Sports and Outdoors

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Operation of motorized watercraft restricted at some area lakes

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Lt. Erick Bolt, District Two Commander of Indiana Conservation Officers in Northeastern Indiana, recommended to Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Robert E. Carter Jr. that due to high water levels on certain lakes in the area, operation of motorized watercraft will have some restrictions until further notice.

Director Carter has signed an emergency order to that effect on the following lakes:

Noble County: Waldron, Steinbarger, Tamarack and Jones. (NON-MOTORIZED ONLY)

Lagrange County: Dallas, Witmer, Westler, Hackenberg and Messick. (IDLE SPEED ONLY)

Monday, April 29, 2013

N-B Video: Norwell helps Indiana defeat Ohio in annual Border Wars basketball game

Norwell Coach Randy Hawkins and players Cam Denney, Paige Frisch and Taylor Wilson share their thoughts after helping Indiana sweep Ohio in the annual Nancy Rehm Border Wars All-Star series. Learn more in the Monday, April 29, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Outdoor Indiana magazine features historic fire towers

Outdoor Indiana magazine’s May-June issue features a cover article on the state’s historic fire towers.

With modern technology, the fire towers have emerged as a tourist attraction rather than a fire-detection tool.

The 48-page full-color magazine also includes a removable eight-page insert on Versailles State Park, one of the state’s top mountain biking destinations. That article continues the magazine’s series in which one state park or reservoir property will be portrayed through 2016, the 100th anniversary of Indiana state parks. To view a short video on fire towers and Versailles State Park, see the Outdoor Indiana playlist at

Outdoor Indiana is available now at most DNR properties and Barnes & Noble stores in Indiana for $3 a copy. Save 33 percent off the cover price when you buy a one-year, six-issue subscription for $12.

To subscribe or read excerpts from the May-June magazine, go to Subscriptions also can be purchased by calling (317) 233-3046.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Grants available for field trips to state parks and reservoirs

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Educators interested in students, grades K-12, on field trips to an Indiana state park or reservoir in the 2013-2014 school year can receive financial help through a new program of the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation.

The Discovering the Outdoors Field Trip Grant Program is for public, private, parochial or home-school educators.

“We are proud to be a partner in improving school access to our state’s natural and cultural resources through field trip grants for all types of educators and students across Indiana,” said Bourke Patton, director of INRF.

The fund was established in memory of Tom Huck, a long-time DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of outdoor experiences for children.

Indiana has 24 state parks and eight reservoirs eligible for field trip funding. Field trips to parks and reservoirs engage students in learning about Indiana's fish, forest, wildlife, natural habitats and conservation.

"Field trips to our state parks and reservoirs give children a sense of place,” said Ginger Murphy assistant director for stewardship for the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “These trips let them understand how previous generations viewed the significance of Indiana's natural and cultural resources, and at the same time let them make great memories that they will carry into adulthood.”

The maximum grant award is $250 per application.

Applications are accepted from May 1 – June 30 prior to the school year for which the grant is requested. Applications must be postmarked no later than June 30.

Applicants will be notified by Aug. 1 regarding potential grant awards.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ouabache SP hosts cooking workshop, cornhole tourney, May 4

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Ouabache State Park in Bluffton will host a cooking outdoors workshop and a cornhole tournament on May 4 in recognition of Welcome Back Weekend for Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs.

Welcome Back Weekend is May 3-5 and is a chance to celebrate the arrival of spring with special outdoor recreation events and hands-on programming at Indiana’s 24 state parks and eight reservoirs.

Winners of the cornhole tournament win a free weekend of camping at Ouabache. Entry forms will be at the gatehouse. Competition will be divided between youths, age 12 and younger, and adults, age 13 and older.

The double-elimination tournament will be on the campground comfort station lawn between A and B.

At 4 p.m., “A Taste of the Outdoors” cooking workshop will be presented by the Kokomo Kookers. This hands-on opportunity is a chance to create dishes alongside seasoned outdoor chefs. Cost per person is $10 or $30 per family.

For more information, contact Upper Wabash Interpretive Services at (260) 468-2127.

Nester Wins Modified Race After Wild Final Lap

From the Anderson Speedway:

For 41 laps Brian Nester chased Scott Coe for the point in the Top Speed Modified feature at Anderson Speedway, but emerge as the winner after wild last lap incident.

Coe, the fast qualifier, started fifth in the field but used the outside line to take the lead in seven laps. Nester moved into second on lap eight and the chase for the lead was on during Madison County Storm Water Quality Night.

Several times Nester attempted to bump Coe out of the low groove to no avail. But with a lap remaining the two leaders closed on the third place car of Jerry Hammond.

Both Coe and Nester got sideways on the back straight with the two spinning in turn three and collecting the cars of Hammond and Herb Johnson Jr.

Nester was able to continue across the finish line followed by Tim Burkett, Coe, Chris Jennings and Mark Bott.

“I admit I got into Scott and backed off,” Nester said. “We both got sideways on the back straight.”

Both drivers struggled to maintain control of their cars when they entered turn three with Coe battling a flat right rear tire.

Martinsville driver Danny Trent said he was competing in the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Model Division at Anderson Speedway to record wins and accomplished that feat in his first appearance of the year.

Trent inherited the lead when leader Keith Sterkowitz was spun in turn four by Josh Cave on lap 23. Cave was trying to bump Sterkowitz out of the low groove.

The caution flag waved on lap 25 when Rob Noel spun in turn two. On the restart Jeff Williams and Jeff Marcum bumped on the front straight which dropped Williams from third to fifth.

Sterkowitz and Cave passed Marcum on laps 27 and 28 and started to close on Trent, who held on the victory by .391-seconds.

“I was a little lucky tonight,” Trent said. “I’ve had good cars here and didn’t win.”

Early in the race Sterkowitz used the outside groove on a restart to get around leader Ronnie Rose and remained in front until the spin on lap 23.

In Front Wheel Drive action Jerry Dane returned to action with a victory in the car driven the first two weeks of the season by Nick Warner.

Dane used an inside move to get past Trevin Henson. Henson was passed by Chris Jennings and Elliott McKinney in the final five laps to claim podium positions.

Racing returns to Anderson Speedway on Saturday, April 27 with the first appearance of the CRA Street Stocks. The racing lineup also showcases WMDH ThunderCars along with Front Wheel Drives on the Oval and Figure 8. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

He shoots, he scores, he donates

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck recently gave Norwell graduate and Indianapolis Colts teammate Chandler Harnish $8,000 to the charity of his choice in exchange for his jersey number after Harnish made a half-court shot. Learn more in the Wednesday, April 17, News-Banner.

Photography workshop at Pokagon State Park April 27

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Pokagon State Park Nature Center will host Barbara Knights-Hale of Jitterbug Photography for a one-day spring photography workshop on April 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the center’s auditorium.

The workshop is for beginners, intermediate and like-minded photography enthusiasts. The hands-on workshop will cover aperture and shutter priority, proper exposure, composition, ISO speeds, and manual settings on cameras. Time will be spent both outside and in the classroom, where many photo examples will be projected. Participants will need to provide camera and accessories outlined upon registration.

Workshop cost is $89 and includes lunch and park entrance. Advance registration is required by contacting Jitterbug Photography at (260) 624-2999 or emailing

Further information is available at

For more information, call Fred Wooley, park interpreter, (260) 833-2012.

Pokagon State Park is at 450 Lane 100 Lake James, Angola, 46703.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pierce gets third Glen Niebel Classic Victory

From the Anderson Speedway:

ANDERSON – Muncie’s Aaron Pierce recorded his third Glen Niebel Classic victory for non-winged sprint cars at Anderson Speedway on Sunday.

Pierce inherited the lead on lap 70 when leader Bobby East tangled with the slower car of Travis Welpott on the front street with the two cars coming to rest in turn one.

Pole sitter Joe Swanson took the early chased by Jo Jo Helberg, Pierce, East and Brian Gingras. Helberg went to the point on lap 17 when he slipped inside of Swanson coming off the fourth corner and East got inside of Pierce to claim the third spot.

Helberg’s run ended on lap 22 when he bounced off the lapped car of Kyle Feeney, coming to a stop against the turn four retaining wall. Helberg’s bad luck put East on the point chased by Pierce, Swanson, Gingras and Tony Hunt.

For the next 47 laps East was able to hold off a determined Pierce, who looked high and low for a way to the front. On lap 69 with East and Pierce running amongst slower traffic, the race deciding incident took place.

Pierce went on to win by three-seconds over Swanson with Hunt getting inside of Gingras on the final lap to finish third.

“The car was great,” Pierce said following his third Niebel victory. He’s the first driver to win back-to-back races to go along with a win in 2003.

“I saw it coming,” he said of the contact that took East out of the race.

Swanson said his car lost its brakes for the second half of the race, but the car was good until then.

“It was tight racing,” he said of the USSA sanctioned race.

Hunt said his car wasn’t as good for the feature as it had been for qualifying and the heat race.

“It might have been something with the tires,” he said. “I didn’t want to wreck. We wanted to get a solid finish, which we did.”

Spencer Bayston set fast time; win a heat race and the feature for the Mel Kenyon Midgets as he started his rookie season campaign in impressive fashion.

It was only Bayston’s, fifth time in competition with the series.

 Bayston slipped inside of Jessica Bean entering turn three to take the lead with 11 laps remaining and went on to record the victory.

Alexandria’s Clayton Gaines, who recorded his first ever win in a heat race, led the first 14 laps until Bean and Bayston got underneath coming off the second corner.

Bayston won by 4.5 seconds followed by Bean, Travis Young (2012 champion), Cordy Horn and Gaines.

“I just ran a good line,” Bayston said. “I’m very happy.”

Racing returns to Anderson Speedway on Saturday, April 20 with McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models, Top Speed Fabrication Modifieds and Front Wheel Drives Oval.

For additional information on Anderson Speedway, visit or contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Talk” to turkey hunting expert on Facebook April 17

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Facebook followers of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources can “talk” online about turkey hunting with biologist Steve Backs on Wednesday, April 17, from 2-3 p.m. EDT, on the DNR’s Facebook wall.

Backs will talk about turkey hunting in Indiana and tips for harvesting a turkey as well as licensing and regulation requirements. Participants are invited to join the conversation and bring any questions that they would like answered.

Future topics, instructions on how to join a conversation on Facebook, and commenting guidelines are posted at

To join a chat, go to the DNR’s Facebook wall,, and click “like” (if you are not already a “friend”).
You may begin typing in questions during the time slot. The DNR experts will answer questions as time allows.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Plant a tree for Arbor Day, April 26

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

The DNR Division of Forestry reminds Hoosiers that Friday, April 26, is a day to put down roots—tree roots—in recognition of Arbor Day.

Communities throughout Indiana will take part in the 142nd Arbor Day in the United States, and will celebrate by planting trees.

Conceived by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, Arbor Day is the oldest conservation-related holiday in the U.S., predating Earth Day by almost 100 years. The purpose of Arbor Day is to raise awareness about the benefits of trees. Arbor Day is observed in all 50 states and many European countries.

The first Arbor Day observance in Indiana was April 11, 1884. The date of Arbor Day changed for several years at the discretion of the governor, until 1991 when it was established as the last Friday of April, which is also the official date of National Arbor Day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Advice offered for landowners looking to sell timber

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Indiana Conservation Officers and the DNR Division of Forestry are providing useful tips to landowners that can assist in protecting their valuable timber resources.

Indiana hardwoods, such as black walnut, red and white oak, and other valuable species are sought by the timber industry. Landowners should follow some simple steps before signing a contract with a timber buyer.

“Some Indiana landowners are taken advantage of every year, and they lose money and resources because they are not aware of the value of timber or the steps needed to protect themselves,” said Duane McCoy, timber licensing forester with the DNR Forestry.

To protect forestry resources, landowners should follow these steps:

1. Hire a consultant forester to represent you and mark and advertise your timber sale.
2. Always get several bids from different timber buyers.
3. Ask questions and get references from the timber buyer.
4. Mark the trees to be cut with a paint mark on the stem and at ground level.
5. Know and understand the fine details of the contract.
6. Never make an oral agreement.
7. Know how much you will be paid and the method of payment.
8. Be a good neighbor and work out any property line disputes prior to harvesting.

“Marketing the mature timber from a family property is generally something that will only occur once in a person’s lifetime, and it must be done with knowledge that protects the interest of your investment,” said Lt. Tony Stoll, DNR Law Enforcement District 9 commander.

The DNR offers a free information packet titled “callb4ucut” to Indiana citizens considering harvesting their timber. See for further information.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

N-B Video: Bluffton boys golf coach has "high hopes" for the season

Learn more in the Tuesday, April 9, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Salamonie preschool to offer two classes April 24

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Preschool-age children are invited to Salamonie Preschool’s “Green and Growing” class on April 24.

The class will run from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and again from 12:30 to 2 p.m., at Salamonie Interpretive Center in Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area in Andrews.

Salamonie Preschool programs are designed to enhance the preschooler’s basic education. Activities include learning the alphabet, crafts, interaction with other children, and time outdoors, always with a nature-related theme.

The cost per child is $2. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is appreciated. Register by calling (260) 468-2127.

Salamonie Lake is at 9214 West-Lost Bridge West, Andrews, 46702.

No changes in Indiana muskie fishing rules

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Now that Michigan has restricted anglers to keeping one muskie per year and has implemented a harvest tag system, will Indiana muskie anglers face a similar change?

Not likely—at least for now.

Current rules allow Indiana-licensed anglers to take one muskie per day in Indiana. There are no limits in Indiana on the number of muskies an Indiana-licensed angler can take per year.

The only tags required in Indiana for harvest pertain to deer and turkey hunting—not fishing.

Michigan’s muskie tag is free. Any angler who catches a muskie must release the fish if that person does not possess a harvest tag.

“We understand why Michigan is cutting muskie harvest and requiring a muskie tag,” said Jed Pearson, an Indiana DNR fisheries biologist. “They are sending a message that muskies are scarce and the tags provide biologists a good way to track long-term trends in harvest.”

Pearson, however, does not think muskie fishing in Indiana is being affected by anglers harvesting the fish.

“Based on surveys conducted at several Indiana lakes, few anglers keep muskies,” Pearson said. “They are at the top of the list for catch-and-release fishing.”

Michigan also imposes a much higher size limit on muskies than Indiana.

A muskie must be 36 inches or larger to be taken in Indiana, whereas muskies taken in southern Michigan must be at least 42 inches. At some Michigan waters, muskies must be 50 inches long.

“At Lake Webster, our premier muskie lake, male muskies do not grow much after they reach 36 inches long,” said Pearson. “Female muskies grow faster but few grow beyond 44 inches. It’s very rare to see a 50-incher.”

Increasing Indiana’s size limit, therefore, would not have much of an impact on muskie size because so few muskies are taken at any size.

Michigan also differs from Indiana on when anglers can fish for muskies. Michigan imposes a closed season from March 16 until the last Saturday of April on waters in the Lower Peninsula.

Indiana has no closed season on muskies. Anglers can fish for them year-round.

“Closed seasons are often used to protect spawning fish. Our muskie program depends entirely on stocking, so a closed season in Indiana is not needed,” Pearson said.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

MEP late models, street stocks and front wheel drive figure 8's debut on Saturday night

From the Anderson Speedway:

ANDERSON, Ind. – Racing action returns to Anderson Speedway on Saturday, April 6th with the season debut of the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models, Street Stocks and Front Wheel Drive Figure 8 divisions. The Front Wheel Drive Oval division will also be in action on the high-banked quarter-mile oval.

The MEP Late Models were one of the most competitive divisions last year producing nine winners in 13 events. The opening six races of the season were won by six competitors. Only three drivers, Jason Atkinson, Ryan Amonett and Ronnie Rose visited the winner’s circle on multiple occasions. In the final standings, Josh Poore earned the championship over Rose with Brandon Phillips ranked in third position.

Street Stocks will compete in their first of 13 races on Saturday Night. Last year, Indianapolis’ racer Jimmy Kirby visited the winner’s circle on five times en route to his division title. Tyler Marsh and Josh Meyers were his closest challengers in the points rundown.

The Front Wheel Drive Oval division held its first race last weekend with Paul Phipps earning the victory after a classic battle with Nick Warner. The remainder of the top five included Marshall Clark Jr., Elliott McKinney and Mike Alley.

Alley earned his first division crown last year with capturing the Front Wheel Drive Figure 8 hardware. He earned a single victory, but consistent finishes propelled him to the title. Behind Alley were Donnie Ellis Jr. and Kevin Henson.

On Saturday, April 6, spectator gates open at 4 p.m. with the racing beginning at 7. Admission is $12 for adults and $4 for kids ages 6-12. Children five and under get in free.

For additional information on Anderson Speedway, visit or contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Southern Wells ponders its future in the ACAC

Southern Wells Junior-Senior High School Principal Chad Yencer told board members Tuesday that his students will play on their own football field this year, but he and other officials are now discussing who they’ll play.

Yencer and Athletic and Activities Director Ben Mann said the ACAC conference recently extended an invitation to Jay County High School to join, and “every indication tells us that they will accept,” Mann stated in a document he gave to board members during a work session Tuesday afternoon.

But more than 1,100 students attended Jay County this year which, he said, could spark “competitive balance issues” for the approximately 277 students who attend Southern Wells.

Learn more in the Wednesday, April 3, News-Banner.

Eight teams currently play in the ACAC; Jay County would add nine.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chapman captures Thundercar 100 at Anderson

From the Anderson Speedway:

After taking a year off from racing, Curtis Chapman returned to victory circle at Anderson Speedway in the WMDH ThunderCar 100. Chapman set fast and led all 100 laps to open the season Saturday with a victory, but it wasn’t a walk in the park.

For the first 64 laps Chapman was pressed by Eric Evans with Nick Warner, Robbie Wyman and Johnny Magee running in a tight formation.

On lap 65 Evans got loose coming off the fourth corner, made a dramatic save of the car, but was passed by Warner. Warner stayed glued to Chapman’s rear bumper until the finish.

Wyman passed Evans to claim the third spot on lap 74 with Magee coming home in fifth.

The race was slowed only by four caution flags and the race stayed green from lap 32 to the finish.

Paul Phipps used a slower car as the perfect pick to keep Nick Warner at bay on the penultimate lap to win the Front Wheel Driver feature.

Warner and Phipps battled side by side for 10 laps with Warner using the momentum on the high side to hold off Phipps, who was running in the low groove.

On lap 17, Phipps was able to clearly get inside of Warner entering turn one and emerged with the lead and the victory. Warner finished second followed by Marshall Clark Jr.

Andy Jones passed Aaron Holden on the final restart with four laps remaining with an outside pass to win the opening Legends race of the season in what became a race of attrition.

Josh Dietz recovered from being sent to the tail of the field on lap 10 to pass Holden to grab the second spot followed by Holden, Eric Black and Zach Holden.

Being on the point was not the place to be during the Legend feature as three of the front runners all experienced problems.

Bryan Nuckles was the early leader when he tangled with fast qualifier Jack Dossey Jr. on the back straight on lap five. Dossey’s night was finished and Nuckles went to the rear of the field.

The next leader to have a problem was Jack Dossey III, who was spun on the front straight on lap 10 by second place running Dietz. Both drivers were sent to the tail of the field.

That put John Robbins into the lead, but his night ended on lap 19 when his car erupted in flames on the back straight. Robbins was uninjured.

Fast qualifier James Edsel worked his way through the field to take the lead from Marty Griffin with an inside pass entering turn three on lap 14 and went on to record the Thunder Roadster win.

Griffin finished second with Doug Dugger claiming the third spot.

Racing action returns to Anderson Speedway on Saturday, April 6th with the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models, Street Stocks and Front Wheel Drives Oval & Figure 8.

For additional information on Anderson Speedway, visit or contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.

Weather cancels race test and tune day

From Eldora Speedway:

ROSSBURG, OH – The untypical spring weather that has plagued the Midwest with continued cold temperatures and record snowfalls over the past few weeks has also played havoc with the Eldora Speedway track crew and their efforts to produce an ideal racing surface for Saturday’s (April 6) scheduled Test and Tune Day.  As a result, the session has been canceled.

The Test and Tune cancelation has not affected Sunday’s season opening SpringBuster event for go-karts on the 1/7 mile Little Eldora Speedway.  With free general admission, over a dozen classes of karts are scheduled to take the green flag at 12:30 p.m.

Saturday’s cancelation will move Eldora’s first action on the historic .500-mile clay oval to Saturday, April 13 with the 60th Season Opener.   On tap will be a tripleheader program featuring the Sunoco American Late Model Series, along with UMP DIRTcar Modifieds and Eldora Stock Cars as all three divisions begin their quest towards 2013 championship titles.

Admission gates on April 13 will swing open at 4 p.m., while track action begins at 6 p.m. with a short practice session for each division followed by a complete racing program which will take the green flag at 7:30 p.m.

Complete event and advance ticket purchase information for the 60th Season Opener, along with the other exciting race events on the 2013 Eldora calendar, is available on the track’s  Race fans and race teams can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, hitting ‘Like’ at and view video highlights  The new Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android is now available for download via iTunes and Google Play.