Story by Chris Vargas
Photos by Matt Forest, Sherry Panttaja, Mary Huth and Darin Maxwell
Web Editor Barry Wood
The plan at our Christmas / Thanks Ride was to take all our 2005 volunteers on a tour of the old
and new trails at the Flying B Ranch - and along the way - play games to score points for swag.
The persons with the highest scores on the games would get first choice of the many prizes
donated by our 2005 sponsors.
After final preparations we were off. We first climbed to the top of the new downhill single
track. Calvin always wanting a challenge, and tired of setting records on single speed and
single speed rigid bikes, decided to take James Sladeck's daughters bike on the ride. We all
secretly believe that Calvin is Superman but we have yet to see underneath his club jersey to
check for the Big "S" underneath.
The climb up to the single track was not an easy one; the fire road up is very steep in
sections. It was great seeing the kids on the ride making the climb; good job Troy, Camron and
Erika! Once at the top we played our first game (poker card) and then started down the new down
hill single track. Being that the trail is steep, technical and still in need of refining and
widening of the trail bed - many people ended up taking a spill or two. The trail really demands
your attention and focus, especially if you've never been on it; tight turns, steep drops and a
short but steep run-out at the end. The first riders down regrouped and watched the others
attempt the final steep run-out at the end - and you all know how intimidating that can be to
have everyone watching you. Gregg Howard suggested we name the trail "Warrior Falls" due to the
number of riders tumbling down the trail - not riding down it.
After we all "rode" down we regrouped it was on to the next game; darts. We descended down the
fire road to the Canyon that separates Hall and Baker Canyons where we had the dart board set
up. We quickly finished this game and it was on to and up the Lare-Dog Trail. Once at the top of
Lare-Dog everyone was given a choice of either riding down the Warrior's Trail or taking the
bypass down to the bottom of the Warrior's Trail. We regrouped at the bottom of the Warrior's
Trail and while waiting for everyone to descend Darin Maxwell entertained us by jumping into the
empty swimming pool that's located there. Darin is well known for his "stunts" and at one time I
told his 11-year old son Jacob "Your Dad is a pretty good downhill rider" to which Jacob
responded "He's even better at crashing." I guess that's how Darin got his nickname "Crash
It was then time for the bike toss contest. We decided to not count the bike toss as part of the
games because of all the different sized people on the ride - and we felt it wouldn't be fair to
have a 250 pound guy competing against someone much smaller - boy were we wrong. Everyone took
their turn tossing the bike and when it was all said and done 140 pound Mark Wilson beat out
much bigger guys to win the male category. His wife Suzanne (not Susan) was very proud of her
140 pound "stud" of a husband and I'm sure he got lucky that night. The female bike toss
champion was Suzanne Martin and the kid champ was Ericka Huth.
After the bike toss we rode up to the new single track, the Scorpion Trail, and rode up it to
the top where we played our third game; dice roll. This was the first time many of the
participants had ridden the Scorpion Trail and after riding up it and playing the game they rode
down it to see how it was to descend; we all agree it is a great little trail.
We then returned to the staging area and played our final game; horseshoes. The food arrived
just as we returned to the staging area so while the participants were finishing up the last
game the food was set out. We quickly tallied up the score cards and we had two people tied for
the highest score of 55 points, Calvin Mulder and Jason Martin. The way we worked the prizes is
we laid them out and as the high scorers were call up they got first choice of what prize they
wanted. Calvin and Jason both had their eyes on the Manitou Scarab shock. To make it fair, we
had them play rock, scissors paper to determine who got the shock. Their first "game" had them
tied as they both choose paper. But the second time around Calvin beat out Jason with his
"scissors" over Jason's "paper."
We also had an initiation ceremony for our three newest members: Jason Martin, Suzanne Martin
and Eron Boyer. All of these new members played a big part in helping to make the Switchback
6-Hours of Orange County a success. They all are very committed to the goals of the Warrior's
Society as Jason and Eron have been appointed as our XC trail designers at the Flying B and
Suzanne has been appointed assistant to our Event Director Sherry Pantajja. We also recognized
Gregg Howard's completion of the 2005 Vision Quest by upgrading his Club Coup Feather with the
red blood bead to symbolize his accomplishment.
Bob Haislett (72) and Terry Hamlyn (52) were awarded their Gold Coup Feathers for being the
oldest (age average) two man team in the Switchback 6-Hours of Orange County. Bob Haislett has
the record for being the oldest finisher of the Silverado Footrace, the Vision Quest (geared)
and the Vision Quest (single speed). Bob is also an Elder in the Warrior's Society, a Warrior's
Society Club Director and a Warrior's Society Dog Soldier.
Sherry Pantajja, our 2006 Event Director, was also recognized for creating, organizing and
directing the Switchback 6-Hours of Orange County - by awarding her a Gold Coup Feather; this
event would not have happened if it were not for her passion.
The Warrior's Society is very blessed to have such great volunteers; they deserve all the credit
for what we have accomplished in 2005.
I expect even greater accomplishments in 2006...
Thanks to all our volunteers for your dedication to protecting and maintaining our public trails
- and for you advocacy and passion to protect our freedom to responsibly access them.
-The Warrior's Society