Sunday, June 7, 2015

Riley and Bishop win the race inspired by the Dread Pirate Bowles

William Augustus BowlesFlorida loves its pirates.


In 1954, long before Jimmy Buffett recorded "A Pirate Looks at 40," the city of Tampa, Florida, started the Gasparilla Festival as a celebration of the piratic career of José Gaspar. Being a pirate, Gaspar was every bit as kind and pleasant as Tony Soprano or any other career criminal. However, the United States Navy put an end to Gaspar's depredations in 1821, so by 1954 none of his victims were around to complain. Gasparilla celebrates a sanitized version of the pirate, a glamorous figure who dressed flamboyantly and didn't have to work regular hours or pay taxes.


In northwest Florida, Fort Walton Beach didn't want to get left out of the game, transforming its annual water skiing festival into the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival. But if Gasparilla had little to do with the the historic José Gaspar, the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival had even less to do with William Augustus Bowles. It's true that Bowles was an adventurer and later a pirate in Florida, but he was never in Fort Walton Beach or its immediate area. He was also never called "Billy Bowlegs." Seminole chief Holata Micco was known as Billy Bowlegs, but he wasn't a pirate and he didn't live in the Panhandle. Billy Bowlegs the Pirate is a fantasy figure, but that's okay. Fantasy pirates are fun, but you wouldn't want to be in the same room with a real pirate--not if you had something he wanted.


State of Muskogee FlagFort Walton Beach does have priority over Tampa in adding a road race to their pirate festival. The Gasparilla Distance Classic was first run in 1978, but Billy Bowlegs Midnight Run goes back to 1975. The Fort Walton Beach race was run for the 41st time on 6 June 2015 as the Billy Bowlegs 5K, no longer run at midnight but at 9:00 PM. Dewayne Riley of Milton, Florida, won the night race in 16:37. Colorado Springs athlete Kyle Van Zile was second in 17:00. In a showdown of graduating seniors from rival high school's, Choctawhatchee's Sean White edged Fort Walton Beach's Trey LaNasa for third, 17:39 to 17:40. Gulf Breeze High graduating senior Matthew Babikow finished fifth in 18:14. Chris Neal of Pace, Florida, was the fastest master runner in the field, outleaning Niceville master runner Chris Reid 18:55 to 18:56 for 14th place overall.


Arkansas Razorback cross country runner Logan Bishop captured the women's crown at the 2015 Bowlegs 5K, coming in 16th overall in 19:05. Niceville High graduating senior Nicole Escoffier was second in the women's standings, finishing 26th overall in 20:34. Destin's Erin Eubanks was the third woman finisher, 29th overall in 20:46. The top woman master and fourth female finisher was Michelle Williams of Milton, Florida, 30th overall in 20:51.


495 athletes finished the 41st annual Billy Bowlegs Race. The run was timed and scored by Results Event Timing, LLC, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.


Top Ten Men, 2015 Billy Bowlegs 5K Night Race
  1. 16:37 ~ Dewayne Riley (M, 28) Milton, FL
  2. 17:00 ~ Kyle Van Zile (M, 26) Colorado Springs, CO
  3. 17:39 ~ Sean White (M, 18) Fort Walton Beach, FL
  4. 17:40 ~ Trey Lanasa (M, 18) Miramar, FL
  5. 18:14 ~ Matthew Babikow (M, 18) Gulf Breeze, FL
  6. 18:19 ~ Tyler Mcsheehy-Hall (M, 26) Jacksonville, FL
  7. 18:20 ~ Evan Etheridge (M, 17) Niceville, FL
  8. 18:31 ~ Steve Harris (M, 35) Pensacola, FL
  9. 18:36 ~ Jack Johnson (M, 15) Niceville, FL
  10. 18:44 ~ Logan Franklin (M, 16) Pace, FL

Top Ten Women, 2015 Billy Bowlegs 5K Night Race
  1. 19:05 ~ Logan Bishop (F, 21) Batesville, AR
  2. 20:34 ~ Nicole Escoffier (F, 18) Niceville, FL
  3. 20:46 ~ Erin Eubanks (F, 24) Destin, FL
  4. 20:51 ~ Michelle Williams (F, 42) Milton, FL
  5. 21:05 ~ Anna Morelock (F, 27) Destin, FL
  6. 21:47 ~ Jenny Holland (F, 34) ,
  7. 22:13 ~ Paula Piazza (F, 51) ,
  8. 22:19 ~ Donna Harris (F, 46) Shalimar, FL
  9. 22:19 ~ Brenda Davis (F, 32) Fort Walton Beach, FL
  10. 22:34 ~ Lacie Roberts (F, 32) Sperry, OK

Billy Bowlegs Midnight Run winners, 1975 - 2015
DateMenWomenFinishers
31 May 1975Mike ClayCathy Sigler82
5 June 197614:30*, Tim Simpkins17:11*, Esther Stovall132
4 June 197714:33*, Ken Misner17:37*, Nancy McCormac202
2 June 197914:58.5*, Mike Conley17:52*, Dolly Harrison
6 June 198714:26*, James Frazier18:03*, Jodie Steigerwald1100+
5 June 199315:01, Matt Dobson
7 June 199715:14, Everett Whiteside17:14, Sarah Kramer
6 June 199815:10, Everett Whiteside18:18, Kelly Wild
5 June 199914:56, Rudolf Jun17:59, Kelly Wild
3 June 200015:51, Rudolph Jun17:29, Anna Pichrtova524
2 June 200115:44, Steve Garst18:06, Kelly Wild530
1 June 200215:34, Everett Whiteside20:08, Sarah Nandes557
7 June 200316:07, James Frazier18:27, Sarah Kramer472
5 June 200416:22, Travis Deutman18:23, Kelly Wild382
5 June 200516:11, Brennan Galloway18:34, Kelly Wild450
4 June 200616:38, James Uthmeier18:29, Kelly Wild516
3 June 200715:41, Everett Whiteside19:02, Kelly Wild667
8 June 200816:06, Kyle Vanzile19:07, Anna Hallex685
6 June 200916:27, Adam Saloom19:52, Kate Accardo778
5 June 201015:55, Adam Saloom18:57, Megan Jenkins600
4 June 201115:57, Adam Saloom19:46, Lisa Lewis658
2 June 201215:21, Adam Saloom19:20, Debby Vannoy711
1 June 201315:45, Adam Saloom18:50, Cynthia Blendermann621
7 June 201416:29, Frito Bandito18:52, Cheryl Held530
6 June 201516:37, Dewayne Riley19:05, Logan Bishop495
* Early races in the series were three miles rather than five kilometers.


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