Brothers Dallas and Ron Brakeville live more than 700 miles away from each other, but they plan at least a couple of events each year to do together.
Archery at the Show-Me State Games, which took place at Lake Stephens Park on Saturday morning, is one way. Rattlesnake hunting is another.
“We always go rattlesnake hunting,” Ron Brakeville said.
“It’s a family tradition. Somebody was intoxicated and suggested it, I believe, but we’ve been doing it since 1992.”
Ron Brakeville, 52, lives in Houston, Texas, and Dallas Brakeville lives in Lane, Kan.
“I had triple bypass surgery,” Dallas Brakeville said, “and I called my brothers up, they were scattered all over the country, and I said, ‘Every year we’re going to get together and do something together as a family,’ and we decided on rattlesnake hunting.”
“It’s something nice and safe and sane,” Dallas joked.
Dallas Brakeville, 63, was a member of a group named the Rattlesnake Wranglers, and it performed at various outdoor shows throughout the country.
“Mainly what we did it for was educational, identification of different snakes,” Dallas Brakeville said. “We love to let people handle the nonvenomous snakes and teach them that all snakes are good, even if they are rattlesnakes. They have a place in our world.”
He quit snakehandling last year after being bitten during a show. Fortunately, it wasn’t poisonous.
“I’ve got arthritis in my thumbs, and I was putting on a show in Ottawa, Kan., and one of the rattlesnakes got away from me,” Dallas Brakeville said. “It didn’t strike, but it hit me, and I said, ‘Well that’s it, I’m going to quit.’”
This is the first year the Brakevilles have competed in an archery meet together. Ron Brakeville started the sport this year, and Dallas Brakeville is returning after 17 years away from it.
“When I got back in, the first time I pulled my bow back, I thought, ‘Why won’t this thing stay in the middle?’” Dallas Brakeville said. “I don’t have the muscle tone I had when I was a younger man.”
He gave up archery after being successful in competitions across the country. He won the Indoor Nationals in 1986 in Omaha, Neb., and numerous state tournaments as well.
“I had really done everything that I wanted to do,” he said. “It takes a lot of work and practice, and I kind of wore myself out.”
Dallas Brakeville is working toward a spot in the U.S. Senior Olympic Games in Pittsburgh for 2005. Ron Brakeville is working on learning the sport.
“(Dallas) taught me over the telephone, which is difficult,” Ron Brakeville said “I’ve been shooting at a club down in Houston, and that reinforces what he’s told me over the phone.
“It’s really about getting together with my brother and having a good time for the weekend,” he said. “This is a good way to do it.”
— Jim Margalus
Suanne Hazelwood of Jefferson City, 42, has enjoyed the Games as a director, not as a player.
It’s the first time she has coordinated the Games’ tennis event, and Hazelwood said the event has been proceeding smoothly.
“It’s been a learning experience for me,” Hazelwood said. “As a new director, it’s been very fun for me.”
Hazelwood has also helped run other tennis events and promoted the sport. She is a director of the USTA tournament during winter and directed the Show-Me State Senior Games this year. She said her daughter, Rachel Hazelwood, 16, sparked her passion.
“She is the reason I got into it,” Suanne Hazelwood said. “She loves the game of tennis. Anything I can do to promote tennis in mid-Missouri area, I am willing to do it.
“I am looking to be doing more and more tournaments.”
Rachel Hazelwood participated in the Games for the first time and beat Whitney Baragary, 16, of Boonville 6-0, 6-1 in the girls’ 15-16 quarterfinals at Green Tennis Center.
“(Suanne Hazelwood) got me into the Show-Me State Games,” Rachel Hazelwood said. “I just knew that it happens, but I never really got into it till this year. And, it’s been really fun.”
Suanne Hazelwood said she has never played tennis and never thought about doing so.
“I don’t play, and I don’t even attempt to play,” Suanne Hazelwood said. “I told someone earlier those who can’t play manage.”
The Games provided a chance for Scott Hawf, 16, to stay in the sport during the summer. Hawf overwhelmed Jessie Crowe, 16, of Jefferson City, winning the game 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinal of the boys’ 15-16 division.
“I was playing pretty well,” Hawf said. “He didn’t have very much pace on the ball. So, it’s kind of tough to make my own pace.”
Terri Kopsky-Cardwell, of Columbia, cheered on her son, Jonathan Cardwell, as he crossed the finish line in his first bike race. The Games’ 20-mile road race started at the Sun Rise Baptist church in Callaway County.
Home for the summer, Cardwell, 18, a wrestler at Maur Hill-Mount Academy in Atchison, KS., raced in the 18-24 division and finished in 1 hour, 19 minutes and 54 seconds.
He has been riding since he was in eighth grade but never competed in a race prior to the Games.
Cardwell’s uncle, Bill Kopsky, travels the country to race and encouraged Cardwell to try it.
“My brother just kept talking to him about it and finally he gave him a bike and just said, ‘do this,’ and so he started riding,” Kopsky-Cardwell said.
She said her son isn’t at the level her brother is, training 30-40 miles a day compared to her brother’s 140-miles a day.
Kopsky-Cardwell said her son has been calm in anticipation of the race but this morning was a different story.
“Today he was spazing out at home,” Kopsky-Cardwell said. “I told him we would be there on time, ‘It’s all right, everything will be fine.’
“This is his last hurrah before he goes back to boarding school in two weeks.”
Cardwell’s senior season at the academy begins Aug. 13, but he said plans to take his bike up to school to train for next summer’s competitions.
— Andrea Nigh
Nikki Thorpe’s two biggest fans couldn’t have made more noise.
Her two puppies barked from the sideline while Thorpe played in the Games’ soccer tournament Saturday at Cosmopolitan Park.
The competition brought back memories for Thorpe and some of her teammates. Thorpe, Jill Youse and Vanessa Smith, all from Columbia, used to play soccer at Truman State University.
Although they still play together in fall, spring and indoor leagues, Thorpe said she wanted more former Truman players to come out for the Games.
“We thought a lot more people would come back from our team,” Thorpe said. “We were hoping for a total Truman team but it’s hard.”
Youse said playing together again went well, and the team passed well.
“It was pretty smooth for us who have played together before,” Youse said. “ It’s kind of like old times.”
Smith, though, said counterattacking was a weak point.
“As soon as we would stick and get the ball and have possession, we were so slow to go forward, because we were so much more fatigued from making the recovery that counterattacks were always half faked and they were quick to get back.” she said.
Their team lost the first game of the day 2-0.
Thorpe’s sister, Jennifer Thorpe, came from Dallas to play in the Games. Jennifer Thorpe played for one year at Illinois State University but tore her right anterior cruciate ligament. She went through surgery and rehab but felt burnt out so she stopped playing.
In the Games, Jennifer Thorpe collided with an opposing player causing pain in her right leg, limiting her playing time.
— Alexis Headley
Daniel Gale and Nathan Allen ran across the finish line holding hands and yelling “Rampage Pride.” They finished fourth and fifth in the Games’ cross country event at Bethel Park.
“It was a finish we’d talked about for years,” Gale said. “Back there we were like holding hands, yep, holding hands, gotta do it.”
Gale and Allen ran on the seven-man Redneck Rampage team, made up of runners from the Jefferson City High cross country team.
When they took their place cards, Allen let Gale take the higher place. This was their last race together on a team because Gale graduated in May. After they finished, they cheered on their teammates, then went to sing Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” to Levi (Carl) Albertson.
The first six Red Rampage runners placed fourth through ninth. Albertson finished 18th.
Last year Albertson won the Games’ cross country event, but he hasn’t ran seriously since cross country season ended in November.
Allen said their team name “was just kind of a spur of the moment inspiration” that came to them last year when they found out teams could compete this year.
Friday night the team got together at Gale’s house for what Allen called “bonding time.” They ate pasta, and made matching T-shirts that said their team name on the front and sometimes their name and a number they chose on the back. Prince Nwokorie’s wore No. 1/2. He will be a freshman at Jefferson City, but he has been training with the team during the summer.