Things are coming to an end for this year and what a year this Hermann Cross was. All was teed up to be a great weekend of racing and it was until 8:30pm that Saturday night, then things changed. Here is my account of the evening, times may be off a bit, but they are close.
4pm – First race goes off, band is playing, grill is hot and ready for orders and the line at registration is full
6pm – More and more racers arrive for their race, those that have finished stick around to enjoy the entertainment, food and fun, all seem to be having a good time.
7:45pm – Lights are on, the park is getting dark but I notice lighting in the sky off to the north. I check my phone radar and see there is a blob of red moving East just North of Hermann. I tell registration and the food vendors to pack it up.
8:15pm – It’s about to rain
8:30pm – It’s raining, lighting is getting closer and we start the last race of the night.
8:45pm – Bell lap rings, lighting is way too close, officials call the race.
10:00pm – Home with Dawndi working on results and prepping rosters for next day.
10:45pm – Rain wind and thunder are strong. I look out the window to see trees blowing all over the place and can only imagine what the park looks like.
11:00pm – Get a bite to eat then prepare to visit the park to see if there is any damage to the course as the storm dies down a little.
11:15pm – Dawndi and I get to the park to see the towers turned over, fence blown all over the place, tent the officials were under twisted and destroyed. Rain is still coming down. Chris Creed loading his stuff up in trailer.
11:15pm - Drive over to the Dogfish tents to see them tilted. Tell Dawndi we need to get them down but not dressed to do so. Head home to change into rain gear.
11:25pm – Back to park loading up tents. As we load water in the creek comes over bank level and starts to flood paved road. Get tents in truck, water now at shin level, water is coming up fast.
11:30pm – Go over to camp ground by the baseball field, start to wake up campers along with two other guys who rode in that night from the west on the Katy Trail, water just a few feet from their tents.
11:45pm – Drive over to bath house to start waking up the campers in RV’s. Hear a cry for help, Chris Creed gets his SUV and trailer stuck in the ditch as he tried to get out, the SUV is pined and water is coming up fast.
11:45pm – See a lady in car and tell her to call 573 486 5400 and tell them a truck is stuck and park is flooding.
11:45pm – Dawndi and run over to the SUV and help Chris and his family out of the water to higher ground.
11:50pm – Begin knocking on RV doors by the bath house along the creek line trying to wake them up, it was tough, the rain was still coming down, lots of storm noise and folks were in a deep sleep. When they woke up to me telling them they need move out it took a bit for them to realize how close the water was to them.
Midnight - Police arrive to help, park crew arrives to help and campers that are now awake are also helping wake up other campers.
12:30am – Still raining. Go over to RV parking lot by the basket ball court where the boom was located. Wake up JJ and his crew, but was too late to save the camper, water was above the jacks and there was no way to move it. They got their cars out and that was it.
12:40am – Move up to the line of RV’s at the top of the parking lot and being pounding of their doors along with park department and others.
12:50am – Move back to bath house area and turn on one of the race lights so people could see better. Campers are getting out one by one.
1am – Anthony Dust shows up just in time to move his car that was parked on the road by the bath house now in water.
1:30am – Guy in large pavilion by bath house who thought he would stay dry on the top of picnic tables needs to be moved. Water is about to cover picnic tables. Several others and I wade over to help him haul his stuff to dry ground.
2:00/ 2:30am – All campers now moved.
3:00/3:30am - Home, clean up and fall asleep.
6:00am – Dawndi and I get back to park, water has receded and left a mess. Officials stand gone, towers gone, 1/3 of the fence gone, flags gone and what is left is a muddy mess. Corry, Jay and others were out picking up stakes putting them into piles.
6:30am – It starts to rain more and a cell is about to hit.
7:30am – Regroup after rain lets up with Dawndi, Danny and Dennis, we spend the rest of the day cleaning up. For a moment I thought we might see the creek flood the park again as it was starting to rage. It held back letting up get finish out clean up.
4:00pm – Clean up done, head home for the day.
I thank God that no one was killed that night.
What happened next is just awesome. Many of the racers said keep the Sunday entry fee, those that provided services said don’t worry about the fee, those I rented equipment from said don’t worry about the fee….. the list goes on. I thank each and every one of you who in one way or another donated to the Hermann Cross/ City Park recovery. I also thank you all for the support you have given Hermann Cycling events, I very much appreciate it. I enjoy bringing these events to you and will continue to do so.