Sports and Outdoors


 Lake Info

Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 321.01
Water Temperature:
na degrees - top
47 degrees - bottom



  Lake-area man seeks extreme rock racing title
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

PINNACLE CLUB–Extreme rock racing is a young man’s game, but Cedar Creek Lake is home to the oldest man in the business, and he’s looking for a first-place finish next summer.
In extreme rock racing, drivers pilot mutated offspring of the old VW dune buggy, featuring big tires and big engines, but they’re not jumping over carefully sculpted hills inside some vast arena – they’re going up and down raw cliffs, without even the pretense of a road in sight.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Carolyn Estates resident Gerald “Buddy” Daugherty stands next to his custom-built extreme rock racing buggy inside his brand-new shop.

“Buddy” Daugherty finished sixth in the four-race East Coast Circuit of the Xtreme Rock Racing Association (XRRA) this past year, and is planning to finish first in the coming season, if he can (as he puts it) “drive smarter.”
“It’s not how fast you go, it’s how smart you go,” Daugherty said. “Driving finesse is what I have to learn.”
Finesse isn’t the first word that comes to mind in extreme rock racing, which takes the almost-impassible courses of rock crawling (where insectoid vehicles creep up the side of a bare rock cliff) and adds both speed and competition between drivers.
A resident of the Carolyn Estates subdivision near the Pinnacle Club, Daugherty has long been a fan of off-road motoring, and was once known as “the Jeep man,” because he and his six children (four boys and two girls) all drove Jeeps.
Off-roading was one of the few constants for the family, which moved around a lot during Daugherty’s 29-year career with Regency Gas, who owns the gas processing plant just outside Eustace.

Courtesy Photo/Buddy Daugherty
“Buddy” Daugherty’s buggy heads up a raw cliff during an extreme rock racing contest last summer.

Daugherty’s father was a Marine Corps “lifer.”
“When I was raised, I never went to the same school two years in a row, and they (his children) didn’t either,” he recalled. “As the kids got older, they picked up hobbies, and they all thought that that Jeep stuff was right up their alley.”
As the Regency Gas director of operations for the Ark-La-Tex area, Daugherty has spent most of his career in the region, but also spent time in Kansas and three years in Argentina.
“(Three years ago) I got into an off-road club in Colorado,” Daugherty recalled. “A buddy of mine took me to an XRRA race, and I was hooked.”
Daugherty was driving a stock Jeep CJ7. “The adrenaline was so extreme, I remember about half-way through the race telling myself out loud ‘you’ve got to breathe’,” he recalled.
That was the last XRRA race of the season, and the next year, Daugherty modified a Jeep to compete.
“I made it half-way through the first race in Moab, Utah, and broke the front axle,” he said. “I was real discouraged, but my wife (Cathy) said, ‘Why don’t you go home and sell all those Jeeps you’ve got, and build you one?’”
So he built his own rock racer buggy, with help from sponsors Interco Tires and Longview Driveshaft & 4x4, with a custom-fabricated chassis from Raven Racing Chassis of Colorado Springs.
The buggy had to be a little bigger than the others, but still had to be as light as possible.

Courtesy Photo/Buddy Daugherty
Spitting gravel and dust from all four wheels, “Buddy” Daugherty (at right) slides through a turn during an extreme rock racing contest last summer.

“I’m a pretty good-sized guy (6-4, 270), so we first had to build it with the clearance to handle my height,” he said.
“It’s probably one of the fastest buggies on the course,” he added. “It’s got so much power, I’m hitting things way too fast.”
For example, one course featured a cliff that had stymied most of the other competitors, who stalled out trying to inch their way to the top.
Daugherty just put his foot in it, and literally bounced all the way over the top. Of course, when he landed, several things broke, and he ended up sliding back down to the bottom.
“I turned over, flipped it and broke it every race, but I still finished sixth,” he said.
“My driving style is pretty extreme, so we have to have as rugged a construction as possible,” he added. “You can’t buy this equipment off the shelf. Everything is built for extreme duty.”
The Interco tires on his buggy were originally experimental, made of the soft rubber used for drag-racing “slicks.”
“There were only 50 made, and I bought two sets,” he said. Since they worked better than expected, Interco now manufactures and sells them for $400 each.
Daugherty estimated he probably has around $55,000 invested in the buggy, not counting the brand-new shop he built across the road from his house to make working on it easier.
“I just spent $65,000 buying a truck from Teague Chevrolet to haul it in an enclosed trailer,” he noted. “I worked all my life to provide for my kids. When they finally got out of the house, I wanted to do something for me.”
Needless to say, he admits his wife Cathy “has been very patient with me.”
When he travels to Colorado or the upper East Coast, or to an elementary school, his buggy is definitely a conversation starter.
“I talk to a lot of mudder guys. They look at the suspension setup,” he said. “When I go to an elementary school, the kids crawl all over it.”
He actually has two goals in mind for the coming season – to finish first, and to beat one of the top drivers, Brian Shirley of Kansas, who drives “Sick Caddy.”
Daugherty has appeared in probably a half-dozen racing videos, and hopes to lure the two XRRA circuits to Texas – perhaps to Shiloh Ridge near Alto, where he goes to practice.
He has entered his buggy in two “tough truck” events, finishing first in one and second in the other.
When he retires from Regency Gas, Daugherty eventually would like to develop his own off-road racing venue.
“I know a lot of off-road guys who would like to compete against each other,” he said. “I need property that’s not good for cows or subdividing.” If you’re interested, call him at (903) 451-4186.
“I think this next year is going to be my year,” he added. “After that, I’ll probably pass it on to my kids and be a co-driver.”
He admits to being just a little sore after races, although he’s never been injured.
“I am the oldest (driver). I’m called ‘Pops’,” Daugherty said (he turns 55 this month). “Next year, I’ll have a sticker on there that says I’m a member of AARP.”


Mabank drops 2 at TJC
Monitor Staff Reports
TYLER–Mabank’s Panthers went 1-2 in the annual Wagstaff Holiday Classic basketball tournament on the Tyler Junior College campus last weekend.
Now 11-6 on the season, the Panthers will travel to Brownsboro for their final non-district game Tuesday, Jan. 8, with a 4:30 p.m. freshman contest opening the evening’s slate.
Friday, Jan. 11, the Panthers will open District 13-3A play on the road against the Kaufman Lions before returning home to host the Eustace Bulldogs Tuesday, Jan. 15. Each evening opens with 4:30 p.m. sub-varsity games.
The Panthers opened the Tyler tournament with a 65-48 loss to eventual tournament champion Jacksonville Indians, who had earlier won the ninth annual Cedar Creek Lake Shoot-Out tournament in Mabank.
Jacksonville used a 22-11 third-quarter run to pull away from the Panthers. Kolton Browning led Mabank with 19 points, as Albin Gashi added 12.
In the second round, the Panthers rebounded to knock off the Kilgore Bulldogs 64-56.
A 20-8 second-quarter run broke open the contest, and the Panthers withstood a fourth-quarter surge by the Bulldogs to record the eight-point win.
Browning again led the Panthers with a game-high 29 points, while Gashi added 13.
In the third round, the Panthers fell to San Antonio Alamo Heights, 70-43.
Alamo Heights opened an 18-6 first-quarter lead, and then outscored the Panthers 40-22 in the second half to win going away.
Browning again led the Panthers with 21 points (including a pair of 3-point baskets), as Gashi had eight, Griffin Marshall and Tyler Fisher each scored six points, and Caleb McKee added two points.
Jude Dworaczyk led Alamo Heights with 22 points.


Mabank girls win S-R tournament
Monitor Staff Reports
SCURRY-ROSSER–With senior guard Kelsi Reynolds back in the starting lineup, the Mabank Lady Panthers rolled through the third annual Scurry-Rosser Holiday Classic basketball tournament.
After knocking off Milford, Denison and Blooming Grove in the earlier rounds, the Lady Panthers defeated Dallas Christian Academy 55-49 to win the tournament championship.
The Lady Panthers were scheduled to open District 13-3A play Friday with a key road contest against the Crandall Lady Pirates.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, the Lady Panthers will host the Kemp Lady Yellowjackets, and Friday, Jan. 11, travel to Kaufman for a district contest against the Lady Lions. Each evening opens with 4:30 p.m. sub-varsity contests.
At Scurry-Rosser, Mabank junior point guard Chelsey Dillon was named the tournament MVP, while teammates Ashley Corter and Jeanice Mojica were named to the all-tournament team.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank Lady Panthers Kelsi Reynolds (10) and Chelsea Alldredge trap Milford Lady Bulldog Whisper Thomas near midcourt during Mabank’s 55-30 opening-round win at the third annual Scurry-Rosser Holiday Classic tournament Dec. 27. Mabank won four straight to claim the tournament championship.

In the tournament opener, the Lady Panthers held the Milford Lady Bulldogs to single-digit scoring in every quarter to run up a 55-30 victory.
Mabank was firmly in charge of the contest by halftime, opening a 12-point lead, 28-16, behind 12 points (including a pair of 3-point baskets) from freshman Sara Springer and six points from Corter.
In the second half, the Lady Panthers kept up the pressure behind Dillon, who scored seven of her nine points (including a trey) during the third quarter.
If there was a low point for the Lady Panthers, it was at the free throw line, as Mabank hit just 3-of-12 attempts.
Springer led a well-balanced Lady Panther attack with 15 points, including a trio of 3-point baskets, while both Ashley Hammack and Dillon finished with nine points each, including a trey each.
Corter finished with eight points, while Mojica had six, Reynolds three (on a fourth-quarter trey) and Chelsea Alldredge had two points, while Lauren Graham, Lauren Hamilton and Sam Goss all added free throws.
Ashley Ross led Milford with 16 points.
The Lady Panthers had their closest game in the second round, squeaking past the Denison Lady Yellow Jackets 46-43.
Mabank opened a 10-4 lead in the first quarter, but the Lady Yellow Jackets had cut that lead back to two points, 18-16, by halftime.
The Lady Panthers pushed their lead back to six points in the third quarter, and both Mojica and Corter helped hold off a determined Denison comeback attempt.
Mojica scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, while Corter hit 8-of-12 free throws in the second half to finish with 12 points.
The Lady Panthers got four points from Graham, three from Ashley Hammack and Alldredge, two from Goss and a free throw from Hamilton.
Kalisha Lewis led a very balanced Denison attack with 10 points.
In their third-round game, the Lady Panthers held the Blooming Grove Lady Lions to nine points in the second half to win 45-30.
Mabank’s 13-3 third-quarter run, behind Dillon’s six points, broke open what had been a one-point contest, and the Lady Panthers outscored the Lady Lions 8-6 in the fourth quarter to hold off any comeback attempt.
Dillon finished with 14 points to lead the Lady Panthers, who also got nine points from Mojica and six points from Graham.
Corter scored four points, both Alldredge and Reynolds hit 3-point baskets, and Springer, Hamilton and Goss all had two points each.
Blooming Grove senior Kelsie Tipping took game-high honors by scoring 20 of the Lady Lions’ 30 points (10 in the second quarter), but she only scored four points in the second half.
Another big third-quarter run proved to be the difference in the championship game against the Dallas Christian Lady Chargers.
Following a low-scoring first quarter, Dallas Christian outscored Mabank 17-12 to take a two-point halftime lead, 22-20.
In the third quarter, the Lady Panthers posted a 19-12 run behind Hammack (four points), Reynolds (five, including a trey) and Mojica (six points, including 4-of-4 from the charity stripe).
Up by five going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers held off the Lady Chargers 16-15 behind 3-point baskets from Mojica and Alldredge (her only points).
Eleven of the 12 Lady Panthers scored in the win, led by 12 points from Corter, 11 from Mojica and eight points by Hammack.
Reynolds finished with five points, Dillon had four, Graham, Alldredge and Howard scored three points each, and Whitney Cathey, Springer and Hamilton all had two points each.
Brielle Money led the Lady Lions with 14 points, as Lauren Ferguson had 12 and Jasmin Isom scored 10 points.


Upcoming games

Girls basketball

Jan. 4
MHS @ Crandall*
KHS vs Ferris*
EHS vs Kaufman*

Jan. 8
EHS @ Ferris*

Jan. 11
MHS @ Kaufman*

Jan. 15
KHS @ Crandall*

Jan. 18
MHS @ Ferris*
KHS vs Kaufman
EHS vs Crandall*

Jan. 22
MHS vs Crandall*
KHS @ Ferris*
EHS @ Kaufman*
*District 13-3A contest
Boys basketball

Jan. 4
KHS @ Palestine
EHS @ Trinidad

Jan. 11
MHS @ Kaufman*

Jan. 15
KHS @ Crandall*

Jan 18
MHS @ Ferris*
KHS vs Kaufman*
EHS vs Crandall*
*District 13-3A contest

Jan. 7-12
MHS b/g @ Palestine tourn.

Jan. 8
EHS b/g vs Royse City (scr)

Jan. 15
MHS b/g vs Forney (b here)*
EHS b/g vs Chapel Hill*

Jan. 22
MHS b/g vs Ennis (g here)*
EHS b/g vs Athens*
*District contest