Wild Bill’s Weekly Sports Roundup

by Bill Turner

A huge surprise in pro golf last Sunday as Webb Simpson survived the fog-covered Olympic Club in San Francisco to capture the U.S. Open by one shot over Michael Thompson and Graeme McDowell.

Simpson has some great ties to the Roanoke Valley. Ten years ago, in May 2002, Simpson won the age 15-18 Scott Robertson Memorial golf tournament at Roanoke Country Club.

The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event in White Sulphur Springs, WV starts July 2nd, and tournament officials announced last week that the sale of entry badges will be suspended on Wednesday, June 27th.

With Tiger Woods in the field and a star-studded musical lineup for the Greenbrier Concert Series, crowds are expected to exceed 230,000  for the week, necessitating the cutoff.

The two most fan-friendly tournament days will be Tuesday’s Youth Day, where First Tee Roanoke Valley will again participate, and Wednesday’s Pro-Am. Both offer the best opportunities for gallery members to get autographs and see the pros close-up before the serious play starts on Thursday.

 Speaking of Tiger, we saw a new-look Woods during Sunday’s U.S. Open front-nine. After a horrendous start of bogey-bogey-double bogey that effectively took him out of contention, Woods birdie response later at #8 was something heretofore unseen. As the ball rolled into the cup, Woods waved at the hole and laughed. Totally different than the club-throwing and fist-pumping shenanigans previously common place. A new Woods temperment for the future? Hope so.

Friday night, June 22nd, the Southwest vs Central Virginia All-Star Classic football game, featuring area high school stars, comes to William Fleming Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm.

 It’s time for Wild Bill’s ‘Mark Your Calendar’ summer event-planner.

You’ll want to be at the Meadowbrook Center in scenic Shawsville on Saturday, August 18th for the annual EastMont Tomato Festival. Activities will include a TomatOlympics and the requisite crowning of the 2012 Tomato Festival Queen.

As many of those who attended last year’s event remember, things took a turn for the worse when last-minute entrant T. Audrey sashayed on stage in a stunning tomato-red chaffon gown to hopefully claim the festival’s prized title.

An impromptu gathering of the judges suspicioned that T. Audrey was actually a tomato-drag-queen imposter before crowning a pair of winners to appease the howling audience. Never a dull moment in Shawsville, and I can assure you I’ll be there for the entertaining, fun-filled afternoon.

 You’ll also want to hold the weekend of July 20-21 for what may be the the biggest two-legged event to hit the valley in decades. Remember, you heard it here first, when you tell this one to your grandkids.

During the scheduled Salem Red Sox games against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on both nights, all in attendance will witness the famous Monkey Rodeo. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, monkeys that will ride on the backs of dogs between innings. A must-see in my book.

I’m planning to appeal (no, beg) to Red Sox Director of Media Relations and outstanding radio announcer, Evan Lepler, to allow me in the booth for my play-by-play monkey rodeo expertise.

Something like this could be the grass-roots for Roanoke successfully getting another oft-promoted professional sports connection. How about paramutual monkey racing?

Finally, to this week’s mailbag, where once again the Mill Mountain Star web-cam has offered more celestial surprises. Apparently, with school out, the idea of going to the overlook to text or call friends to go on-line and see you, has brought a new activity into the mix.

The overlook may be a great place to view the moon, but recently there’s been way more moons than the Old Farmers Almanac ever imagined. And, let me give you fair warning- no crescents here; just a full waxing gibbous.

Until next week, get those telescopes positioned and send your comments to: info@theroanokestar.com