Bullmoose–the new generation–rules Railroad Days

Reggie Stiteler
Ryan Vanni of the local Banquet Boys does his best Charlie Hustle impression capping off an inside-the-park home run against the Warlords on Saturday afternoon.

Thirty-plus year tradition, Father’s Day, and the ghost of Babe Ruth.

Not many sports can claim the deep rooted tradition of baseball, carried on by middle-aged boys and young men on the slow pitch softball diamond, where many of their father’s once played – and still play.

Brought together on the City Park field that hardball legend Babe Ruth once graced as part of Dunsmuir’s annual Railroad Days Festival, beer drinking, dog loving, eternal boys of summer left it all on the field in the 11-team, double elimination softball tournament this past weekend.

“We love coming up here,” said tourney participant Jeff Breithaupt. “They’re patriotic, the food’s great, and it’s a wonderful tournament. We’ve been camping out all weekend.”

“I’m glad it’s back on Father’s Day,” said Demian Carr of the champion Bullmoose 2 team. “I used to put the numbers on the scoreboard when my father played here in ’80’s. It’s a family thing.”

No bull. Carr’s father Jim played on the original Bullmoose team beginning in 1984. Later the team went by the name Perry’s Deli. The best the original Mooses ever finished at Railroad Days was fourth place.

Demian has been carrying on the tradition with Bullmoose 2 for the past four years after returning from a mid-’90s stint in Iraq.

This past weekend, Carr certainly added to the Bullmoose tradition.

Carr’s brother Jason earned tournament MVP honors, leading Bullmoose 2 to a 5-0 record over the weekend including Sunday’s tourney championship.

In Saturday afternoon’s home run derby, teammate Johnny Rutkowski hit seven home runs in eight swings to win that competition. One of his drives from the left side of the plate tagged the building well beyond the right field fence on the fly.

In Sunday’s title game, Bullmoose 2 defeated the Warlords, from Concord, Calif., appropriately enough, with a Father Day’s double play combination.

Casey Hillman fielded a hard grounder at shortstop and flipped to his dad Steve at second base who proceeded to throw out the Warlord runner at first. A third Hillman, Nate (Casey’s brother), was playing first base earlier in the game.

Another tradition being dusted off from the past is that of the legendary Dunsmuir Ducks, a former mainstay at the annual tournament. A group of ballers from Chico inspired by Mike Padula, who has family in Dunsmuir, has taken the name and flown with it.

The Ducks made some noise this past weekend, finishing in the top four after defeating the local Banquet Boys Sunday morning.

Four local teams competed at the Railroad Days tournament, organizer Chris Hansen’s Banquet Boys, the Brew Crew, Cannon’s and Casadores.

The Banquet Boys and Cannon’s each finished at 2-2 on the weekend, Brew Crew took one of three games, while Casadores took the collar.

“It was one of the best events we ever held,” said Hansen, who has been running the tournament for the past four years. “We had fun and good competition.”

Teams that travel to Dunsmuir for the event tend to come back, as 10 of the 11 teams have in 2008. Many of the athletes played college ball.

Judging by the players’ enthusiasm and loyalty, reminiscing about the days watching their father’s played in the tournament, this is one Dunsmuir tradition that is alive and well.

Following are the complete results from the 2008 Dunsmuir Railroad Days Softball Tournament:

Friday, June 13 – Banquet Boys over Casadores; Brew Crew over Cannon’s.

Saturday, June 14 – Warlords over TMSA; Bullmoose 2 over Trainwreck; Ducks over Cal Stix; Ducks over Porn Stache; Bullmoose 2 over Brew Crew; Warlords over Banquet Boys; Bullmoose 2 over Porn Stache; Cal Stix over Casadores; Cannon’s over TMSA; Ducks over Trainwreck; Banquet Boys over Brew Crew.

Sunday, June 15 – Bullmoose 2 over Warlords; Cannon’s over Cal Stix; Ducks over Coors; Porn Stache over Cannon’s; Porn Stache over Ducks; Warlords over Porn Stache; Bullmoose 2 over Warlords.

THAT’S BULL – Demian Carr (holding shirt) and Bullmoose 2 of Santa Rosa took the annual Railroad Days Mens Softball Tournament this past weekend at Dunsmuir City Park.