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December 06th, 2021

shelter article new 2 sept=====Feb. 25, 2004====

BY: LARRYPHILLIPS, Southwest Daily Times

 

As she stumbled across the finish line and fell on the old brick street, Liberal's defending International Pancake Day Race champion Cheri Bevis showed a gutsy performance Tuesday to make it two in a row.

Bevis, 27, not only captured the win in the Liberal leg of the 55th running of the historic race, but she also defeated Olney's Andrea Rawlings, 30, who had won earlier in the day in England. Bevis covered the 415-yard course in 1:00.00 to take the international title over Rawlings' 1:05.00.

The weather at the start of the race was somewhat mild compared to the last several years, where sub-freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chill factors punished the runners. At the gun, it was 36 degrees with winds out of the northeast at 14 mph and no gusts. But with the wind at their backs, the women got a quick jump, and it didn't take long for last year's second-place finisher Tina Ward to spring to the front.

tumble

By the time the ladies reached the first turn, Bevis had pulled up to about a yard from Ward, while Brooke Buchman, 18, and Jill Wettstein, 24, trailed in third and fourth, respectively.

Ward, 27, didn't let up as the two hit the short chute on Fifth Street, but Bevis made her move on the outside with about 20 yards before Turn No. 2, The racers were shoulder-to-shoulder going into the turn, but it was Bevis who pulled out for about a yard lead as they headed down the backstretch toward the finish line.

Bevis was visibly pushing herself as she seemed to put it in another gear and started pulling away from Ward, who started fading back into the clutches of Buchman and Wettstein.

As Bevis broke the tape at the finish line, she stumbled and fell, rolling on the old brick roadway into the waiting crowd. She managed to right herself and tried to catch her breath.

Prior to the race, the 20 women in the field were keeping warm near the starting line inside Faith Tabernacle Church. Bevis sat on the floor against the wall with a solemn look on her face as she stretched out her legs.

"I'm pretty nervous right now. There's a lot of good runners in this room," Bevis said. "I'm just going to go out and run my best.

"If I win, I win. If I don't, I don't," she added.

Bevis, a physical education teacher at West Middle School, admitted that being Liberal's 2003 champion, and winning the international title as well, was special.

"It was exciting," she said. "People always remember that."

After Bevis was able to get her wind back after today's race, she explained why she made her move on Ward going into Turn No. 2.

"I knew I had to go, because coming around the corner, I could feel her right beside me," Bevis said. "I knew I had to go or she was going to get me."

Ward fell back to fourth place as Buchman and Wettstein put on a strong push to finish second and third, respectively.

Bevis' victory brings Liberal's streak of international wins to five straight, and the overall record to 30 wins for Liberal compared to Olney's 24 since the competition began in 1950.

Bevis' fall after the finish didn't seem to physically harm her, but she admitted she was weakened by the race.

"I can't feel my legs right now," Bevis said, with a smile. "But it's exciting -- I feel very honored."

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