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On this date: Annual alumni dinner unites former Coyote football players

Madera Tribune File Photo

Coyote football coach Bonner Cunnings talks with Robert DaSilva, the oldest alumni in attendance, at the 2013 MHS Coyote Football Alumni dinner.



Madera High students who graduated as far back as the 1940s came together this month to laugh, share memories, and ultimately raise money for the Coyotes football team at the school’s second annual alumni dinner.

From the classes of 1946 to 2013, around 100 Coyote alumni from young to old united around a singular theme; build on the foundation of Madera High School football and celebrate a rich local tradition in the sport.

“There was a need for this,” said former head coach Scott McKinney, who organized the dinner on the ranch property of his brother Jeff. “There’s a great base of men in the community that had outstanding experiences at Madera High, and they have that desire to give back to the program.”

Guests mingled for around an hour — with the National Football League’s preseason games on in the background as a fitting stage — before they enjoyed a steak dinner from the Elbow Room restaurant of Fresno.

Afterwards, a raffle and live auctions were held, where some former Coyotes proved just how generous they could be.

Strmiska, others soar in Winged World Series

There was no shortage of fly-by speed and skilled rac- ing as the LoanMart Madera Speedway hosted the Winged World Se- ries, presented by Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The event featured Race No. 6 of the $1,000 to win (plus Bonus Bucks by Loan- Mart and Hoosier) LoanMart Open Late Models Series split 50’s along with the 360/410 Supermodifieds, USAC Midgets, USAC Ig- nite Midgets and the NCMA Sprint Cars.

Among those drivers to give the fans an exciting night of racing was Ross Strmiska, who won the most suspenseful main of the evening.

Strmiska, who didn’t lead until Lap 73 of the 100-lap split 50’s race, not only added another first-place trophy to his large collection, but also took home the $1,000 prize payout after he crossed the finish line.

The third generation driver from Manteca didn’t have it easy as Strmiska had to ward off a fast Joey Sterns, who took second overall out of the division that started with 11 cars.


Coyote stars align for alumni dinner

A collection of Madera High football stars across several generations gathered for a $60-per-person fundraising dinner last week that brought forth laughter, stories, and likely thousands of dollars to help support the Coyote team.

In the three years since it was first organized by former head coach Scott McKinney, the Madera High Football Alumni Dinner has raised more than $10,000 for the squad, for everything from equipment to meals.

McKinney said he was happy to help put on the dinner, which he said was “headed in the right direction.”

“I like seeing friendships regained and the camaraderie that is built because of the game,” McKinney said, “as well as a common goal in supporting the Coyote football program.”

At the evening’s outset, about 75 past Coyote players socialized inside the Madera Golf and Country Club’s lounge area. Several said they were happy to help support a program they enjoyed in their respective high school heydays.

Local racers shows heart in grand performance at the Madera Speedway

It was a great night for five racecar drivers who willed themselves to well-earned victories at the LoanMart Madera Speedway.

While savvy and skilled racers including Madera Ranchos’ Cody Jessop, JoJo Helberg, Keegan Walmer, Zack Green, and Audra Sasseli each produced a hard-fought victory in their respective classes, the rest of their competitors certainly didn’t make it easy for them Saturday night.

The evening’s events included Round No. 5 of the Super Modified vs. Winged Sprints race featuring Race No. 5 of the Twisted Tea Open Modifieds Series, the Southwest Tour Trucks, NCMA wingless Sprints, the USAC HPD Midgets and USAC HPD restricted Midgets.


Water polo gets national help

Two world class athletes jumped into McAlister Pool to help out Madera and Madera South’s water polo programs with a clinic led by the Enloe Academy.

Greg Enloe, a former Team USA water polo player from Hanford, led the clinic and helped 36 players through different drills and techniques in the three-hour session.

Along with Enloe was Rita Keszthelyi, the Hungarian national team captain in water polo and a 2016 Olympian.

“He saw us at a tournament and told me he ran these clinics,” Madera girls water polo head coach Erik Baymiller said. “I realized he brought her with him. She leaves back to Hungary tomorrow and I said let’s do it. I did it because these girls won’t ever be exposed to players like this in their lives.”

After watching his players go through the clinic, Baymiller was surprised with some of the techniques they taught and hopes his players learned from the two national players.

“It was well worth the fee,” Baymiller said. “They went over some of the most basic things in water polo, but they went over with steps that will set them up for success.”

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