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Tuesday, July 4, 2000 -- Ripley, WV
Main Street Ripley Firecracker 2 Miler
Story and photos by George Gannon

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Winner
Dave McCollam sprints to #1 Men's Overall
How good is Dave McCollam? So good he thought the finish line for the Firecracker 2 Miler in Ripley, WV was closer than it was. He actually stopped his watch, dropped into a trot and let his mind fill with the fame and notoriety that would come with winning the race. Then he looked up. He saw the real finish line, and had to sprint hard the rest of the way to hold off a surging Larry Taylor.

On a muggy day with no sunshine, the Firecracker 2 Miler was just one of the many events that coincided with the 4th of July festivities in Ripley. At 11:30 am, Miss Ripley 4th of July sounded the horn and the racers took to the streets. A flat, out-and-back course that ended at the town courthouse.

Starting Line
The Firecrackers out of the gate
For the first hundred yards, the pack was pretty tight, but A-B track star Mikey Guinn jumped out to an early lead. At the half-mile mark, another A-B track star, and eventual champ, McCollam overtook Guinn. But, Fayetteville-native Larry Taylor got in on the action and showed the young bucks that he is a force to be reckoned with. However, McCollam, whose mantra is "Jesus Christ is my strength," called on some divine adrenal rushes and passed Taylor with a half mile to go. McCollam (9:23) took first place. Taylor (9:28) grabbed the number two spot. Guinn (9:44) held on for third place.

Miss Ripley July 4
Journalist and Royalty: our man George with the Miss Ripley 4th of July
For the ladies, Jessica Taylor (11:12) could have shown her old man (Larry Taylor) a thing or two about emancipating from the rest of the pack. Taylor got out to a slow start, but at the half-mile mark, she took over and never looked back. Monica Vannest (11:39), also posting strong numbers, took the number two spot. Rachel Fox (12:45) rounded out the top three.

It was a fine race and a great way to warm up for fireworks and backyard barbecues. A WVOutside shout goes to the Firecracker's race director for the prompt handling of the results. Everyone should check out this great race next year.