith Ussery, Nick Marscolf, Marc Gooden and Jeff Landrum in eighth. Don Whitehead was ninth and Martin was tenth.

It was a special night in the Bandit division as N.B. Freeman made his first trip to victory lane after many races around the 3/8-mile dirt oval.

Finishing behind Freeman was Carley Arnett, who was comforted by the fact that the finish earned the Bandit championship. Arnett jumped Casey Watts in the final race to earn the title by 14 points. Watts finished with 157 points and Trent Dodgen was third with 125 points.

Finally, in the Hobby division Jake Traylor got the best of Kevin Page on the track Saturday, but Page came out on top for the season. Page finished with a total of 183 points while Traylor had 149. The win was the second of the season for Traylor as well. Dylan Holmes was the third place finisher in the points race with 96 total.

In the race, Page finished runner up to Traylor while Shane Stodghill rounded out the top-three. Holmes finished in fourth place.

With the season coming to a close, Penton Raceway’s staff extended their thanks to all the drivers, crews and fans that came out to the track and supported Penton over this past season. They said it had been a great year and they look forward to getting back to the fast-paced dirt action in the spring.

 

Penton hosting 525 Super Late Model Series Friday night

The “Factory Backed and Factory Built” Chevrolet Performance NeSmith 525 Super Late Model Series will hold its first two events of the season with a pair of $3,000-to-win, $300-to-start races on August 2 at Penton Raceway and on August 3 at East Alabama Motor Speedway.

The country’s first super late model series to be branded by an American automobile manufacturer has been four years in the making, and three National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductees have supported the project. All three will participate as either a competitor or a promoter in the 10-race Chevrolet Super Late Model Series that will pay a $30,000 point fund with $10,000 going to the champion and paying back ten spots.

It will all begin on Friday night at the 3/8-mile dirt oval in Penton.

The race will be the main event in a night that includes a full racing schedule with Sportsman, Bandit and Hobby divisions all taking the track. The Crate Late Model division will not race, but those drivers can run in the Super Late Model Series event. Pits and grandstands will open starting at 4 pm CST on Friday. Admission to the pits is $35 for those ages 13 and above and $15 for those under 12. Grandstand admission is free for kids five and under, $5 for those ages 6-12 and $15 for those 13 and above.

The Chevrolet Super Late Model Series is billed as America’s most affordable super late model series, as the engines that power the dirt late model racecars will be the $7,000 Chevrolet Performance all-aluminum CT 525 engine that is based on the production LS engine that is available in the Chevrolet Corvette, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Chevrolet SS.

While the series took four years to bare fruit, the seed was actually planted eight years ago by National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame driver Jeff Purvis of Clarksville, TN, who joined his car owner Mike Vaughn of Cartersville, GA in a meeting with Chevrolet Performance Special Projects Manager Bill Martens.

Vaughn was getting tired of having to buy $40,000 engines and getting them freshened up for $7,000 to $8,000 every 300 laps just to participate in super late model races. Another National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee and Promoter of Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA, the late Mike Swims, introduced him to the Crate Late Model concept featuring the $5,000 Chevrolet Performance 604 Engine in 2004.

Vaughn decided to form what has become the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series for Crate Late Models in 2005. During that 2004 meeting, Purvis mentioned to Martens, “If Chevrolet Performance would build an all-aluminum 500 horsepower production engine, adapt it for dirt late model racing, and sell it to the racers for $10,000 or less, you could own the industry.”

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Howells saying goodbye to Chambers County Lake

Saturday, June 29 is the last day for Chambers County Lake managers Lou and Bonnie Howell.

Saturday, June 29 is the last day for Chambers County Lake managers Lou and Bonnie Howell.

A chapter in the history of the Chambers County Lake came to a close on Saturday as Lake Managers Bonnie and Lou Howell said goodbye to their beloved patrons. After six years of overseeing and residing at the lake, the Howell’s are moving to Northeast Ohio, back to Bonnie’s hometown.

Lou was born and raised here in Chambers County, and would later move to Texas. That’s where he met and married Bonnie. For 26 years they stayed there, but in 2007 the Howells came to Alabama to help take care of Lou’s mother. They found a home at the lake and took great pride and joy in making it what it is today, a centerpiece for outdoor recreation in the county.

“We’ve met some of the best people here,” Lou says, “And that’s what we’re going to miss the most, the people.”

“Living in Alabama was definitely something I ever dreamed about,” Bonnie says. “But I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I really will miss it. It’s a peaceful place, it’s beautiful.”

Since their arrival, the Howells have worked tirelessly to make the lake the best it could be. They’ve improved the campgrounds, added structures to the lake. The fishing is phenomenal, from bass to crappie to catfish. The grounds are pristine, sales have soared in the lake store, the property is now part of the Piedmont Birding Trail and according to Bonnie, she’s very proud that the snake population has plummeted.

“I think you get out of this place what you put into it,” Bonnie says. “And we’ve put a lot of heart and soul into this place.”

But it was time for the couple to make a change. “She followed me back to Alabama, so it’s only right that I follow her back home to help with her family,” Lou says. “Plus because of our health, we just can’t properly take care of the property and lake like we used to.”

Bonnie and Lou will leave for Ohio this Saturday and the lake is closed this week as they inventory preparing for the new managers.

The Alabama Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has chosen the new managers, though they haven’t been formally announced. The process for selecting them requires application and interviews to select the best fit.

“We’re expecting a very smooth transition,” Bonnie says. “The impression we’ve got is that business will continue as usual.”

The lake will remain closed throughout the week, but the new owners expect it to be back open by the first of July, in time for the fourth holiday weekend.

“We just want to say to the community members and businesses, thank you for the all the support,” Bonnie says. “There’s a lot of great people here and we’re really are going to miss them.”

 

City basketball camp wraps up another successful week

LaFayette summer recreation head and former LaFayette High School coach John T. Woody gives instruction to a camper.

LaFayette summer recreation head and former LaFayette High School coach John T. Woody gives instruction to a camper.

The City of LaFayette’s annual summer basketball camp wrapped up on Friday after another exciting and successful week. Approximately 100 local youth came out during the weeklong camp learning the game of basketball from LaFayette High School coaches and former players at the LHS gym.

Summer basketball director and former LaFayette High School basketball coach John T. Woody was pleased with the turnout again this year as well as the attitude of the young campers. Woody, who has organized the free camp for more than 20 years each summer, extended his thanks to the City of LaFayette for sponsoring the camp. “Without the help of the City, we wouldn’t be able to provide this free camp for these kids,” he said.

Several LaFayette coaches and former players took part in the camp, including third year LaFayette basketball coach Obadiah Threadgil, LaFayette girls’ basketball coach Michael Bratcher, former players Emmanuel Higgins, Qua Boyd and Jeff McCoy and current player Kaminski Bledsoe. McCoy and LHS Principal Montray Thompson both spoke to the campers as well about life away from the athletic field, including the importance of maintaining good grades and graduating.

The campers participated in a number of activities over the week. Fundamentals were the emphasis of the early part of the camp, and skill drills followed. As part of the camp, free throw and three point competitions were held in four different age groups. Competitions were also held in a shooting game called ‘Got-cha.’ Friday concluded with a 3-on-3 tournament. Awards were given at the end of the week to the campers that excelled in all those events.

Also part of the camp, and the summer basketball program in general, was the free meal program. In conjunction with the Valley Recreation Department, the program provides a healthy lunch every day for the children at no charge to them or to the city. Woody is overseeing the program here in LaFayette and both praised the idea and noted is has been very successful so far.

The week is the highlight of the summer program, but it is far from the end. Woody said that the gym would open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm for the rest of the summer. He also noted that games would be organized for local youth on Tuesday’s and Thursdays. There is no fee, and the gym is open to any LaFayette youth, in addition the free meal program will continue for the duration of the summer.

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