Tony Merafuentes is known as Master by his Tae Kwon Do students, a title that reflects his knowledge and status as a Tae Kwon Do practitioner. As a Master, Merafuentes holds a high degree of credibility in regards to his instruction and critiques of others but even he is outranked by another; Grand Master San Ho Lee.
On Saturday I drove to the S.O.S Club in Modesto to watch the SINtral Valley Derby Girls host the Shasta Mountain Mighty Rollers, where I experienced the cult sensation known as roller derby for the first time. As I walked onto the basketball court - which had been fashioned into a makeshift track - I couldn't help but notice the crowd's enthusiasm as the girls strapped on their helmets and prepared to jam.
Turlock's Chris Falkenberg is relatively new to the sport of dirt track racing but he hasn't let that stop him from winning - or having fun. Falkenberg, who races in Chowchilla, Merced and Watsonville, recently won three straight races and currently sits in first place at both the Merced and Chowchilla tracks, which is not an easy feat for a rookie.
Martial arts has experienced an uptick in enthusiasm in the last few years as kids, teenagers and adults flock to the various disciplines to learn self defense and respect while satisfying their competitive tendencies. Enthusiasm alone often isn't enough for some, however, as the cost to train, equip oneself, and compete has kept some potential martial artists away from the sports.
Thirty years ago the California State University, Stanislaus men's basketball team made a memorable run, reaching the 1982 Division III Final Four Tournament for the first and only time in the school's history. On Saturday the former Warriors returned to Kirkpatrick Arena to be honored for their achievement during Stanislaus' game against Cal Poly Pomona.
The weather has been slightly unpredictable as of late, alternating from cold and foggy conditions to warm and sunny days. For most of us in the Valley these weather variations are nothing more than a slight inconvenience but for skiers and snowboarders it means a delay to their favorite season.
While Kim Corgiat was explaining the "rebranding" of Turlock Aquatic Club, the coach kept an eye on her swimmers, who were in the middle of a friendly competition toward the end of practice at the Pitman High pool. In this instance, swimming was not a task. It was a fun activity, and that's how Corgiat and her program want others to see it.
Turlock native Harry Boucher is using his love of swimming to spread the message that people with disabilities deserve to Live Without Limits. Boucher was inspired by his 7-year-old son, Max, to reach out to the public with his Live Without Limits campaign. Max was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 2-years-old and uses a wheelchair and a walker to get around.
For Stanislaus County cowgirl Bailey Castello, 21, rodeo is in her blood. Her signature event is team roping and it's something that comes naturally for her. The Castello family has run a beef cattle ranch in Livermore for decades and as a child she learned the family business in the saddle with a rope in her hand.