CASCADE LOCKS — A racing duel between two mayors last Sunday ended well for both parties — but perhaps not so tidily for unsuspecting Hood River City Manager Lynn Guenther.
On Monday afternoon, a surprised Guenther learned that he would be covering the bet lost by Mayor Paul Cummings to Cascade Locks Mayor Roger Freeborn. Guenther will clean the Cascade Locks City Council Chambers for Freeborn.
“My last words to Mayor Cummings were ‘don’t hurt yourself,’ I had no idea he was leading me down the primrose path or I would have given him some driving tips,” said Guenther.
In the interest of fairness, he is demanding that Freeborn’s victory be swept away in a “grudge match” between himself and Robert Willoughby, his Cascade Locks counterpart.
“We have no control over our honorable mayors and the not-so-honorable deals those two get themselves into,” grumbled Guenther.
But Freeborn said Guenther doesn’t need to worry that his manual labor will be in vain, since the council will make sure to schedule the cleaning after a particularly bad mudslinging session.
“We really appreciate Mayor Cummings’ offer to send Lynn to clean for us and will try to make it worth his while,” said Freeborn.
The contested go-kart race at Port Marine Park in Cascade Locks on Sunday involved more than 46 vehicles and drew about 200 contestants and spectators. Although Cummings willingly took the wheel to challenge Freeborn on the one-half mile track, he questions his loss on several key points — the most important being that Freeborn failed to disclose that he is almost a professional in that field.
Cummings admitted that he had hoped to garner the victory because Freeborn did not know about his past experience with dragsters.
“Even though I’m not sure the race was fair and square, I will be gracious in my defeat and volunteer Lynn to do something here,” said Cummings.
Freeborn said he can magnanimously overlook any aspersions upon his character since he believes that losing is harder for some individuals than for others — although he can’t really relate to that problem.
“I take my hat off to the mayor for stepping up to the challenge and maybe I can give him some pointers next year,” he said.
Freeborn and Cummings hit the road in a “test” go-kart race that was well attended enough to turn into the first full-blown competition next summer.
The Cascade Locks mayor said he organized the event with the help from Hot Track Indoor Go-Karting in Vancouver, Wash., and the big four Kart Shop owners in Portland.
Besides the fun it offered, Freeborn said he organized the informal competition to demonstrate to other community members how much local interest there was for almost any recreational activity. He said entertaining programs would also draw tourists into the economically-distressed community.
“Anyone who has an idea and a little ambition can put an event together,” said Freeborn, who has now thrown down the gauntlet for Cummings to best him by holding a Mayor’s Ball this winter that can rival his first-ever extravaganza in early 2002.