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Snow drags ready

Bonaparte races get starting lights

This year’s Bonaparte Lake Snow Drags promises to be bigger and better Feb. 8.

Launch mats, new professional starting lights and finish line sensors will produce some great times, if racers are careful.

“It’s nice and hard-packed on the track right now,” Bridget Sterling said. “The rest of the lake looks a little scary. It’s not an issue of enough ice. We have two feet of ice.”

What’s missing is another layer of compressed snow to help with handling.

Right now, racers may find themselves speeding along at speeds up to 120 mph on a sheet of ice.

“This year’s race may be a little bit more of a challenge,” Sterling said. “It will probably be a race of skill more than speed. The track (past the launch pads) might be a little questionable as far as traction.

“If we get another dumping of snow on top of that and it freezes, we will be in really good shape,” Sterling said.

Registration is 7:30-9:30 a.m. with racing at 10 a.m.

Okanogan High School boys basketball team continues to lead the state 1A ranks.

The Bulldogs (14-0) in the Associated Press poll last Thursday garnered 9 first-place votes and a total of 124 points.

Brewster (11-3) was No. 8 with 40 points.

In the girls 1A poll, Cashmere (15-0) is No. 1 with 123 points and six first-place votes.

Brewster (15-1) fell to No. 2 with 114 points and six first-place votes.

Okanogan (12-2) is No. 3 with 91 points.

In 1B, the route to state for our region undoubtedly will be through Wilbur-Creston (16-0). The Wildcats remain No. 3 in the state with 65 votes.

Pateros, which has one first-place vote, is No. 5 with 34 points.

Others receiving votes include No. 11 Entiat at 21 and No. 12 Republic with 16.

Sadie and Erik Bjornsen and Brian Gregg, all with roots in the Methow Valley and all on the U.S. Olympic ski team, are facing sticker shock.

Gregg’s support plans to be in Sochi, in southern Russia, for the games, although it will cost them a pretty penny.

The cost is about $12,000 per person for four nights, an online San Jose Mercury News story said.

Before you can get a Russian visa, you must provide proof you have event tickets, spectator passes (an added level of security), hotel rooms and health insurance.

Sochi is a relatively new resort area, with limited motel rooms and located a short distance to the west of Chechnya, which is one of the reasons for security concerns.

Coverage of Erik Bjornsen and Brian Gregg making the Olympic team was in The Chronicle’s Sunday edition.

Okanog-an’s Kara Staggs, a freshman for North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, hit on 6-of-12 3-point attempts to score a game-high 18 points in a 63-59 victory over Snow College, Utah, on Saturday.

Staggs scored 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting (4-for-8 on 3-pointers) in an 85-53 win over Lower Columbia College in late December.

Staggs scored 12 points to go with 7 rebounds in NIC’s 70-63 win in the championship game over Umpqua Community College in December at Lower Columbia College in Centralia.

I heard at a Republic basketball game from a rodeo rough stock rider that bullrider Shane Proctor, formerly of Coulee Dam and now living in North Carolina, underwent shoulder surgery.

Proctor finished third in the average at the National Finals Rodeo last month in Las Vegas, Nev. He was fourth in the season standings with $148,575.

The surgery, reported Jan. 20 in the Wall Street Journal, will keep Proctor off the back of a bull until mid-summer or later.

He won the first two rounds at the NFR before not getting a qualified ride his last four times out.

Proctor, 28, won the 2011 NFR bullriding world title.

Dina Lund of Okanogan took first in 6-dog and Linda Pierce of Omak finished second in 4-dog at the Boundary Sled Doc Classic last weekend at Jewel Lake, B.C.

The races were near Greenwood, B.C., which is between Midway and Grand Forks in British Columbia.

The mushers are heading to the Priest Lake Sled Dog Race this weekend in Idaho.

“I hear we may actually be getting some snow” at Priest Lake, Pierce said.

Al Camp is the sports editor for The Chronicle. Email him at sports@omakchronicle.com.

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