My two years of shame are over.
I can finally carry my head high after reclaiming victory in the media grudge match of the Virginia City International Camel Races.
But for others, the shame is just beginning.
Both Tims, who make up two-thirds of the Cub Country radio morning show - featuring Tim, Malayna and Tim - were reluctant participants from the beginning.
"I'm scared out of my mind," Tim Lynah said before the race. "The advice that everyone has given me to this point is absolutely useless. I especially liked signing the insurance form that said nobody is responsible for my death."
After the first heat (where he came in second just behind me), he admitted to having fun - with some stipulations.
"My camel needs new shocks," he said. "I was hoping to have children, but after today I know that will not be possible. I was in such pain."
Still, he fared much better than his co-host Tim Murphy, who simply exclaimed, "This sucks," as his camel laid down just short of the finish line.
Jennifer Rogers and Carlos Faura, both reporters on News Channel 8's "Daybreak" morning show, had an internal challenge.
They each came in second in their respective heats, despite Rogers having a little trouble getting her camel to head in the right direction at the beginning.
"I had to deal with him being crazy," she said. "It was definitely fun, I'm up for an adventure, but I just expected more of a straight path."
She was redeemed in her battle against her co-worker, however, when Faura's camel refused to even get up.
But that wasn't necessarily the end of it.
"I was sabotaged," the offended Faura proclaimed. "I want a rematch next year."
The championship race came down to filmmaker Soso Whaley, who is making a documentary of the camel races, "Dromedary Daze," and me.
The film will highlight the races, which are in their 46th year, with the international championships alternating between Virginia City and Alice Springs, Australia.
All camels are provided by owner Gary Jackson of Stagecoach.
For my first race, I chose Atara and when she was available for the second round, I picked her again.
It was the right choice, I knew, when we crossed the finish line victorious.
But Whaley took the loss with the spirit of a champion, saying it was still worth the trip from New Hampshire.
"This is why I come," she said sweeping her arm toward the view of the surrounding mountains and valley below. "I think it's beautiful here and the people are definitely worth coming to see.
"It's not your average crowd."
-- Contact Teri Vance at email@example.com or at 881-1272.
If you go
Schedule of events for the International Virginia City Camel Races:
Today: Noon: Grand Parade on C Street
1:30 p.m.: Races begin
Sunday: 1:30 p.m.: Races begin
4 p.m.: Championship Races and awards ceremony
For information, go to www.EventsNevada.com
Hurricane Katrina relief
What: Cub Country Comedy Concert for Hurricane Katrina Relief
When: 8:30 p.m. Sept. 19
Where: Main ballroom of the El Dorado Casino, Reno
All proceeds will go to the relief effort