It's hard to believe the month of February is about to be in the review mirror. The Patriots unimaginable fourth-quarter comeback kicked the month off to a fast start. Who would have thunk it, especially after watching the first three quarters of Super Bowl LI. It was off to being remembered as one of the worst championship games ever. I'm sure the Falcons and their coaches have yet to sleep a wink. Meanwhile head coach Bill Belichick and Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady have still got to be waking up and pinching themselves that it really happened along with the rest of the Patriot Nation.
Another sure sign February is in the rearview mirror is this weekend's running of the Daytona 500. An event that was near and dear to my Dad's heart. He loved traveling down for the race and actually raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona held the weekend before the big event. One of his proudest racing moments was when he actually drove against Dale Earnhardt Sr. and got to have some laughs and a conversation with him after the race. This unfortunately occurred a short time before the tragic accident that claimed Dale's life at Daytona. Time and racing stops for nobody, it has been 15 years since NASCAR lost their legendary driver.
Another quick family note about Daytona. My grandfather, Phil Maietta, had a racing team that would travel and race on the sands of the Daytona Beach Road Course during the early days of the Great American Race. The race actually took place right on the beach. Along with Charlie Weidler, who was the driver, the two built the car and ran under the name Lycoming Sales Company. This was Pappy Maietta's business that sold and repaired cars and trucks in Newberry. I’ve been told in 1952 they recorded an 8th place finish.
The Daytona 500 is a direct successor of these events. The racing on the beaches of the Daytona area began in 1902. The first ever, official Daytona 500 was run in 1959 at the current location of the Daytona International Speedway. The winner that day was Lee Petty. One of the drivers he defeated that day was, yep you guessed it, a rookie who just happened to be Lee's son Richard. "The King" went on to be the NASCAR rookie of the year and earned the aforementioned nickname as the greatest driver of his time. And now you know the rest of the story...
Switching gears from the beaches of Daytona to the woods of central Pennsylvania, how about these monster bucks that took home some great prizes in this year's Webb Weekly annual contest? A shout out to our great sponsors – Poust Taxidermy, what a great job Dana does on bringing your trophy back to life! Country Store venison processing, Tommy Springman and his gang do an equally good job making that venison taste great in whatever Country Store products you prefer and Sauers Trading, the father and son team of John—call him Kim if you want—and Donnie provided the Remington rifle for a lucky winner. I must also give a tip of my hunting cap to Ron Mingle who organizes and oversees the Monster Buck Contest.
Congrats to this year's winner Philip Hibbler. His trophy buck totaled out at 14 points with a 20-inch spread and scored 166 5/8 by Sahara Club International standards. What an absolute bruiser! He wins a trophy mount courtesy of Poust.
Runner up went to Tom Fought for his 10 point, 23 ½ spread, scoring in a 151 SCI. As nice of a typical 10-point as you are going to see. Ralph Knarr's trophy earned him third place, nine points, 18 ½ spread, scoring 151 SCI. Ken Huffman placed fourth with an 11-point, 18 1/2 spread, scoring 142 2/8 SCI. Our hunters who placed second through fourth won a $100 gift card for venison processing at the Country Store.
Last, but definitely not least, we can't forget Chris Miller and his good luck. Chris won the Remington 783 rifle courtesy of Sauers. Even though his buck wasn't a winner, by stopping in and just registering he was selected in our random drawing. The .270 came with all the fixings including scope caps, sling carrying case, and of course ammo.
Again, congratulations to all our winners and all that entered. I can't wait to see what next year brings out of Penn's Woods. How truly blessed we are to live in the special place we all call Home in our Great Land of the free!
God Bless America.