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CANNING BUD IN ST. LOUIS
The catalyst for St. Louis Cardinal President Bill Bidwill's decision to fire Coach Bud Wilkinson last week was Wilkinson's refusal to play third-year Quarterback Steve Pisarkiewicz, a first-draft choice from Missouri in 1977, for the final three games of the season. Bidwill felt that substitution necessary to determine whether Pisarkiewicz can be counted on as the Cardinal quarterback of the future, because veteran Jim Hart will be 36 next season.
The firing leaves Pisarkiewicz in an uncomfortable position. Including Sunday's 13-10 win over the 49ers, in which he completed nine of 16 passes for a total of 91 yards, Pisarkiewicz has now started two games as a pro and can count two NFL coaching scalps under his belt. In fleeing St. Louis, Don Coryell, Wilkinson's predecessor, had blasted the Cardinal management for not giving him enough say in the draft. By inference he was pointing a finger at Pisarkiewicz, whom the Cardinals drafted ahead of Linebacker Robin Cole, now a starter for the Steelers, at a time when Coryell needed defensive help.
Last week Pisarkiewicz insisted that he felt no added pressure because of the circumstances leading to his starting assignment. But the turn of events clearly weighed on him. He said sadly, "All this crisis didn't need to happen."
THE LADY IS A SMITH
Women occasionally have shoed horses on farms and in stables, but now there is one so employed on the Southern California racetrack circuit. The female farrier is Ada Gates, an unlikely pioneer in this particular line of work. The daughter of a retired executive of the Corning Glass Works, Gates, now 36, made her debut at the New York Cotillion, attended a couple of tony secondary schools, Miss Hewitt's Classes in Manhattan and Virginia's Foxcroft School, and graduated from Briarcliff College. So how did somebody with such a rarefied background wind up hunched over a hot forge at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar? How did she become the only woman member of the International Union of Journeymen Horseshoers of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO?
Well, it did take a while. Gates grew up in New York's horsey set—her grandfather, David Dows, served as a member of the New York State Racing Commission—and after stints as an actress and road manager for Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin, she settled in Colorado and bought a mare. When she experienced difficulty getting somebody to shoe the animal ("I found a cowboy they said could do it but he was in a bar and drunk"), she took a degree from Oklahoma Farrier College and soon was shoeing for local ranchers. Then she went to California, where she apprenticed by making shoes for hunters and jumpers, and where she met an official in the farriers' union. He encouraged her to get her union card, and in February 1978 she began shoeing for various trainers at Hollywood Park.
Gates has since graduated to bigger barns and expects to earn $30,000 this year. She acknowledges that shoeing horses is tough on the back and admits she cried the time a stallion fell on her. But she says she has no regrets about having traded her coming-out dress for well-worn leathers. "When I became a blacksmith, my mother hit the roof, my father was speechless and my brother, who operates a 20,000-acre ranch in Montana, thought I was out of my mind. But now they tell their friends, 'You know what Ada does...?' And I couldn't be happier. I've always adored horses."
FOG ABOVE CAYUGA'S WATERS
Ithaca ( N.Y.) College won its first Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, and with it the NCAA Division III football title, by beating Wittenberg University of Ohio 14-10 on Saturday. But Ithaca's real test had come a week earlier in its semifinal playoff against Carnegie-Mellon.