Parmalee - credit: Ed Rode

Parmalee – credit: Ed Rode

In addition to auto racing, and most sports in general, another love of mine is music. For me, there are only two genres of music: that which I like and that which I don’t like. A lot of what I do like is country, and one of the big up-and-coming groups is Parmalee, who recently performed at Jam in the Valley over Independence Day weekend.

Parmalee isn’t exactly an overnight success – they were formed in 2001 – but the group has an interesting back story, one that almost ended in tragedy. I had a chance to interview Matt Thomas of the group a couple days before their JITV appearance – check out the pieces from Examiner.com here:

Parmalee hits the Jam in the Valley stage this weekend

Parmalee’s tough road to the top of the country charts

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Michael Annett

Michael Annett – credit: NASCAR Media

HScott Motorsports Sprint Cup Series driver Michael Annett wasn’t always interested in following the family footsteps into auto racing – for more than a dozen years, his eyes were focused on the ice.

“I grew up, from about 5 to 19, on a pair of ice skates, going all over the Midwest with my mom, going to different tournaments and stuff,” said Annett when I interviewed him recently. “For the kids that started off in quarter midgets at 5, I’m definitely a little bit behind them.”

At age 16, Annett was a member of Tier One AAA Team Illinois, capturing the 2002 Calgary Mac’s AAA Hockey Tournament Championship. He then joined the Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and was named the 2004 USHL Most Improved Player. He played with the team for two seasons, earned the Clark Cup Championship, then traded in his blades for four wheels.

“I definitely think I did (make the right choice),” by trading in his skates, he said. “I grew up playing hockey, but when guys were in one room watching hockey on TV, I was in another room watching races, so I knew that racing’s what I love, that’s in my blood. Plus, I’m 5’10”, a buck-80, so I don’t have too many NHL stats.”

He’s still a fan, and enjoyed, as many Buffalonians did, watching the Chicago Blackhawks – and South Buffalo’s own Patrick Kane – raise the Stanley Cup.

“I tried to stay away from it,” said Annett. “I felt like when I’d start to watch it I’d start not putting all my focus toward racing, but this year I found myself definitely getting caught up in the playoffs and definitely loved seeing the Blackhawks pull that one out.”

You can read more of the interview I posted on Examiner.com and Skirts & Scuffs here:

Michael Annett Makes a Pit Stop on the Way to Daytona

Annett makes St. Augustine ‘pit stop’ ahead of Daytona

Michael Annett on: Racing roots, heroes and hockey

Michael Annett on: Upcoming challenges

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One thing we’re blessed with in the Buffalo area is that a lot of musical acts come through here on a regular basis. The challenge as a fan is getting good photos at these shows, because we’re often limited to the type of camera we can bring into the venue, if any at all (of course, in this day and age of cell phones, keeping “cameras” out of a place is nearly impossible).

I’ve seen some amazing shows over the years, many different genres and venues, and have been blessed to get some good shots – here are a few of my favorites.

Charlie Daniels - 2009

Charlie Daniels – 2009

LeeAnn Womack - 2010

LeeAnn Womack – 2010

Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson - 2010

Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson – 2010

George Strait - 2010

George Strait – 2010

Fergie - 2010

Fergie – 2010

Black Eyed Peas - 2010

Black Eyed Peas – 2010

Our Lady Peace - 2010

Our Lady Peace – 2010

Sheryl Crow - 2012

Sheryl Crow – 2012

Martina McBride - 2013

Martina McBride – 2013

George Strait - 2013

George Strait – 2013

Lorrie Morgan - 2014

Lorrie Morgan – 2014

Garth Brooks - 2015

Garth Brooks – 2015

all photos: paulathompsonfreelance.com

 

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Super DIRT Week logo via Facebook

Super DIRT Week logo via Facebook

Living in the Buffalo area and being around auto racing, I’ve known about Syracuse’s Super DIRT Week for many years, and for the last two, I’ve covered the Syracuse 200 Big-Block Modified race and all the festivities at the Syracuse Fairgrounds – the “Moody Mile” – for Red Dirt Clay.

And now they want to take the race away from me – and everyone else.

My boss at RDC, Ro Cowan, clued me in that the political powers that be in the Syracuse region are looking to “reinvent” the grandstand/track area into a “year-round NY-themed park,” thereby ending a soon-to-be 46-year tradition that brings thousands of people and millions of dollars into the region in the days surrounding Columbus Day weekend in October – all in the name of “progress,” in spite of a given good thing going on, albeit only once a year.

In a perfect world (mine anyway), politics and racing wouldn’t mix, but they do, and fans suffer for it. I’m all for progress, but it’s upsetting to see it come at the expense of something that I love.

There is a young man who started a Twitter campaign – #SaveTheMoodyMile – and a petition to sign to let the powers that be know we’re disappointed with their ideas and impending actions. Until a decision is made, however, I look forward to covering the Big-Blocks at the “Moody Mile” one more time – and maybe one last time – in October.

*****

My past Super DIRT Week coverage for RDC:

Super DIRT Week 2013 and photos

DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame 2014

World of Outlaws Sprints at Rolling Wheels 2014

Super DIRT Week 2014

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