News and Updates

The Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race to the Thunderdome at RC Acres

Saturday, 23 November 2013 23:42

KpopRC Fisheye Photo of the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton KpopRC Fisheye Photo of the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton

The Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race was held inside the Thunderdome at RC Acres in Hamilton, Ontario, on November 23rd, 2013.

25 Drivers from as far as Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa in addition to surrounding Hamilton and Burford (and all points in between) battled it out over the 650 meter dirt track, through an hour of open practice, 2 rounds of heated practice, 3 qualifiers and the mains.  Some veteran racers were in attendance to lay some fast laps down while some rookies were there to break in their rides on the newly created technical track.

The purpose of the RaceDay was to run a preview race to evaluate the track, equipment and facilities, as a preface of things to come.  Gus and the RC Acres Crew literally raced to make the environment welcoming… less than 12 hours before registration radiant heating was installed over the drivers' stand, and power was run to the Thunderdome.  Even with all of the necessary components of Pit Row, the drivers and their crews were "roughing it" in contrast to the 2nd Stage Plans of the Thunderdome… heated enclosed pits are next, plus re-aligning of the heating; however while it was -11*C outside and snowing, it was comfortable inside for hot racing.

RC Race Director Scully at the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton RC Race Director Scully at the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton

During Open Practice Eric LaJoie of Burlington, ON would set the bar for lap time with a 21.996, which would be eventually bested by Mark Sousa of Guelph, ON, the reigning RC Pro Ontario Season eBuggy Champion, who also won the eBuggy Main during RC Acres' 2013 RC Pro Series Race laid down a 20.970 Lap Time during "heated practice".  That time would stand as the fastest lap for the entire day of racing.

Into the 5-Minute Qualifiers, 14 Laps within the 5 Minutes Allotted would be what it took to roll into the A-Main, while 5 drivers were able to accomplish that, having Mississauga, ON's Justin Silva as the Top-Qualifier with 14 laps in 5:08.12 from his 2nd Qualifying Round, while Derek Sousa of Guelph, ON, the Pro Buggy and Pro Truggy A-Main Champ from RC Acres's RC Pro Series Race earlier in 2013, would be seated 2nd with 14 laps in 5:16.23 from his 3rd Round of Qualifying.

Into the 10-Minute Mains, Eric Devos of Simcoe, ON the top-seed into the D-Main, ran with the pole from green to checkered, finishing 26 Laps in 10:23.724.

In the C-Main, Motocross Racer Darryl Zylstra of Burford, ON, the top-seed into the main, had a rough first lap, crossing the loop 1-10th of a second behind Sergio Vargas, but then take the lead and hold it for 23 more laps to with 24 Laps in 10:00.681

A brief meeting was held to award "Bumps" to the Top-Finisher in the C and B-mains at the request of the Drivers, and Zylstra would move into the B-Main with his white and "john deere greene" eBuggy.

In the B-Main, top-seeded qualifier into the Main, Joe Parisi of Concord, ON, would start slow and break on Lap 3 resulting in a DNF, while another Burford Motocross Racer, Alex Nelles would take the opportunity to move up into the lead on Lap 1, and race wheel to wheel with his neighbour Zylstra, the Bump from the C-Main, 1st and 2nd through laps 3 through 8, and then push past to win the main and the "Bump" with 25 laps in 10:11 while Evan Lovato, another Motocross Racer would give chase and be the biggest mover, behind Nelles for the last 2/3'ds of the race, finishing 11.9 Seconds behind the B-Main Champ.

Seeding from Heated Practice had separated the fastest into the top-qualifying races, while the top-6 from qualifying changed marginally as Mike Rohde of Oakville, ON, would move up into the A-Main seated 4th and Alex Nelles would be the bump up.  The A-Main Featured: Nelles, Eric LaJoie, Mark Sousa, Rohde,  George Stiliadis of Ottawa, ON; Derek Sousa and Top-Qualifier Justin Silva.

The pace was set early on for the top-qualifying drivers to post 26 or 27 laps, and Derek Sousa would jump from 2nd to 1st in the opening lap and hold the lead for 24 laps, while Justin Silva was close behind, going to the front a handful of times, but Derek Sousa would cross the stripe in 1st again, and again.  A bad roll through the rhythm feature on lap 19 would open up the door for Mark Sousa to slide into 2nd and follow elder Derek Sousa for another 4 laps… and then it happened.  As the final throws were coming with about 1 minute 45 seconds left to race, a bad landing after the steep double in the mid-way of the track would have the leader Derek Sousa's eBuggy lose drive power… inertia rolled him around the hairpin turn and up the start of the CamelBack Feature, and gravity rolled it back down the approach. On the same lap, Mark Sousa would go off course and lose about 4 seconds, meanwhile Top-Qualifier Justin Silva would continue posting his 21-22 second laps (averaging approximately 22.69 a lap at this point), and jump into the lead for the first-time in the A-Main when it mattered most, for the final 3-laps to take the checkered.  

Champions of the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton Champions of the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton

Justin Silva is the first-ever champion crowned inside the Thunderdome finishing 27 Laps in 10:14 while Mark Sousa finished as reserve champ 7.3 seconds behind.  George Stiliadis was 3rd on the podium a lap back, while the "Bump" Alex Nelles was 4th.  Eric Lajoie also pulled a "cheque" finishing in the Top-5.

It was just a preview of what's to come… Intense, Indoor RC Racing, in the Thunderdome at RC Acres.  Stay tuned to or connect on the Facebook for more information on further Races in 2013/2014.

It was my first time as official Race Director, and I want to thank all of the Directors and Racers that I spoke with in setting the schedule and the races rolling into the day.  Mike Rohde was a huge asset as 1/8 Scale was new to me following a season of 1/5 Scale, while Jay Christiano from Hardcore and Doug from RC Scoring Pro in Wisconsin definitely saved the day (and me setting quails and mains by hand) by helping troubleshoot and fix the issue of the RC Scoring Pro Program being tweaked for 1/5 Scale and not properly set for 1/8 Scale… a few calls and boom… a Movember Miracle.

Race Command at the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton Race Command at the Inaugural Invitational 1/8 Scale eBuggy Race at RC Acres Hamilton

My time at RC Acres since April has been outstanding.  Through the 1/5 Scale Races, the RC Pro Series Weekend of 1/8, 1/10 and 1/5 Scale, and now the first 1/8 Scale Race inside the Thunderdome, I've met some stellar dudes and ladies.  It's pretty awesome when you can call other Race Directors and Racers late at night for advice, and during RaceDay guys swing by at random to make sure you have what you need and that you're having a good time (read: celebratory Coors Lights from Skippy Skips).  Though it's racing and steep competition, everyone…and I mean everyone, has been super cool and calm when asking questions and giving "feedback".

I openly welcome any feedback, "attaboys" and criticisms… I love "Race Commentating" and now have an understanding and appreciation of "Race Directing"… and thrive on the notes from racers, crew and spectators on how I can better the experience for them by improving what I do to enhance the experience.  I want to keep rawking it… drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you:

Full throttle, wide open… 'til the next race.

Enjoy the A-Main as captured by Aaron Lee!
Dim lights

Pics by kPopRC and Amanda Clinton.


Heated Practice - revised Nov 24 for mobile viewing
Qualifiers - revised Nov 24 for mobile viewing
Mains - revised Nov 24 for mobile viewing


An Update on my thoughts on Carrie Underwood and the HSUS

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 00:58

November 7th started like any other day, but by the afternoon it would be a retro-rewind like no other.  My views on Carrie Underwood would go viral.

Someone on the internet googled: "carrie underwood fights against rodeo", found my blog post, re-posted it... and in 5 days, over 68,000 people viewed it.  Humbling to say, but that's 3.5 times the normal traffic gets in a year (I do ok...).

The original post dated December 13th, 2009 was a short opinion piece on a $200,000 donation by Carrie Underwood to the Humane Society of the United States.  My thoughts on it at the time were: "Miss Underwood just handed over a ton of coin to help the largest Animal Rights Activist organization on Earth fight Farmers and Ranchers and anyone else that has an interest in animals."

Harsh words at first glance, until you read about what the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) really is: a political organization with minimal ties to animal shelters.  Oh yeah.  Their advertising for dollars leads the donators to believe their funds go to shelters, but their tax returns show that only 0.8% of their over $100,000,000 (one hundred million) annual budget is spent via grants to shelters.  The HSUS is a lobbying group that fights anything animal related... livestock agricultural farmers, breeding operations, zoos, sport and entertainment industries, hunters, etc., etc.  And of course, this information is directly found on their website, i.e. "...The HSUS opposes rodeos as they are commonly organized..."

My original post contained quotes of farmers, ranchers, and so forth, and of course, they too felt the hypocrisy of a country singer supporting an Animal Rights Activist organization.

This made the rounds and up until November 7th, about 3,000 people had read the blog post (almost 4 years).  In April of 2013, another blogger posted about her stance on the hypocricy, even though most would have thought it was common knowledge in Agriculture by this point... and her blog apparently had over 110,000 views; my old post saw a slight spike in traffic.  It was through this latest conversation that more claims came out about Carrie Underwood, i.e. that she was also a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) spokesperson, and big opponent of the Ag-Gag bills, etc. in addition to being an HSUS supporter.

Flash forward to this juncture, and the story is going viral again.  This time, the debate on Twitter and Facebook intensified and the Carrie Fans were out for blood.  So, in form of an update, I will re-post and respond to the top talking points that the Carrie Fans and assorted debaters lobbied.

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #1) "her donation to the HSUS was for spaying and neutering pets"

- Recent reports were that less than 0.8% of HSUS funds go towards shelters, and regardless, any donation to the HSUS is going towards their lobbying against agriculture, i.e.. Ag-Gag, more regulations, etc.  Even if, hypothetically, the oversized check said spaying and neutering only, it would be like giving a homeless person $5 and saying, "don't spend it on booze".  They're still going to buy booze, now they just may buy a hamburger as well... they have an extra $5... that's going to booze.  Money towards Spaying and Neutering just frees up more money for lobbying. 

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #2) "Carrie says she's not against Hunting and Rodeo! See this blog: http://www.nashvillegab..."

From the blog: “Has anybody ever heard Carrie say that she wants rodeo and hunting stopped? A girl commented on a local radio station post on Facebook saying that she lost respect when she heard Carrie wanted rodeo and hunting stopped. That girl has posted something like that before not too long ago. I have never heard that, and I was wondering if any of you have.”
On March 6, 2012, Carrie replied:
“I have never said anything like that...but because I support the HSUS and their spaying and neutering programs and their efforts to stop puppy mills, some people misunderstand and think that I am involved in things that I am not involved in. I come from a rodeo town. I have several family members that hunt...close family members. I think that particular person just jumped to conclusions that are not accurate. Hope that clears things up.”

.... no.  That doesn't.  That doesn't state her stance.  It doesn't answer the question posed.  It just says she knows people that do those things.  We all know people that do things... like drugs for example... do we do drugs? Do we like drugs? Well, I went to high school with people that do, I argue with people on twitter that seem to...  It's classic question evading. (no, I don't. An answer contains 'Yes' or 'No", or an understanding of either one)

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #3) "Cite real proof of this!  Blogs don't count!!" (though the above link is technically a blog as part of their arsenal)

Carrie Underwood Donation to Humane Society of the United States- well, we could just look to the HSUS's website and see an oversized check with her name on it, signed by her, and even her in the picture...  so, it's fair to believe she at least made that donation.

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #4) "She isn't against farmers!  Prove it!"

- She spoke out on Twitter on HSUS's sponsored Ag-Gag bill in Tennessee "Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me" . A bill that the proponents for were the actual governing bodies of.... the farmers.  I'm not going to speak on Ag-Gag politics, but I feel that those that should write regulation for Industry, should be the ones in the Industry.  Those that should govern the Industry... should be the Industry.  Yes, legislation should be written with public (lobbying) opinion... but at the end of the day, Chicken Farmers should be able to decide how to manage Chicken Farmers (hence why Ag-Gag Bills have Farmer and Agricultural Associations on one side and the HSUS on the other).  Add to this... this is also out of the "Spay and Neuter" department.... Carrie Underwood Twitter

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #5) "She doesn't ban rodeos!" (meaning: refuses to perform at them, though I was told that the verbiage was 'correct')

- Carrie Underwood showed up on "Rodeo Radar" after cancelling last minute due to "personal reasons" from the 2006 Cheyenne Frontier Days (rodeo).  An animal activist group claimed the victory, though no statement confirming that relationship came out by Carrie Underwood or her agency.  And after an abundance of searching, we have not been able to source a rodeo she has been scheduled to perform at since.

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #6) "She doesn't support PETA, they used her image against her will"

- Carrie Underwood was featured on some Vegan Campaigns for PETA and has released statements on not approving of the use of her likeness - according to Carrie Underwood Fans on Twitter.  The issue raised (the HSUS Donation) had nothing to do with PETA.  There may be confusion as PETA posts any animal-related statements CU makes, and has voted her twice as "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" (2007, 2009)... but she isn't a spokesperson for them.  

Carrie Underwood Fan Talking Point #7) "She donated $1-Million to Red Cross, She's Building a No-Kill Shelter"

- no "beefs" with her charity efforts, in-fact, commendable; aside from enabling the HSUS to do more lobbying and protesting by donating and speaking politically in their favour.

After twitter and facebook debates, I believe these to be the top-7 comments.  There are others... like "leave Carrie alone", or "it's like not liking Barbara Streisand because she has a big nose"

The disdain has always been about her financial, moral and political support of the HSUS, compounded by the hypocritical element of her genre of music and lyrics being targeted to the Rural Lifestyle... yet financially and politically supporting one of the Rural Lifestyle's biggest enemies.  Any support is further enabling.  

This is the free-world.  She has free-will to support what she wants and play where she wants.  But it's the same free-will I have to share my beliefs that she is anti-Rodeo, Livestock-Agriculture, etc.; to excercise my right to not attend her concerts, buy her music, play it at events, etc.; and share these views with those that will hear them.

Until she directly answers the questions regarding rodeo, and discontinues supporting animal activist organizations that are out to cripple agriculture (HSUS’s ultimate goal for animal agriculture, in one former VP’s words, is to “get rid of the industry”), the story of the hypocrisy will continue to be shared.


Selected to 7th Ontario Finals Rodeo

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 12:05

Dim lights I was selected to my 7th Ontario Finals Rodeo during the last Ontario Rodeo Association Board of Directors Meeting.

Join us at the 2013 Ontario Finals Rodeo indoors at Show Arena at Ancaster Fairgrounds, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada October 11th through 13th.

Tickets available online at: and at Montana's Cookhouse Ancaster, Montana's Cookhouse Hamilton-Red Hill, Montana's Cookhouse Hamilton-Upper James and Montana's Cookhouse Brantford.

Follow along on social media with the hashtag #myOFR


Relive the Rodeo Excitement at Western Fair

Friday, 13 September 2013 14:04

September 6th through 8th Rawhide Rodeo presented Ontario High School Rodeo and International Professional Rodeo sponsored by Med-On-Site inside the Case IH Agriplex at the 138th Western Fair inside the Western Fair District in London, Ontario, Canada.

It was a weekend of celebrations... Case IH celebrating their 25th Anniversary of the Magnum Tractor, Barney the Purple Dinosaur celebrating his 25th Year, and my birthday as well.

Here's the Video Tee-up:

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Here's the Video Recap:

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The Code of the West… didn't migrate East, apparently

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 22:38

As a rodeo professional, I conduct business like any other entity: Pitch, Negotiate, Agree, Perform, Recap.  Over the 10 years of doing this, a majority of these agreements have been a-la-Code of the West… on a Handshake.  If an event is simple, I was ok with that.  But if there are intricacies, I use a 4-page detailed contract (complete with cancellation agreements on both parties, etc.)

This posting isn't a sob story, or a whoa-is-me… but it is more of a setting of the record.

Rodeo started from the West, and many people in the business call themselves "Cowboy" and feel that they are privileged to abide by this code:

"The Code of the West was a gentleman's agreement to certain rules of conduct. It was never written into the statutes, but it was respected everywhere on the range. " ~  Ramon F. Adams

From the code: A Cowboy’s word is his sacred bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.

Here's the preface.

I booked a series of events with a contractor that I have a decade of relations with.  The series was hosted by a committee, who after 7 weeks decided to part ways with the contractor and take over full production responsibilities, and approached me to fulfill my previous bookings through them.  I didn't like how this had played out for my contractor client; it had seemed like he really was getting a bad deal, considering he built an event (competitors, production, personnel, building weekly attendance), and now all of his work was just being taken over turnkey and carried onwards…. 

Boom.  Awkward.  But after discussions all around, I renegotiated and agreed to modified terms (on a handshake).  Not to be confusing, but I was compensated for announcing and music duties, while sound systems were to be provided by both parties (previous contractor and new hybrid committee-contractor) for all bookings, and this plays into the pivotal punchline.

The event changed format from almost a "full rodeo" to a bulls and barrels with specialty acts show.

I sauntered down for my first event with the hybrid committee-contractor.  As it sounded like a stress factory, I offered to provide a sound system the first time at no charge as it was in my truck from the series of events I was at… this was graciously accepted.

The lighter format flew by (with 9 bull riders and 8 barrel racers)… and as we approached the 27-minute mark and were through our first-half schedule and ready for intermission, I jumped on the grenade and did my own "clown act" to save the day by extending the performance.  The entire performance went as well as it could, and all parties were content.


The hybrid committee-contractor had used one other announcer along with myself, and week 3 into this new arrangement, decided that they could handle the duties.  We still spoke.  Things were well.  A couple weeks went by, and I called to verify my last booking.  All was good.  I called the week before to verify again.  All good.  The Monday of, just touched base.  All good.

Text Message: Mom is coming Text Message: Mom is coming

Then… the Thursday before the event, the committee-contractor-announcer texts me (paraphrased): "If you want to do it, you can, but my Mom is coming and I'd like to do it.  Your call".  I was like, "no worries.  Have at 'er."

…. at this point… favour 1: reduced rate, favour 2: no-charge sound system at 1st event, favour 3: give way to the Mom performance, and favour 4: no cancellation fee/charge…. and no hard feelings.  At all.  

So then….(punchline):

A colleague of mine goes to the performance and knew I was supposed to be there.  He asks, "Where's Scully?"… and they go on a diatribe about how I left them hanging, and that I allegedly had the gall to ask to use their sound system and not give them a break… 

Meanwhile, it was all a break, and the deal from the onset.  And I wasn't there because his Mom was coming, and I had bowed out…. 

In summary:

Not that I think any believable story would come out of this podunk camp to our industry, but to be clear, I did not renege on my Cowboy Code-esque agreement, nor was I asking for favours, or aggressive in price.  But, if any story were to come out, I did want to have what I believe to be the truth in print, and showcase the craziness that goes on in business.  

It's ALWAYS the FAVOURS that sting.  I had cheques bounce and then the company go bankrupt with no settlement, well after I had spoke up before they wrote me a cheque for too much… thus saving them money (fictitious money).  I had another contractor take a beating on an event he was co-promoting, asked if he could give me 3/4's of what they owed me and the rest later, and I felt his pain and took half…. and never got the other half.  Here… 4 favours and I'm getting trash-talked to colleagues.

It's sad, but moving forward, regardless of our relationship or your reputation, we will have a handshake, after you sign my four-page contract.  And for sure, I won't call you a Cowboy until I've seen you ride (and I'm as cynical as an A-level English Coach).