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Pilot Point resident lands Daytona 500 ride

Robert Richardson Jr. has started 161 races across NASCAR’s three national series, but he wasn’t sure he’d run another one.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Ray Sasser: ShareLunker program hits a lull

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Toyota ShareLunker season is off to a slow start. The program began in October and there’s just one entry so far, a Sam Rayburn Reservoir 13.2-pounder caught Nov. 2 by Ray Euper of Lufkin.

Local Schedule

Ray Sasser: DFW Boat Expo opens today

The DFW Boat Expo opens today at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Interstate 35E in Dallas. The show is open through Sunday, then opens again Feb. 11-14.

Ray Sasser: DFW Boat Expo opens next Friday

The DFW Boat Expo is a seven-day show that’s spread over 10 days, Feb. 5-14. It’s closed Feb. 8-10.

Wally Marshall

Ray Sasser: Mr. Crappie eyes Ray Roberts records

Wally Marshall never planned to be a guest lecturer at a college. Marshall, also known by his trademarked “Mr. Crappie” moniker, will headline the upcoming Crappie University at Richland College.

It was derby!

Denton’s North Texas Fallout roller derby team won the 2016 Junior Derby Southern Showdown over the weekend in Houston, defeating the River City Riot in the final. The Fallout’s Ashlyn Clark and Carissa Snow were named the tournament’s top blocker and top jammer.

Ray Sasser: State park damage estimated at $26M

Water damage to state parks caused by the 2015 floods is estimated at $26 million, according to State Parks Division director Brent Leisure.

Friends of Achievers Invitational Results

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Budding Star

Denton resident Austin Letsche, 9, won the Division 2 title at the recent Texas Novice State Championship wrestling tournament in the 65-pound class. The tournament features wrestlers with less than two years of experience. Letsche pinned three of four opponents, including his opponent in the title match in 55 seconds. Letsche, who attends Nelson Elementary, went on to compete in the Houston Open National Championship on Saturday. He won five of six matches and finished second. Letsche went 28-0 in novice events this season and won all nine tournaments he entered. He is the son of Joe and Alice Letsche.

Ray Sasser: Annual expo a growing adventure

In the last 20 years, the Dallas Safari Club’s annual Convention and Hunters Expo has quietly risen in status to become one of the nation’s premier outdoor shows.

DMN

Ray Sasser: Decades of hunting yield great stories

In 45 years of deer hunting, I’ve been lucky enough to hear many legendary thoughts from a big deer camp full of interesting people.

Denton’s Webb wins buckle in Las Vegas

With Christmas still a week away, Denton’s Riley Webb already has received a huge present.

Ray Sasser: Teen girl bags rare black buck

It was a memorable deer season for Brooke Bateman, 14, of Dallas. Hunting with her father, Mike Bateman, Brooke bagged her first buck Nov. 21.

Ray Sasser: Collin County home to big bucks

If you could set up an archery stand for hunting white-tailed deer anywhere in Texas, you probably wouldn’t choose Collin County. Steve Purcell thinks he has the best archery stand in Texas, and he didn’t even pick out the tree. It’s on an 84-acre tract of land about 20 miles from downtown Dallas.

Ray Sasser: Salvinia threatens Texas’ top bass lake

There’s discouraging news from Lake Fork, where Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists on Nov. 18 confirmed the presence of giant salvinia in Chaney Branch, west of the dam.

DMN

Ray Sasser: Rattling shakes things up

In 1990, I was inextricably linked to the least effective but most exciting form of white-tailed deer hunting when the late Jack Cowan used me as a model in a painting called Coming to Horns.

Ray Sasser: 80-year-old bags rare smoke turkey

Doug Fox was hunting with a crossbow in Bosque County the first time he saw the odd-colored Rio Grande hen turkey. It was during the October archery season. It’s legal to shoot a hen turkey in Bosque County, so Fox, 80, let his arrow fly.

Local Schedule

DMN

Ray Sasser: Harvest now to protect deer population

Deer hunters are afield by the hundreds of thousands this weekend, and many will end their first hunt without firing a shot.

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Notebook: Denton’s Villagomez wins drawing for Whitetail Bonanza hunt

Virgil Wilson of Euless won the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Grand Slam hunt through the department’s Big Time Texas Hunts computer drawing. A total of 13,478 hunters bought entries at $10 apiece.

Motor sports: Johnson uses late pass to win again at TMS

FORT WORTH — Brad Keselowski arrived at Texas Motor Speedway likely needing a win to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. For the second consecutive year, six-time champion...

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Motor sports: Nemechek returns after birthday, first win

When John Hunter Nemechek was at Texas Motor Speedway in June, the Camping World Truck Series driver was a spectator.

Ray Sasser: Rain produces growth, boosting deer

White-tailed deer season is setting up as one of those memorable seasons that hunters will speak of in hushed and reverent tones for years to come. Abundant spring and summer rain over most of the state’s whitetail range created a lush growth of native food that left animals fat and healthy entering fall.

Motor sports: Denton banker Ratcliff relishes U.S. Nationals victory

Though he doesn’t have a green jacket to show for it, Kyle Ratcliff likens his winning a drag racing championship in the Stock Eliminator class at September’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals to another popular, albeit slower-paced, sporting event.

Ray Sasser: 2015-16 duck season: Expect record number of birds

This year, said Kevin Kraai, hunters should at least open the season with better habitat conditions than usual. Kraai heads the waterfowl program for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Thanks to heavy spring and early summer rains, most reservoirs in north and east Texas remain at healthy levels.

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AP

Motor sports: Hamilton wins U.S. Grand Prix and F1 season championship

AUSTIN — Lewis Hamilton had quite a day at Circuit of the Americas. He spun in the rain during a rare Sunday morning qualifying session, eventually losing out on pole position to his teammate. He later forced that teammate, Nico Rosberg, off the track in the first turn of the race to take the lead. Faster cars passed Hamilton, and he found himself running second on the final restart.

Motor sports: Heavy rain ruins U.S. Grand Prix qualifying in Austin

AUSTIN — Fans danced in ponchos and mechanics horsed around on pit lane, but there was no on-track competition Saturday at the United States Grand Prix.

Ray Sasser: Quail rebounding after rainfall

Quail season begins statewide on Halloween. It looks like quail hunters who remain after years of drought and low bird numbers are in for a treat. Robert Perez was right, and I was wrong.

Ray Sasser: Texas buggies worth three-year wait

John Lannom has built ranch buggies in Fort Stockton since 1975. He’s never advertised his product, never put up a highway billboard, never had a website. Most of the time, Lannom doesn’t even answer the shop phone.

Ray Sasser: Youth weekends offer chance to mentor

Important dates are upcoming in October. Youth-only weekends are set for duck and deer hunting. These early seasons were created so mentors can give their full attention to the kids they guide. Texas children are routinely introduced to hunting at early ages and often without the preparatory work necessary to ensure success.

Ray Sasser: Archers appear to be growing in number

Archery season for white-tailed deer, mule deer and Rio Grande turkeys begins Saturday and continues through Nov. 6. It’s hard to know how many archery hunters are out there, in spite of the fact that they must pay a $7 stamp endorsement to take advantage of the early season.

Ray Sasser: Old-timers share love of good bird dogs

MIAMI, Texas — Delmar Smith and T. Boone Pickens have a lot in common. Both are Oklahoma natives, and both men have a reverence for good bird dogs. Not just bird dogs — good bird dogs, canine Geiger counters that sift the often dusty air for the subtle aroma of America’s finest game bird.

North Texas Karters

North Texas Karters

Ray Sasser: Tips for deer rifle accuracy, safety

The firearms deer season doesn’t begin until Nov. 7, and that leaves plenty of time to visit a nearby shooting range and make certain your deer rifle shoots where it’s supposed to shoot.

Ray Sasser: Spinning-wing decoy worth price

After the best opening-day mourning dove hunt we’ve seen in a while, my wife, Emilie, and I wound up on a pretty slow second-day hunt. Luckily, we had our mojo working.

Ray Sasser: Don’t scrimp on dove ammo

Several thousand shotgun shells have been fired since dove season started Tuesday in most of Texas. Even more will be shot up this weekend. If the 70-day season goes well, Texas hunters will bag about 5 million doves with 25 million shots — about a million boxes of shotgun shells.

North Texas Karters

Krugerville’s Smith wins world title

Cathy Smith, of Krugerville, captured the world championship title in performance halter geldings at the 2015 Adequan Select American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show on Sunday in Amarillo.

For the DRC

Gruver bull rider leads

Stand-alone bull riding has come into its own as both a sport and entertainment in the rodeo world in the past 20 years. Denton has been home to one of the best bull-only events in the region for years with the North Texas Fair and Rodeo’s Bull Blowout.

Ray Sasser: Dove season forecast looks good

Dove season begins in most of Texas on Sept. 1. That’s a Tuesday this year. I’m personally in favor of kicking off the first major hunting season on a Saturday, but Sept. 1 is the longstanding tradition and doesn’t appear likely to change anytime soon.

Denton’s Webb wins twice

Every year at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, the future stars of pro rodeo competition get their chance at the 21-and-under youth rodeo. Tackling the same events as the professionals, with a couple of events added, the competitive drive and the cowboy spirit are on display as the contestants develop skills to take them to the next level.

Registration underway for city tourney

Denton Parks & Recreation is taking registrations for the Denton City Golf Championship, scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 at Robson Ranch’s Wildhorse Golf Club.

Fair veteran claims bareback crown

The third and final performance of the 2015 North Texas Fair and Rodeo PRCA event played to another sold-out crowd at the fairgrounds on Sunday night. Cowboys and cowgirls from across the country and even a couple of international competitors were there to try to earn their share of the prize money.

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PRCA riders put on a show

A record-breaking crowd Saturday night at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo saw the athletes of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association put on one of the best rodeos Denton has seen in years.

Fair opens with PRCA rodeo

The first rodeo performance of the North Texas Fair and Rodeo was held Friday night featuring the cowboys and cowgirls of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The first of three PRCA performances, its competitors included several world champions and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers.

There’s a license combo to suit you

On Saturday, new fishing and hunting licenses go on sale at about 1,200 retailers throughout the state. Licenses also will be available at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, http://tpwd.texas.gov....

Ray Sasser: Visit range before dove hunting

Dove season begins Sept. 1 in most of Texas. In a banner season, the state’s dove hunters will fire about 35 million shotgun shells. Six out of seven times, the shot misses its target.