What you do in bagging is you and your partner take and put five live rattlers in a sack while somebody else clocks you to see how long it takes. Bob Howe, acting as "pinner," and Jim Chesney, as "sacker," won the novice class at Sinnamahoning in 34 seconds flat. Professional class champions Jim and Tom Kautz got their five snakes in the bag in 20.2 seconds, only 1.9 seconds off the world record set last year by Bill (The Old Man) Wheeler. Wheeler, now retired but helping out at the Pennsylvania event, got nipped by a snake but shrugged it off, suffering only minor distress.
Not so fortunate was Ron Milisits. Although he had been bitten by a rattler two weeks earlier, Milisits entered anyway but was fanged again as he was bagging. He was taken to a hospital and placed in intensive care but, we are pleased to report, he has recovered. We presume he is now out looking for more snakes.
THE LADY IS A CHAMP
Judy Rankin finished 17th in the U.S. Women's Open two weeks ago, one of her worst showings this year, but the $1,229 she earned raised her 1976 tournament winnings above $100,000, a mark never before reached by a woman golfer. "I knew the time was coming," she said last week as she was in the process of winning $10,000 in the Borden Classic, which made her earnings $110,614. "But if you'd have told me in January that this would be the year, I'd have laughed. I made a triple-bogey 8 on the first hole I played this year."
It pleases Rankin that her $100,000 was won in not much more than half a season, so that the significance of her performance cannot be diminished by the higher purses women golfers are playing for these days. And the purses still aren't all that big. It costs a minimum of $15,000 a year to travel and play the LPGA tour, and fewer than 40 of the 150 to 200 women pros are making expenses. Unlike their tennis counterparts, LPGA competitors are not looking for money parity with men, but it is worth noting that David Graham's $60,000 first-prize check at last week's Westchester Classic was equal to all the prize money given at the Women's Open and was greater than total money won so far this year by every woman pro except Rankin and JoAnne Carner.
Thus, Rankin's $100,000 year is a remarkable achievement. She fully deserves to have her name coupled with another pro named Arnold Palmer, who was the first male golfer to win $100,000, back in 1963.
THE WAY IT IS
The hope that springs eternal within the breast of the racehorse owner can be gauged by the names owners give their animals. A recent issue of the Daily Racing Form listed Brave Scout, Fast and Brave, Fast and Bold, Fast Pride and Everfast, not to mention Rapid Barb, Rapid Treat, Splendid Power and Staying Power. For those who recognize the element of chance in racing, there were Lucky Fling, Lucky Speed and Lucky Sway.
But there was one other racer listed in the Form that day whose owner obviously had been through the mill, seen too many dreams turn to tinsel, too much luck go sour. The horse was named Lousy Investment, which proved to be realistic, if disheartening. A 3-year-old running at tracks in New England, Lousy Investment has gone to the post 12 times and has never managed to finish better than fifth.