Hometown team rides to victory in coffin race | RecordCourier.com

Hometown team rides to victory in coffin race

by Caryn Haller
Special to The R-C

This election, there's a couple of dark horse candidates, but on Saturday it took a "Black Betty" pushed by members of the Carson Valley Active 20-30 Club and Stor-All to achieve victory.

Last year's runner-up, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office's "Coffin Crusaders" were confident before the race, and came away with the people's choice award.

They did a bit more stretching this year prior to taking on the competition in their entry, inspired by a black and white patrol car with blue flames.

"I think we're going to win," Sgt. Jeff Schemenauer said before the race. "We have an all-star crew running so that's going to help us out."

Going into Saturday's event, Joey Jacobsen felt confident his team would repeat last year's victory.

The second annual Slaughterhouse Lane Coffin Races boasted seven teams all looking to take down defending champion Joey's Jammers.

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"I'm feeling great," Jacobsen said. "Ready to go get another championship. "

Jacobsen said his pushers were the key to coming across the finish line first.

"As long as they don't get tired, we'll win," he added. "I amp them up before every race by saying, 'Let's go get this win,' and we go get it."

Gardnerville residents Renee Weske and Jodi Fortune were rooting for both teams to win.

"It's a toss up," Weske said. "I like the sheriff's department because of the muscles. It will be interesting to see the run by."

Commissioner Doug Johnson left his bow tie at home to ensure he would get plenty of oxygen pushing a real coffin down the 250-foot race track.

"It's a long story," he said of were he found a real coffin. "I've had it for about 25 years."

This was Johnson's second year pushing his coffin named Termed Out.

"If we weren't last, we were close to last," he said of last year's finish. "This coffin is heavy. I just hope we make it to the end. We're old."

A Carson City running group dubbed their coffin Better To Be Pushed By 4, Than Carried By 6.

The thin cart was 15 inches wide with a 12-inch lip at the top.

Rider Ellery Stahler said the trick to getting inside was to turn her body sideways to get under the lip before laying down.

"It's a tight squeeze, but not too bad," she said. "I just hope my runners push tall, and don't topple me over."

Mike VanPatten was cheering for Stahler's team to win, but his 3-year-old son Jace was going for the sheriff's office.

"I think he just likes the lights and sirens," VanPatten said. "I like the thin cart because it stands out from the rest. None of the other carts are like that."

Other race participants included The Family Support Council and Town of Gardnerville.