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Steel Stampede takes off May 4-5

Crooked River Ranch Roundup


It’s early May — Steel Stampede time. Preparations for the event, which will be held May 4 and 5, are almost complete.

For the sixth annual event, the track is being groomed and improved by the Crooked River Ranch Road and Golf Maintenance Departments, under the watchful eye of Pete Fisher, founder, and annual overseer of this event, despite his retirement from Powroll Automotive last fall.

There’s an old adage to the effect that you don’t change horses in midstream or attempt improving a formula that already works well. It has been applied to this annual event, because history confirms it does the job as is, raising an average of over $5,000 each year — all donated to the Ranch, which applied the largesse to various projects.

Fisher said he keeps that old adage in mind each year preparing for the Steel Stampede. “Preparation every year is confined to tweaking the successful Stampede format; not radicalizing it," he said. "Mainly we refurbish and improve the condition of the trails."

Trials, which test the skills of cyclists to navigate twisted, narrow, bumpy trails without putting their feet on the ground, will commence Saturday as usual with registration for contestants open at 7:30 a.m. and closing at 9 a.m. Registration is $40 which nets registrants a T-shirt, too.

The trials themselves start at 10 a.m. and run until 2 p.m. Admission for spectators is $10 per day; tickets can be purchased at the entrance next to the ball diamond across from the Trading Post.

Sunday, during the motocross races, cyclists in each class attempt to cross the finish line first. Registration for contestants is from 7-8 a.m. for $40 for the first race and $30 for each additional race they want to compete in. Practice is at 8:30 a.m. and races run from 9:15 a.m. until 2 p.m. Awards will be given out at 3 p.m.

Highlander golf is on the program again this year. Play is at 2 p.m. Saturday for nine holes on the Ranch Golf Course. The fee is $17 to walk, and $9 for cart rental.

Straight scoring, without a handicap, will be used. The winner with best combined trial and golf score will receive the Highlander trophy to keep for a year. Call Nicol Fisher at 541-923-1290 by May 2 to register.

Raffles will be conducted both days for donated prizes. Tickets are available on site from organizations holding the raffles.

An email survey last week of what Ranch restaurants were offering as Stampede specials this coming weekend elicited only one reply from Crooked River Coffee.

Co-owner Sharon Tindall said they were offering “Texas-style barbecue pulled pork sandwiches” and special coffee drinks but didn’t supply any prices.

Van-motorcycle crash

During evening rush hour Friday, April 26, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office explained the diversion of northbound traffic on Chinook resulted from the collision of a van and a motorcycle at the intersection of Cottontail and Chinook.

The spokesperson could only say that both vehicle drivers had been injured and taken to St. Charles hospitals in Bend and/or Redmond — one by rescue helicopter and one by a Ranch Fire Department ambulance and were alive on admission.

The speed limit on Chinook Road is 45 mph from where it enters the Ranch just south of the first cross road, Antelope, until it intersects with Mustang Road to the west. As on most stretches of road, drivers traveling on that span of Chinook are often estimated to be proceeding in excess of the 45 mph limit.

There are four additional intersections on the west side of Chinook and two intersections to the east within the stretch of Chinook Road between Antelope and Mustang; a distance of 1.45 miles. Since it is the only access into the Ranch and exit out of the Ranch, traffic is fairly heavy on Chinook at most times going both ways. Traffic increases to be heavier during rush hours in the morning and evening.

Ranchers who walk Ranch roads for daily exercise have told the Pioneer they stopped crossing Chinook in their walks years ago because of the risk involved from speeding cars. Instead they double back on roads parallel to Chinook to complete walking the distance needed to complete their exercise regimen. In short, travel of any kind on Chinook, especially at rush hour, is considered by many Ranchers to be very risky — an accident waiting to happen.

Those who are aware of that risk are vocal in their recommendation the speed limit on Chinook be reduced to 35 mph, which is normal on high-density suburban roads with multiple intersections close together, as is the case on that stretch of Chinook.

Attempt to elicit any further comment on this situation by deadline from Ranch or county officials concerned with road safety was unsuccessful.



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