FBBA Members Get History Lesson from Cpt. Rocco Montesano

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page, History
Captain F. W. “Rocco” Montesano (Ret’d. US Navy)

     F. W. “Rocco” Montesano, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and retired captain of the Unites States Navy now serving as Executive Director at the USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay, addressed a group of about 35 Flour Bluff Business Association members and guests at the regular meeting on May 10, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Montesano came to Flour Bluff in 1994 as the commanding officer at NAS Corpus Christi. “Both of my kids attended Flour Bluff Schools and got a great education there.  My wife taught and retired from Flour Bluff School System.  When I retired from the Navy, I said, ‘I want to live in the Bluff.’  It’s a unique place, and it’s really great to be in the Bluff.”

     “Normally I talk about the Lexington,” said Montesano in reference to the carrier nicknamed by Tokyo Rose as “the Blue Ghost”, which was commissioned in 1943 and was the oldest working carrier in the United States Navy when decommissioned in 1991.  “Last year we had 305,000 visitors.  We now have a brand new digital, state-of-the-art, 3-D laser projector in our theater, and we are premiering a new carrier movie simultaneously with the Smithsonian on the 24th of this month.  If you haven’t been there lately, come on out.”

    “We have one volunteer at the museum who is a Pearl Harbor survivor,” Montesano proudly said as he spoke with great reverence for the thousands of Sailors who gave their lives in WWII and how these members of “the Greatest Generation” are “fading away.”  He explained how the current Lexington’s predecessor, USS Lexington (CV2) was sunk in the Battle of Coral Sea, the battle that saved Australia from being overtaken by Japan.  Then with the aid of maps and charts, Montesano proceeded to take the audience on a trip back in time seventy-five years to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, and the Battle of the Coral Sea, all the while working his way to the story of the Battle of Midway, the decisive battle that occurred six months after Pearl Harbor.

Lexington burning fiercely after the Japanese attack.
Archival image housed at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana

   With slides of maps, Montesano walked the group through the events described by historians as the “turning point” of WWII. He spoke of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Ensign George Henry Gay, Jr., who went on to become a TWA pilot, Captain Clarence W. McClusky, CDR John Waldron, Lt. William Hall, whose daughter lives in Corpus Christi, and CDR Joseph Rochefort, who led the team of code breakers that gave Nimitz the information he needed to make the decisions that led to the Battle of Midway. Rochefort, who was denied the Distinguished Service Medal twice during his lifetime and ousted as an intelligence officer after he was first nominated for it, died in 1976. “He was finally awarded the medal posthumously in 1985,” said Montesano, explaining the Rochefort’s information, which was correct, ran counter to what Washington, D.C. put out, and awarding the medal would be a confession of their faulty thinking.

Joseph rochefort.jpg
Captain Joseph John Rochefort

     “War is about big things, big movements, movements of troops, but it boils down to people,” he said as he spoke of those who paid the ultimate price.  He told of Ensign Frank O’Flaherty and his gunner, Bruno Gaido, who were taken aboard a Japanese cruiser, interrogated, beaten, and thrown overboard with 5-gallon kerosene cans tied to them.  He commemorated Harold Smith, Dean Hallmark, and William Farrow, three of Doolittle’s Raiders, whom the Japanese captured and executed.  Montesano said that the three men were told the day before that they would be put to death and that William Farrow was able to write a letter home to his mother. Farrow wrote, “Don’t let this get you down. Just remember God will make everything right, and I’ll see you again in the hereafter.  If you want to know how I’m taking this, my faith in God is complete, so I’m not afraid.”

William Farrow

     Montesano reminded everyone a lot was going on at home while all this was occurring in the Pacific.  The United States was building ships and carriers and airplanes.  “We built 19 ‘Lexingtons’ from 1940 to 1946.  That’s in addition to the battleships, tanks, and airplanes.  We were building 30,000 airplanes a month at that time,” he added.  “Who was building them?  It was Rosie the Riveters.  There were a lot of women in the workforce because many of the men were at war.”  He encouraged those who are interested in learning more about the Battle of Midway to attend the 75th Anniversary event on June 3, 2017, at the USS Lexington Museum located on North Beach.

Other FBBA News

FBBA President Jennifer Welp welcomed new members to the FBBA:

     Welp also thanked everyone who took part in the HEB/FBBA Earth Day clean-up of Waldron Road and the Flour Bluff Citizens Council Litter Critter event coordinated on the same day.  She also recognized Jonathan Vela, FBBA Events Coordinator, for his work on this year’s Flour Fest event which will be held at Parker Memorial Park on Waldron Road, October 28, 2017, from noon to 8:00 p.m.  All FBBA members and community and school organizations are encouraged to visit the FBBA website (https://www.flourbluffbusinessassociation.com/single-post/2017/05/10/Flour-Fest-Vendor-Registration-Now-Open) to see how sign up as a vendor or volunteer their services.

     The next FBBA general meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 14, at noon at Funtrackers Raceway Cafe’.  The speaker will be the Honorable Judge Loyd Neal of Nueces County.

Nueces County Judge Samuel Loyd Neal
Nueces County Judge Samuel Loyd Neal
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Christmas in Flour Bluff

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Human Interest

     The Flour Bluff Business Association held its annual Community Christmas event at Funtrackers on December 9, 2016.  Santa and Mrs. Claus made a special appearance arriving by fire truck, courtesy of the Flour Bluff Fire Department.  Santa gave out hundreds of gifts to the little children while his elves assisted.  Local businesses, HEB, Walmart, the Fleet, and individuals gave toys or made donations for the purchase of toys. The Ethel Eyerly angels served cookies and punch.  The FBISD Intermediate choir entertained the crowd with Christmas carols, and the Eisenhauer School of Twirling sparkled like the Christmas lights as they performed their routines.  The FBHS National Honor Society provided games, arts and crafts, and opportunities to write last-minute letters to Santa.  An old-fashioned cakewalk allowed attendees of all ages to win a scrumptious cake or cupcake to take home.  There was even a sing-along where children and adults came together to sing favorite carols and usher in the Christmas season.  Not a single child left empty-handed.

     The Flour Bluff businesses were so generous that there were enough gifts for Santa to give out along the way as he traveled throughout Flour Bluff, Padre Island, and NAS on a float provided by the Flour Bluff Fire Department, a tradition since 1965.  And when the call came in that Driscoll Children’s Hospital was short of gifts, there were even enough to make up for what was needed.  Yes, the community of Flour Bluff knows how to celebrate Christmas and spread joy through giving.  As the year ends, let’s remember some of the fun through a few pictures taken along the way.

 

 

Picture by Russell Warren

It was a merry Christmas for all!  Have a happy new year!

 

 

 

Note:  Unless otherwise stated, all photographs for this piece are the work of Katy Beseda of Seven Twelve Photography.

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Vandals Strike the Local BMX Track

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports

     It’s no secret that Corpus Christi has seen a lot of rain over the last couple of months.  The STX BMX track has been closed lately to allow it to dry out. With sun and heat on the rise, it was time to put some work into the track to prepare for the local riders, as well as the few riders who come from out of town. What was supposed to be a typical maintenance day after the rain turned into a nightmare for our local track owners. Vandals broke into the park and caused severe damage to the track.

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     When you hear about vandalism, you never think that it would strike a family-centered recreation facility, especially one that you and your family enjoy.  Unfortunately, this became a reality for STX BMX on June 7, 2016. With the local track’s annual State Qualifier Race fast approaching on July 3, this is the last thing that the riders needed. This is the only track in the area for the riders to prepare for the race.  The vandals broke the lock, tore the gates open, broke the wooden fence along the track, dumped out a paint bucket, tore the fire ring apart, and turned all four water hoses on, leaving them on and positioned to flood the entire track. If that wasn’t bad enough, the trespassers rode bikes (probably dirt bikes) through the water and left deep ruts all over the track.

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     It is one thing for the rain to damage the track, but it is a completely different thing for someone to intentionally ruin what so many kids and their families love and enjoy. With about two and a half weeks before STX BMX is to host a major state race where people from all over the state will come to race and visit our city,  it is important for people to know that those of us who care about the sport and the local track aren’t calling it quits. The repairs have already begun, and we will continue working hard to rebuild and fix what was damaged.

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     Please share this article so others near and far know that senseless vandalism will not deter the volunteers who keep this track going. Even if you are not part of the track family, we hope you will consider helping us get the track in the best condition possible before the day of the big race.  It would be greatly appreciated.  Click here to contact the owners if you would like to assist with restoration of the track.

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Celebrating Mom, BMX Style!

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports

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     First, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there! I hope that the day was spent doing whatever it is that you love to do.  It appears that many of us mothers of STX BMX riders enjoy what our children enjoy.  Again this year, STX BMX honored the mothers of the local riders by hosting a free (and fun) Mother’s Day race of all the moms willing to take a lap (race) on the track.

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     This year the Track Owners decided to add a little more fun to the traditional Moms Only Race.  They followed it with a Moms vs. the Kids contest. The following mothers took part in the event this year: Becky Click (mother of Colten Taylor, Kody Click, and Samantha Click) of Corpus Christi, Ashley Mormon (mother of Keegan Durbin) of Corpus Christi, Katy Beseda (mother of Owen Beseda and Riley Beseda) of Corpus Christi, Adrienne Chang-Fields (mother of Cheyenne Fields) of San Antonio, and Terry Mondragon (mother of Victor Mondragon) of Corpus Christi.

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     As the mothers passed the finish line,the children handed their mothers roses and congratulated them on a good race.  The results of the 2016 Moms Only Race are as follows:IMG_9666

1st Place – Katy Beseda; 2nd Place – Adrienne Chang-Fields; 3rd Place – Terry Mondragon;

4th Place – Ashley Mormon; and 5th Place – Becky Click

 

     This race is a lot of fun and really gives the moms an idea of what it is  like to be out on the track.  Many times parents will yell from the sidelines, “Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!”  What they don’t realize is that sometimes the child’s legs are tired and he/she just cannot “Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!” anymore. This race, as well as the Father’s Day Race, put the parents in the shoes of their children.  For the moment, the parent and children completely reverse roles.  While the parent races, each child is given the opportunity (and encouraged) to yell from the sidelines “Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!”  I am sure that the next time any parent who has participated in the Moms/Dads Only Race feels the urge to yell “Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!”, he/she will remember just how difficult it was just to complete one lap on their special day.  Congratulations to all moms who made the day special just by being a good sport!

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STX BMX Raceway: History in the Making

Front Page, Sports

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     The more people learn about STX BMX Raceway, the more we, as a track family, hear, “Is it the same track that was here years ago?”  The answer to this question is no. STX BMX is not the same track as before.  However, it is in the same area of town of the old track.  With BMX out of the scene of our city for quite some time, it was the Click family who helped to revive it so many years later.

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     The current Track Owners are Jeff and Becky Click.  They have four children: Tyler, Colten, Kody, and Sami, all of whom participate in the sport at one time or another.  The Click family put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to make the track and facility what it is today.

    In 2010, Colten and Kody began racing BMX in Camarillo, California, at Freedom Park BMX track.  There they raced five to six times per week.  Just as with anything else, the more they practiced and raced, the better they became.

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     It was in 2011 that the idea of opening a BMX track began.  In July of 2011, Jeff retired from the military service.   The Click family moved back to Texas in August of 2011.  With a vision in mind, the Clicks met with the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation in September of 2011 to discuss the possibilities of leasing land for the proposed BMX track.

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     For a little over a year, October 2011 until December 2012, the Clicks attended various meetings with City Council and the neighborhood where the track would be located. In December of 2012, the mayor approved the lease of the property, allowing the revival of the sport of BMX in South Texas.

track (1)     As many may know, just because something is approved does not mean that the development and building of it happens overnight.  On March 20, 2013, the Clicks got the “green light” from Development Services to break ground on what is now STX BMX Raceway.

     In April of 2013, Lance Maguire Track and Jeff spent 4 days roughing in the track (building the berms and jumps without grooming the track).  In the months after dirt was brought in (May 2013-August 2013) Jeff, Becky, Tyler, Colten, and Kody spent every waking, free second they had shoveling, raking, packing, and sweeping the 1,100 feet by 24 feet of dirt.

     Two years after the process began, on August 5, 2013 STX BMX Raceway celebrated its Grand Opening along with itstrack first official race.  As the time went on, the number of riders increased and the races became more frequent.  The word spread, and more families became members of STX BMX Raceway.  In July of 2014, STX BMX Raceway held their first State Qualifier race (Note:  In order to qualify to race in the State Championship Race, a rider must compete in at least four State Qualifiers during the season.), which saw over 350 riders over two days.

878_mxw980_mxha_e0     The 2014 season and the first big race at STX BMX Raceway was such a success, that in July of 2015 STX BMX Raceway held 3 races (Race for Life, Gold Cup Regional Race, and 2nd State Qualifier Race) in one weekend, welcoming over 400 riders over the three day period.

    After a great 2015 race season, the track held their 1st Annual STX BMX Awards Banquet in February 2016.  (Awards were covered in last month’s publishing of The Paper Trail News.)  STX BMX Raceway has had a very strong start to the 2016 race season, with several new riders and BMX families joining the BMX life.  The Clicks continue to dedicate their time to the operation and upkeep of the track in order for the kids (and adults) to enjoy their time with the STX BMX Family (because that is what we are).

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STX BMX Holds 1st Annual End-of-Year Awards Banquet

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports

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I originally set out to write an article on the history of the local BMX track, but after attending the STX BMX 1st Annual End-of-Year Awards Banquet, I decided that it would be nice to give recognition to the local riders. There has been very little media coverage on our local track, so I thought that this would be a good way to get the word out and congratulate those who put in countless hours of practice to be the riders that they are today.

First and foremost, I would like to recognize and thank the track owners, Jeff and Becky Click, for always working extremely hard to keep the track in good shape for riders to enjoy. During the 2015 season, STX BMX formed a Board of Directors in order to make decisions regarding the track, fund raisers, advertising, and especially ideas to make the first awards banquet a success. Thanks to those of you who have put in hours behind the scenes to keep the track running as smoothly as possible. The first year with a Board was a learning experience but a success! The track owners have decided that they will continue to have a Board of Directors and will make decisions as a group to improve the local track.

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Before I move into the rider awards, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge some important individuals.  Just as the Clicks stated at the awards banquet, there are a few people who are always there to set up before people arrive, greet people as they come through the gate, make the riders (new or old) feel welcome, and tear down and clean up at the end of the day.  Thank you, Colten Taylor, Kody Click, Sami Click, Pat Parker, and Gerry Parker for your dedication to making the track an enjoyable place to be!

There were also a few businesses that helped make the awards that were given to the riders, and I would like to acknowledge them, as well.  MJT Design put together the push bike awards and plaques.  All Star Graphics, a local business, did the screen printing and stickers for the top rider awards.  Cindy Asch with Tejas Insurance LLC (another local business) made the calendar awards.  We thank them for their contributions and hard work.

2015 BMX Race Season Awards

The first group of kids is the future of the sport. They ride their bikes for nothing more than the enjoyment of being on the track like the big kids (and possibly the ring pop at the finish line).  The youthful exuberance and passion for the sport is seen on their faces every time they push these little bikes around the track and over the finish line.

Push Bike Riders

Jett McNally

Rossi McNallyIMG_4594

Catherine Mrazek

Riley Beseda

Kinzley Matula

Blake Wilson

Caleb Bueno

Makayla Bueno

Reagan Reyes

These next set of riders has spent many hours on the track over the past year. They are on the track during practice, which has helped them when it comes time to race.  Their hard work has helped to make all of them the top riders at the track.

Top 10 boys:

Colten Taylor

Kody ClickIMG_4599

Chayse Mrazek

Victor Mondragon

Dylan Brown

Owen Beseda

Derek Parker

James McNeill

John Asch

Benjamin Sanchez

IMG_4602Top 5 Girls:

Karlee Brown

Kaitlyn Dunn

Emily Bueno

Kiera Bueno

Ileanah Scott

The top three riders of each group received a little special recognition and award because they have definitely earned these awards for their hard practice and racing in 2015.

Boys

Colten Taylor

Kody Click

Chayse Mrazek

GirlsIMG_4605

Karlee Brown

Kaitlyn Dunn

Emily Bueno

Lady Cruiser

Karlee Brown

Adrianne Chang-Fields

Katy Beseda

Cruiser

Chayse Mrazek

Victor Mondragon

James McNeill

Finally, there was a handful of awards that were created by the track board members.  The riders awarded were nominated and voted on by the board members, and they deserve special recognition for their dedication and hard work.

IMG_4610Most Races Attended: Owen Beseda

Most Electrifying: Dylan Brown

Best Sportsmanship: Jack Hibbetts

Top Girl Rider: Karlee Brown

Top Boy Rider: Victor Modragon

Rider of the Year: Chayse Mrazek

In closing, I would like to congratulate each and every rider at STX BMX for being a part of the track family.  Although some nights are better than others for every rider, these individuals never give up.  They continue to put in hour after hour of practice to improve their riding.  On  behalf of the STX BMX Board of Directors, I would like to thank the riders and their parents for making 2015 a successful season.  We also know that without the parents, these kids would not be on the track enjoying every minute that they do.  With the new season in progress, we encourage everyone to continue to join us and spread the word. There are lots of good things happening with the local track, and we look forward to seeing what this season has in store for STX BMX.  There are fundraisers in the works, events planned, and improvements to come this 2016 season.  Please be sure to check back with The Paper Trail News next month for a history of the local BMX track.

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BMX: No One Rides the Bench When Riding a Bike

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports

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Do you have a child who loves to ride or wants to learn to ride a bicycle?  BMX is a sport that calls to bike riders from ages 2 and up. BMX stands for Bicycle MotoCross. It’s a form of bicycling that is meant to mimic MotoCross motorcycles. There are all sorts of competitive BMX sports including racing and stunt BMX; however, BMX is also a recreational activity enjoyed by millions of kids – and adults – throughout the world.

Striders

What most people don’t know is that Corpus Christi has a local BMX (bicycle motocross) track.  BMX is currently one of the fastest growing sports in North America.  Unlike most other sports (i.e. baseball, football, basketball), BMX is an individual sport.  Although riders can be picked up to ride for a team or sponsor, at the end of the season, they are placed by their individual successes (points earned throughout the season).  BMX is a fun, affordable, family-oriented sport that helps build self-esteem by building confidence and teaching the riders to set and reach personal goals. BMX also promotes physical fitness by building strong bodies and minds.

BMX

The Corpus Christi track is STX BMX, which is located at 3701 Greenwood Drive (past Horne and located across from Boys & Girls Club in the sports complex behind Universal Baseball).

To give the local BMX track a try, all you need is a bike (without a kickstand, reflectors, or pegs), a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a helmet.  Your first time out you will need to fill out a one-day waiver and pay $5.00 to practice.  If you like the sport and want to come back to race, you will have to get a membership through USABMX, which is $65.00 per year and can be paid at the track. Races (motos) are run in heats.  Each set of heats is $10, which includes pre-race practice time.

If this sounds like something that you or someone you know would be interested in doing, please check the schedule below and be sure to check back for future articles in The Paper Trail regarding BMX – the sport where no one rides the bench.

   IMG_8058   The current schedule for STX BMX:

  • Sunday – Practice from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with races to follow;
  • Tuesday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with races to follow; and
  • Thursday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

 

 

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