Sports Editor’s Playbook, April 24, 2012

Patrick Newell

What has it been, six weeks since my last blog? In fairness, local sports were idle for the majority of March, and I spent much of my extra time composing our 17th Annual Race Day publication that ran this past Thursday, April 19. It was 16 pages, and the page count is largely dependent upon the number of driver profile submissions. We’ve had as many as 40 to 45, and with four per page, that equates to 10 or 11 full pages. It surprises me that the number of submissions has dropped to the mid 20s. This year we had 24, the lowest number I can remember. To have your profile published requires that you take the three or four minutes to fill out the form, include a picture, and either mail it to us or e-mail the information with a digital photo. To me, it’s a free advertisement for a driver, and it’s an opportunity to not only showcase a driver’s accomplishments, but also give proper credit to sponsors. Additionally, I sift through the profiles closely with the hope of finding a feature story opportunity. This year’s stories on Bret Belden and his wife Brenda were born of their consistent driver profile entries. It also helped that Bret has established himself as one of the most consistent and best pro stock drivers at Utica-Rome Speedway over the past 20 years.

This June 1-3, Unadilla Valley Sports Center, located on Route 8 a few miles north of New Berlin, will host its MX Rewind. Motocross legends of the past 40-plus years will return with vintage garb and bikes, and a long list of activities planned over the weekend, said Unadilla spokesman, Jill Robinson. “We’re expecting to have three world champions with us that weekend,” Robinson said. “We’re really excited by the level of commitment these racing legends are putting into this, and the access fans will have to them…it will be a great weekend, and there will be a lot of cool, historic bikes that should make for some great pictures.” All of the event and ticket information is available online at

It’s T-minus one day until the retirement of a beloved Evening Sun employee, Jan Rowe. Jan, a mother a grandmother, has been like a mother to The Evening Sun reporting staff for the entirety of her career here. She, using a sports term, is our “glue guy.” No, she doesn’t have a byline, but she does just about everything else for us. I cannot count the times she has popped her head into Jeff Genung’s office and asked if he needed anything. Jeff knows that if he asks something of Jan, there is no one better to complete the task. For us, she has proved an indispensable employee whose presence will be sorely missed by all those who have worked with her. I wish Jan and her husband John (who is a few weeks away from his own retirement) happy travels. I know they plan to see more of the world, and no one deserves that opportunity more than Jan and John.

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