Friday, July 19, 2013

Tallahassee's 1992 Devil Take The Hindmost Run

[ This is a report on Tallahassee's 1992 Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Run that I wrote for the September 1992 issue of the Gulf Winds Track Club newsletter, The Fleet Foot. This demonstrates that the Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Run has been going on for quite some time, and that for many years I've been spoiling the fun with my record keeping. ]

DevilNo one knows just how old this annual Tallahassee ritual is. You could probably look it up in The Golden Bough. But each summer, on a Saturday evening chosen by Shannon Sullivan on the basis of arcane astrological calculations, the race is held. A group gathers at the FSU track and begins running. At the end of each lap a person dressed as the Devil takes the last runner off the track. The last competitor unclaimed by the Devil wins.

Wearing the Devil costume this year was Peggy Primicerio, brandishing her pitchfork with relish as she snatched twenty-two of the twenty-three starters from the track. As in the past, a few runners withdrew from the race voluntarily, but the Devil always took her due and claimed a less willing victim as well. Robert Padgett solemnly recorded the names of the fallen while announcer Rob Van Cleve jeered and japed from on high.

After five miles of surging, slowing, and even stopping, John de Grummond fell off the pace and was snatched, leaving only Bill Crooks and Jeff Nielsen in the field. What followed was a slow lap of feints and dirty tricks capped by a forty-yard dash in which Crooks slipped by his opponent. Nielsen was grabbed by the Devil and Crooks was left in sole possession of the track and the victory, successfully defending his 1991 title. Crooks is probably the only runner ever to win two of these races, but like I said, no one knows how old this race is.

Results, Devil-Take-The-Hindmost Run
Saturday, 8 August 1992
Mike Long Track, Tallahassee, Florida
1. Bill Crooks 22
2. Jeff Nielsen 21
3. John de Grummond 20
4. Steve Carney 19
5. Mike Peters 18
6. Wes Bruner 17
7. Tim Bolton 16
Dana Stetson 16
9. Ray Scott 15
10. Shannon Sullivan 14
11. Brant Foster 13
12. Carl Smith 12
13. Bill Lott 11
14. Mike Martinez 10
Darren Hillman 10
16. Paul Peavy 9
17. Alfred Kleinhammes 8
18. Roger Register 7
19. Tom Manning 6
Ian Turkle 6
21. Carol Rhodes 5
22. Steve Keith 4
23. Pat Bruner 3


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