Bob Wilber grew up aspiring to follow in his father’s baseball footsteps, and while he was able to secure a full college scholarship and later spend parts of six years in professional ball, as a player, coach, and scout, his mother’s writing, communications, and public relations skills were what eventually defined his career. After a successful and adventurous sports-marketing trek through the sports-apparel business, agency work, and professional indoor soccer, he saw his first drag race as he closed in on his 40th birthday. Little did he know that he’d go on to spend 20 consecutive years as a team manager and PR representative for Del Worsham and then Tim Wilkerson, two of the most popular Funny Car drivers on the NHRA tour. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Bob ended his drag racing run in order to take on a longtime assignment. He is currently writing his autobiography, entitled “Bats, Balls, and Burnouts” which is due for publication late in 2016.
Happy Thursday Blog Day, everyone. I’m back from Brainerd and still kind of glowing about it. It was my fourth visit to a race this year, which lends further credence to the Facebook post my former colleague Lachelle Seymour wrote, which stated, “You’re failing at being retired from drag racing.” Considering I’ve visited four tracks so far and plan to be at three more before the season is over, means I’ll be at a little less than 1/3 of the races this year. And let’s remember I didn’t travel to all the races last year. I went to 15 races in 2015, and I’ll be at seven this year. Lachelle is right.
Welcome to Brainerd week! I’ll be heading up there early on Saturday morning and coming back on Sunday night, and I’m really looking forward to it just like every time I’ve ever gone to Brainerd. It’s a great place, it’s totally unique on the NHRA Mello Yello tour, and it’s just plain fun.
The headline to today’s blog might make a smidgen of sense to you, but only if you’ve been a longtime reader of my various blogs, including this one back when it was called “Bob On Baseball.” It’s not about fairy tales or Harry Potter stuff. It’s about a special place, a very special tournament, and one of the best groups of guys I ever played baseball with. The Valmeyer Tournament, and the Sauget Wizards.
Sometimes, you just need to get away. I’ve enjoyed these seven months of writing “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” more than I ever dreamt I would, but I knew I needed to recharge and get away from it for a bit. Take how much I needed a weekend getaway and multiply it by 100 and that’s how much Barbara needed it. Her job has always been stressful and challenging, and she only has one speed when it comes to work. She can’t idle through it. Basically, her work mode is simply an On-Off switch, and “On” setting is 100 percent.
It’s Thursday. That’s Blog Day. This is the blog. Everything is in balance. Well, not everything. My office in the lower level of our house isn’t exactly perfect, in a Feng Shui sort of way. I do have a new giant frame of jackets that needs to go on the wall, but it’s really heavy and very bulky and it will take some effort to get it hung, so for now it leans against the wall. And, I’m actually a little behind in the writing process this week. We are finally into the Worsham years with Chapter 26, and the flood of memories is hard to stem. I keep going back and adding stuff to what I’ve already written because “Well, that has to be in there” or “I can’t believe I forgot to write about that.” For instance, in this chapter I not only meet Barbara, my wife to be, but she also gets to know my wonderful cat Shasta, who moved in with her before I did.