By Jorge Villalobos
HOLTVILLE – The 12th Annual Carrot Festival Races were back in full swing this year and neither cold nor rain would stop it. This year we had a new Race Director, Gerardo Lara, who refused to see these races go away entirely and did his best to make things go smoothly. As many remember the original director David Strong, who was the events director since its inception was ill this year. Lara stepped up to help, having worked closely in these types of circuits before.
The festival races were held from 7:30 am to 9:00 am, an hour shy before the Carrot Parade takes place. The event consisted of five races, each race had special requirements, the Open 5k race which was the first race starting at 7:40 was open to anyone, it was also the longest of the races, the grand daddy.
This year’s winners for the males was taken by Emmanuel Lorvera from San Diego at third place, In second place we had Eduardo Corvera also from San Diego. First place was won by Francisco Lemus from El Centro, who was so fast and ahead of everyone that a few participants claimed to have seem him texting half way through. The top three females for the Open 5k mile race were Eileen Battraw from Holtville in third place, Jovanna Lemus from Calexico in second place and Cindy Branham from El Centro in first place.
The second event was a quarter mile race exclusively for kids under eight years old. This year’s female winners consisted of MIcheala Gaede from El Centro at third place, Hanna Bird from El Centro at second place and Andrea Olgin from Imperial taking home first place overall. Though record keeping was rough this year, there was info made available on the male winner, Jorge Damian from Brawley took first place.
The third event was the half mile race with an age limit of 12 and under. This year’s female winners were Brandee Gallwai at third place, Isabelle Dubois at second place and Karina Ponce at first place. The male winners included Caleb Gaede at third place, Willy Ayon at second place and Gerardo Lara at first place.
The fourth event was another strong event for individuals, the mile race which was open to anyone older than 12. This year’s female winners were Sara Salas at third place, Vivian Garnica at Second place and Mindy Branham at first place. For the males, Emanuel Corvera took third place, Francisco Lemus took second place and Eric Brockhoff from Calexico took first and overall.
The last event was a team based event, the Carrot Relay Mile, a staple at the Annual Carrot Festival Races. This year’s third place team consisted of Joel Lara, Gerardo Lara, Josue Lara and Omer Alderete. In second place we have Richard Rivera, Oswaldo Cid, Anthony Avitia and Alberto Cid. Taking first place was Chris Lopez, Frankie Lopez, Phillip Magos and Emanuel Corvera.
The event went as planned, and as Lara stated that no amount of rain would change that. Many participants both veterans and new comers came out to support the races, some even came from as far as Canada just to visit the Carrot Carnival and participate in the 12th Annual Carrot Festival Races.