There will eventually be more to this post in the way of details relative to tying flies about the class I taught last Sunday, March 25th in Brewer, Maine, for The Penobscot Fly Fishers Club. Right now, before I finish tying some flies for an order, I have to get this out there. My mind won’t let me hold this in any longer.
Things started off Sunday morning early with the news that the fine staff of grandmotherly women cooks (for the most part as I recollect from last year, there were a couple elderly men helping there too), who made a delicious lunch last year of home-made chicken pot pie and ginger cake with whipped cream at the Penobscot County Conservation Association where the class was held, would not be feeding us this year. Whew. Mike, the man in charge for the club quickly followed that announcement by saying, “That doesn’t mean we’re not having lunch.”
A quick poll and discussion ensued and the choice of pizza from nearby City Side Restaurant was determined. Get a bunch of men together and pizza can always be a hit. Ladies like their “pie” too.
About noon, Mike came up and quietly informed me, “Go ahead and start the next pattern. I’m leaving in thirty minutes to pick up the pizza.” So we proceeded to tie a reduced, two-strip version of the old wet fly pattern, Split Ibis. About 45 minutes later, Mike returned – empty-handed. Informing the group that the pizza wasn’t ready, he explained, “They got the belt sander races goin’ on there today, they’re pretty backed up.”
OK. I couldn’t help it. I’m blue-collar redneck from fairly rural Pennsylvania, which is, as James Carville once described, “Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between,” but my jaw dropped as I queried,” “Belt sander races? Belt sander races?” I never heard of it, but I knew instantly it had to be a redneck thing.
Apparently belt sander racing is quite a big deal, and in doing a quick internet search I found that it’s catching on across the country. Here is the link I found to the specific event, the popularity of which had been responsible for the delay of our lunch. My friends will tell you, not to get between me (or my brother) and food when hunger is a condition. But I was working so I acted professionally and disciplined; since I can be a gentleman when the need arises. This, despite the fact that Quill Gordon, writer of a good blog called; The View From Fish in A Barrel Pond, and in this post: http://ghoti62.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/answering-some-mail/
seems overly eager to relate what he perceives are a number of stories – I read that he used the word “many” – an obvious exaggeration, which have the common theme of me being in my underwear. I am really only aware of two. Or maybe three…not “many.”
Here is a link to the Portland Press Herald article, complete with a video of screaming belt sanders that you can watch:
And you can only guess, there are both Stock and Modified Divisions. There is even an official, BSRA organization, the Belt Sander Racing Asssociation. Rev ’em up boys! And girls. Check out the videos of the BSRA Las Vegas events, and yup, they got your scantily-clad cheer-leaders in their tight faux NASCAR uniforms.
I asked about “making it interesting,” as Seinfeld character George Costanza once stated in an episode, and of course it’s illegal, but I doubt that will deter Mainers (or Pennsylvanians) from doing it.
A bit later I thought of another idea, maybe not as appealing for lack of speed, but they could use orbital sanders on the floor, place them in a big circle (or square) and then award prizes to the machine that is the first one out of the circle. Or the one that stays in the longest. Kind of the electric version of cow chip bingo. More opportunities to “make it interesting.” Fundraisers for fire halls, clubs, etc.
By the way, the racing must have been pretty intense, because it wasn’t until at least an hour later that our pizza was finally delivered.
This sport has spawned such phrases as “In Grit We Trust,” and gives new meaning to the phrase, “Eat My Dust.” Anyone for a floor buffer riding contest?