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Flattrack Racing

Washington State Loves It's Flat Track Racing

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span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> A flurry of snow splattered the windshield as we made our way to Elma, Washington and the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds to race motorcycles.  Specifically, flattrack racing - on an indoor track in an arena more accustomed to horses than horsepower.

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span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Flattrack racing takes place on a hard-packed dirt oval or, ideally, a clay track.span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">  The bikes are often custom built from production dirt bikes and feature engines mounted on specially designed chassis with lightweight street bike front forks, special shocks in the rear and what's known as a 'spool' wheel up front. Similar to a bicycle wheel, the spool wheel has one unique feature � no brakes!  On a flattrack bike, there are no front brakes.  What sets the flattrack rider apart from a road racer is the fact that he or she wears a steel (or 'hot') shoe on the left boot span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt"> (at left) .  Used as an 'outrigger' or balance point, the left foot is put down in the corner and skims along the surface of the racetrack helping the rider remain upright.span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Started on the board tracks (yes, they were made out of wood) in the early 1900s, flattrack racing soon moved to the state fairs of the midwest and enjoyed great popularity up through the 1970s. While the sport still survives, there are fewer tracks to run on and racing at the local level is sporadic at best. It's the purest form of motorcycle racing and one that enjoys a passionate, devoted following. Most events in this area are sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association and promoted by the Catywampus Caveman Motorcycle Club of AMA District 27.  The Elma indoor season starts in November and runs through March with the next event on Saturday, March 23 rd.

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> With an arena smelling of corndogs, caramel corn, and, of course, coffee, the pit area and grandstand are littered with plenty of pimples, purple, electric green leather, some vanilla hair and tattoos, a cowboy hat or two, a few piercings, and several beards and ponytails. Regardless of the makeup of the crowd, the atmosphere is friendly and family.span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Racers range in age from 6 to 60-something, male and female.  On the track or in the grandstand, there's something for everybody at the event.

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> And, flattracking isn't just for motorcycles, either.span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> The race day program also includes speedway-style racers, quads, and occasionally riding lawn mowers (no blades, please).span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">  The riding lawn mowers come in a variety of shapes, age, and designs.  Painted in strange colors like industrial blue and bearing titles like "Mad Dog", it's not clear whether the moniker is that of the lawnmower or the rider! With a helmet to match the mower, a ring of keys jangling against the seat, and a pair of red suspenders standing between himself and embarrassment, the rider's out for a night of four-wheel fun with no lawn in sight!

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">  Another unique form of competition is Speedway racing.  Hugely popular in Europe, teams represent various countries throughout the region and compete in the Speedway Grand Prix series.  Structured much like soccer leagues, teams often represent cities and compete in a national series, as well. The bikes resemble large-wheeled bicycles and also operate without brakes � front AND rear! In addition, the bikes are built low to the ground and feature only one gear � riders just climb aboard and grab a handful of throttle! Check out www.speedwaybike.com for more information on this exciting form of racing. span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">  span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">As the snow turns to an icy, sleety rain the racing gets underway.span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">  A smoky haze rises to the ceiling of the arena while the air is scented with the aroma of race fuel. Engines begin to rev in a wa-wa rhythm as each class lines up at the pit entrance for their heat race. From the heat races, riders prepare for their next run and depending on how many riders are competing, there could be a semi-main to further narrow the field.

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Flattracking truly is a family sport. It's not uncommon to see a 6-year-old competing in the Beginner 50cc class while Dad (or Mom!) competes in one of the larger displacement fields.  While classes are based on engine size and rider experience, there are also classes based on age, with Over 30, Over 40 and Over 50 year old groups having a run on the demanding track.

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Crucial to success in this form of racing is a quick, fast start - especially on a short track. Getting out in front quickly makes it difficult (but not impossible!) to pass.  Although the quads have a propensity for driving over top of one another, crashes are mostly of the 'whoops!-I-fell-down' variety and minor fuel spills are handled with a quick flame and stamp of the foot.  Brooms and shovels are kept readily at hand for more serious divots.

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">span style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> On this particular evening, one of the riders that attracted attention was wearing a conspicuous cowboy hat and an ear-to-ear grin.span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> Aaron "Hayseed" Weston (at right) started racing in 1995 at Oakwood Arena and last year was ranked 69 th in the nation with Formula USA. This year, Aaron hopes to achieve his national number with the AMA sanctioning body.  Hayseed runs a 1999 Wood Rotax 665 at local events and a 2002 Suzuki TL1000 for the nationals. His favorite track is anything � mile (check out Yakima on April 13 th and 14 th) or bigger with deep cushion for riding sideways! Hayseed recommends riding often and having fun � but watch out for those back-40 events � they can be bone-bending!

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> This form of motorcycle racing doesn't go without rewards, either.  The High Participation award goes to the riders who attend and participate in most, if not all, of the AMA District 27 sanction races.  The 2001 season recipients for High Participation were Shawn Dewey, 250/2 Stroke Quad Class, for participating in 31 of 34 races and young J. D. Beach (he's yet to celebrate his 10 th birthday!), 65cc M/C Class, for participating in 34 of 34 races. The Bill Fogg Memorial Award is in memory of Bill Fogg and is presented to a rider who is always willing to help others and shows a great love for the sport.  For 2001, the recipient of the Fogg Memorial was Aaron "Hayseed" Weston. The High Point Award goes to the rider who has earned the most points from January to December in a given year. For 2001, Shawn Dewey was the 250/2 Stroke Quad recipient with 407 points in 31 races and Gary Moore in the +30 Open M/C class with 494 points in 31 races, as well as the +40 class honors with 487 points in 30 races. For showing great sportsmanship throughout the season, Sportsman of the Year went to Dick Wall while Sportswoman of the Year went to Danielle Marshall. Note:  You don't have to be a rider to be eligible to receive this award � just a fan of a great sport!

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt"> For more information about this exhilarating sport, visit www.AMADist27.org , or call 425-745-4010 and let them know you read about it on Sound RIDER!

span style="mso-bidi-font-size: 10.0pt">Story and Photos by Nan Darbous

span style="mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt">Nan Darbous is a member of SSO Racing and WMRRA. She races various types of motorcycles along with the SSO team.

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The Flat Track schedule for the Northwest through the end of 2002

table> td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> April   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">4/6/02 Indoor Short Track
Oakwood Arena
Roy, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23"> Indoor ST
QUADS OK td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23"> 4/13/02 Yakima Fairgrounds - 1/2 Mile Night Race
Yakima, WA
Catywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23"> 4/14/02 Yakima Fairgrounds - 1/2 Mile Day Race
Yakima, WA
Catywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23"> 4/27/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">
Mt. Baker M/C
Bellingham, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">
May   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">5/4/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">5/11/02
Mt. Baker M/C
Bellingham, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">5/17/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock Practice 7-10
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Practice td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">5/18/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Semi-Pro
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> AMA Flat
Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> June   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/1/02 Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/2/02 Dinosaur Daze Vintage Short Track
Thurston County ORV
Tacoma Motorcycle Club td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> AMA Vintage
Short Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/7/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock Practice 7-10
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Practice td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/8/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Semi-Pro
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/15/02
Mt. Baker M/C
Bellingham, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/16/02 Short Track
Thurston County ORV
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Short Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/22/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">6/29/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Semi-Pro
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> July   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/5/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock Practice 7-10
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Practice td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/6/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Semi-Pro
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/13/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/14/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Short Track
Thurston County ORV
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Short Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/20/02
Mt. Baker M/C
Bellingham, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">  Mo'Di'Ro' (MX, Dirt Track, Road Events)
Thurston County ORV
Laurie (425) 745-4010 td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/21/02 Mo'Di'Ro' (MX, Dirt Track, Road Events)
Thurston County ORV
Laurie (425) 745-4010 td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">7/27/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Mt. Mania Night
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> Aug.   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">8/3/02 Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">8/10/02
Mt. Baker M/C
Bellingham, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">8/11/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Short Track
Thurston County ORV
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Short Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">8/16/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock Practice 7-10
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Practice td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">8/17/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock -Harley Night at the Park
(125cc & Up Only)
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23"> 8/24//02 Yakima Fairgrounds - 1/2 Mile Night Race
Yakima, WA
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23"> 8/25/02 Yakima Fairgrounds - 1/2 Mile Day Race
Yakima, WA
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="23">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">8/31/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Semi-Pro
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> Sept.   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">9/1/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Semi-Pro
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">9/7/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">9/8/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Short Track
Thurston County ORV
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Short Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">9/13/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock Practice 7-10
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Practice td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">9/14/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32"> Castle Rock - Season Championship
Mt. St. Helens M/C Club
Castle Rock , WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">9/28/02 td vAlign="top" width="234" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="32">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> Oct.   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21">10/5/02 Rainier Sportsman's Club Flat Track
Rainier, WA td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21">AMA Flat Track td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21"> 10/26/02 Elma Indoor Short Track
Elma, WA
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21">AMA Indoor ST td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> Nov. 2002 td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21"> 11/9/02 Elma Indoor Short Track
Elma, WA
Cadywampus Caveman MC (425) 745-4010   td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21">AMA Indoor ST td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">    td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21"> Dec. 2002 td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#ffffff" height="21">  td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Date Location td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#996633" height="21"> Type td vAlign="top" width="29" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21">  No Events Scheduled at this time td vAlign="top" align="middle" width="68" bgColor="#c0c0c0" height="21"> 


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