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That's the case for three of the men who competed in the "1964 Race of the Century" and captured the title of "World Champion Sack Toters."
"I followed this little trail of grain around the track," Lommori said with a laugh.
Erb, who finished fifth, was seen toting the practice sack by Valley Dairy and up to the local cemetery and later on joined Lommori, Burnet and Quilici out in the East Walker.
"I carried it 10 miles every time in training," he said.
"It had to have been coming from Fred's sack because he was grabbing his sack so tightly," Converse All Star 2 Shield Erb responded, laughing and pointing at his friend.
While Erb pointed to foot blisters from the trials, he said he was in "pretty good shape" at race time.
Lommori recalled the most difficult part of the race for him came in the first 5 to 6 miles because "I used to get terrible shin splints but got numb for the last 3 4 miles."
Erb added, "I never knew these guys before the race. I lived at Weed Heights and I'd heard of Mike Lommori but hadn't met him or Fred."
Friendships forged in the heat of competition often stand the test of time.
Andreasen took advantage of the climb in Six Mile Canyon "a few times" but mostly used the high school track in Carson City.
Lommori, who was nicknamed "Hoss" by the Edinboro coach, also practiced with a heavier 140 pound sack and sat around his home in the evenings watching Womens Converse All Star Shoes White
Lommori said he often trained on the East Walker and Minister Roads because there was a 3 to 4 mile long uphill grade. "After seven or eight miles of walking, I could really drink that beer good," he laughed.
Both Lommori and Erb still tease Andreasen to this day about squeezing the bottom hand Converse Chuck Taylor 2 Thunder
Erb commented that he recalls "almost causing us to lose" the race when he stumbled as he decided to run a little bit because "a Pennyslvania racer was messin' with me. I took off on a run and my knee kind of gave out. I was lucky, I got control of my sack. My knee went down but I never dropped it. that would have been disastrous."
TV with the sack on his shoulders and head just to get used to it. "It really helped me when I learned to pack the sack on my head and relieve the pain in my shoulders," he added. "I learned to balance it on my head, walk and never drop the sack."
"Mike was strong enough to lift it off his shoulders and put it on his head," said Andreasen, who tipped the scale at just 130 pounds at race time and earned the Pennsylvania nickname of "Little Joe." "I had to carry mine on my shoulders because I was not strong enough to do that. If I took my sack off my shoulders, I couldn't get it back up, ever."
Even after 50 years, the memories come flooding back when three of the Nevada team competitors who defeated a team from Edinboro, Pa. in the Race of the Century on July 4, 1964 get together.
"We get together a few times a year and the stories really fly around," said Mike Lommori as the Yerington resident met with Fred Andreasen of Carson City and Steve Erb of Gardnerville in the J T Restaurant in Gardnerville last month.
Lommori almost stepping on a rattlesnake during one training run.
"They've been telling me that for years," Andreasen said. "When we were running the race out in Yerington, there was a little bit of a drip coming out of the sack corner, and I kept going like this trying to get more out of it."
"The hardest part for me came at the end when I knew Mike was ahead of me," Andreasen said. "I almost killed myself trying to catch him."
"Same for me," chimed race runner up Andreasen.
The conversation quickly turned to how the three trained for and then completed the challenge to carry a 120 pound sack of grain a full 10 miles around the YHS track and defeat the Pennsylvania team. The event rules stated that if any competitor allowed his sack to touch the ground, the entire team was disqualified; and all six men had to complete the race or disqualification awaited the team. Other Nevada team members included Richard Burnet of Washoe Valley, who could not make this particular meeting; and Chub Quilici of Yerington and Marvin McCalla of Sparks, both of whom have died.
They killed the snake with a shovel, cut off the rattles and presented them to the Pennsylvania team the day after the race when gathering in the old Silver Palace.
"My favorite memory of the race was when I looked across the track and realized I was within reach of Fred," said Lommori, who was 27 at the time. "We had staggered starts and I knew I had to be within a certain distance of Fred."
"I never did pack it 10 miles until the race," he added.
"Our friendship has just gotten stronger through the years," said Lommori, who claimed first place back in '64. "I really look forward to meeting with these guys and talking. They're great guys!"
holds on his sack so hard that some of his grain fell out as he rounded the track, making his sack lighter.
Friendships forged in competition
"I wasn't listening to anything. I was in too much pain," Erb said, then 25, who suffered severe blisters in the earlier trials and feared he would not be able to compete in the finals.
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Andreasen, 25 years old in 1964, added, "I remember after 6 miles, Mike and I were side by side and the announcer Willie Capucci saying, "Four miles to go and it's turning into a foot race."
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