AUGUST 14, 1999 -

As many of you know by now, our illustrious rollerski series has become clouded in controversy. Here are the facts and the actions taken in this sad episode.

The Facts: In the first three I.R.S. races, Cory Smith's 1997-98 Exel Avanti Formula poles were unbeatable. Regardless of who used them, these poles always came out on top. Cory used them twice and Scott Loomis used them once, each person riding them to victory lane.

On August 3, Cory loaned the poles to Scott to use during an interval session. Once again the poles were indominable, as Scott severly put the wood to Cory in the interval session. When the session ended, Scott did not return the poles to Cory, and Cory did not ask for them back. Scott took the poles home.

When Scott returned the poles to Cory on the morning of August 7, the left pole was broken into three pieces. In addition, both grips were severly scratched up, but still usable. Scott explained that on August 5, he had used the poles again for a skate rollerski workout and he took a major spill and shattered the pole. It should be noted that Scott looked truely sorry when he apologized to Cory and offered to pay for a replacement, should that be necessary.

A final note: Cory is still awaiting word from Exel about a replacement shaft.

Actions taken: Upon hearing of this tragedy, the I.R.S. governing board immediately suspended Loomis from any I.R.S. activities, pending further review. Additionally, the next I.R.S. race, scheduled for August 14, was postponed until further notice. Presently, the I.R.S. board is hearing from all parties in order to find the answers to the following questions:

When the I.R.S. board is satisfied that it has answered all of these critical questions, it will issue a ruling and the series will resume. It should be strongly stated that neither Cory or Scott is yet considered a suspect in this case and will be called in for questioning merely as witnesses. And as always check here to find out. I.R.S. News, . . . you hear it first.

AUGUST 18, 1999

Today, the I.R.S. Board handed down its ruling in the Polegate scandal. The ski world has been waiting on pins and needles for this ruling, so we will get right to it. The following is the statement they released:

We, the members of the governing board of the International Rollerski Series, have examined all the available facts in the scandal involving the mysterious breakage of a certain pair of Exel Avanti poles. Interpreting the facts to the best of our abilities we have determined the following:

Upon initial review, Scott Loomis appeared to be guilty of foul play. He broke the poles while no one else was around. He had used the poles many times, but they broke as soon as he had them out of everyone else's sight. Also suspicious was the fact that, while the poles were beaten up from a terrible crash, Loomis was unscathed. When he appeared before the I.R.S. board to defend himself, Loomis stated that he was more innocent than O.J. He also provided the statement, "If you don't want to get hit, you must acquit." Loomis was also heard on Monday saying that if board members were open to bribes, he would gladly comply. In an unrelated matter, a couple members of the I.R.S. board have been looking extremely dapper in their new L.L. Bean wardrobes. But before we convicted Loomis and handed down a lifetime ban from the I.R.S. series, we examined the role of the apparent victim, Cory Smith. Loomis, by himself, had no motive to break the poles. Unless Smith took some greedy action, Loomis would have been free to use the poles for the remaining skate races. Why would Loomis want to take away his advantage? Though he denies it, Smith could have threatened to take away the poles. Also suspicious is the fact that Smith was seen working on the poles in the Nordic Equipment shop two days before they were broken. Did he tamper the poles to encourage them to snap and cause a crash, possibly to injure an unsuspecting user (Loomis)? When asked about this, Smith said, "Damn, I wish I'd thought of that!" He also claimed to have secret video footage of Loomis blasting the pole with a shotgun, but the film looked suspiciously like a Bugs Bunny & Elmer Fudd cartoon. He didn't help his cause when he cried, "See, right there, he broke my spear and magic helmet!"

Another possibility is that the break was accidental, but we don't believe that for a second.

Too many questions remain for us to suspend one person. Therefore we have decided to put both Loomis and Smith on probation. One more slip-up from either competitor and they are out for good. In the meantime, they may race with no penalties. He hope that, while we cannot resolve this sad affair, we can put it behind us and get on with the races. We consider this matter closed.

The next race will be held Saturday, August 28 at 8:00am. OK, we want a good, clean fight. Let's get it on!