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Rock Chuck Derby in Bliss Raises $300,000

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Hannah Bates Memorial Rock Chuck Derby

DREW NASH • TIMES-NEWS Jeff Huber and Kameron McGarity, 14, head over to have their rock chucks weighted during the Hannah Bates Memorial Rock Chuck Derby Friday, April 26, 2013 in Bliss.

BLISS • Holding the lifeless rock chuck by the tail, Jeff Huber dumped the bundle of fur into a five-gallon bucket, put it on a scale and waited for the results.

Huber was hoping for a high number, but the weight failed short of the 16.8 pound world record.

“It’s OK, I’ll just go out again for another one,” he said. “It’s a three-day event. I have time to get a bigger one.”

Huber was one of the 300 hunters registered in the sixth annual Hannah Bates Memorial Rock Chuck Derby.

The event includes a motorcycle run, a walk/run and auction, but the main goal is to shoot the biggest rock chuck and bring it back to the saloon where it can be weighed by judges. The winner will be announced Sunday and will receive a gun as a prize.

Hunters gather from all over the nation to participate, said Sandee Bates, Hannah’s mom.

The derby became dedicated in Hannah’s honor after the 20-year-old lost her battle with cancer in 2008. Ever since, the event raised more than $300,000, Bates said.

The money has gone to school athletic programs, local nonprofits and children’s cancer support groups.

“Every year it amazes me how many people show up to show their support,” Bates said. “People are so generous every year.”

As the event continues to grow, more people get to learn Hannah’s story and leave knowing they are supporting a good cause, said Carol Wood, one of the event planners and who knew Hannah.

“A little bit of Hannah touches of them,” she said.

Huber said in years past, he normally just participates in the motorcycle ride. This year, he and his son, Kameron McGarity, 14, decided to try hunting.

“We’ll be back,” he said. “We can get a bigger one.”

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