During my days with the AP, I was lucky enough to travel to a lot of places and cover a lot of events. But without fail, this was always one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s Drake Relays week, and while I work in a different capacity now — getting quotes from athletes as part of the media operation — I’ll be there for every day of the competition, just like always. The thing about the Relays is you don’t have to be a track fan to enjoy it. The most sophisticated flower garden can’t match all the colors in the uniforms — and sometimes shoes — that you see on the track. The stadium is abuzz with activity. While races are being run, pole vaulters are doing their thing on the east side, long jumpers are sailing into the sand on the west side, high jumpers are arching over the bar at the south end and throwers are heaving a javelin or discus north of the track. It doesn’t look like anyone’s in charge, but it all goes off without a hitch and on time, too. Watching people who are so skilled at what they do is fun and let’s face it, track athletes are in great shape, so they look good. OK, shot putters aren’t so sleek, but many are easy-going free spirits who enjoy putting on a show. One of them, Reese Hoffa, took a victory lap holding one of those turkey drumsticks sold outside the stadium. How can that not bring on a smile? Besides, when the weather is like it’s going to be this weekend, the Relays is a great excuse to get outside, soak up some sun and be part of an event.
Below: The first Drake Relays "event" of the week was the beautiful bulldog contest on Monday. Rocky, shown here with his "trainers" (his owners) Deanna and Bill Rubis, was among the 50 contestants. Another 50 bulldogs had be turned away, so maybe next year Drake will require qualifying times because getting stubby-legged dogs to parade takes a while.