Arcata >> The sounds of chainsaws at the Redwood Bowl during September, October and November have been customary with every Ja’Quan Gardner touchdown run or Robert Webber scoring pass over the past four years.Based on how they’ve played, there’s been plenty of revving of engines, plenty to celebrate at the Redwood Bowl along the way.Saturday is the Humboldt State football team’s final regular-season game of 2017.There’s a share of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title on the line. …
20 February 2012Defending champions Andy Birkett and Jason Graham won The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon title in emphatic fashion on Saturday after turning in a superlative performance of running and paddling on the 36-kilometre final stage from Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon in Durban.Hank McGregor and Len Jenkins had to settle for second place, with the ‘Dream Team” of Thulani Mbanjwa and Sbonelo Zondi in third.The three-day event covers 120 kilometres and is raced between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on the Umsindusi and Umgeni rivers. It is one of the largest canoe marathons in the world, and regarded as one of the toughest.After a meticulously constructed preparation campaign and a flawless three days of racing by the pair affectionately known as “Team Fun”, Birkett and Graham extended their overnight four-minute lead to a final margin of victory of nine minutes, giving Birkett his third Dusi title in a row.DiveThe duo celebrated their win in trademark fashion by standing up in their kayak as they crossed the line and diving into the waters of Blue Lagoon.During the three days of the race, the pair clinically mastered the full rivers, taking some brave lines down dangerous rapids such as Tops Needle, before a Herculean run over the notorious Burma Road portage put the result beyond question.“Graham has shown such incredible commitment the whole way through training and especially over the past three days and I cannot thank him enough for everything he has put in to getting us to where we are today,” said Birkett. “We are thrilled with the win and to have shared it with Jas has been so awesome!“Also, a huge thanks must go to the rest of the guys who gave us such a tough time throughout the race. Day one was one of the toughest days of racing I have ever experienced with the lead changing hands seven times, which just goes to show how tough it really was out there.‘Sweeter’“It was awesome to be able to race against guys like this and it definitely makes the win that much sweeter.“There are lots of things which can go wrong in Dusi and Jason and I were very lucky the entire way this year and didn’t have any issues,” Birkett added. “We took a couple of risks today, which we probably didn’t have to, but I’m glad we did because it was loads of fun.“I am definitely glad it’s all over now, though, and that I don’t have to get up at three o’clock tomorrow morning to go train, but it has been a fantastic journey with Jason.”Having tried to convince his younger partner to opt for a younger talent after their 2010 victory, Graham was flattered that Birkett insisted he wanted to paddle with “Gramps” again and it once more proved to be a rewarding decision for both paddlers.“I like to think it was a mature decision by Andy, but I said to him shortly after the finish that this is now most definitely the last time!” insisted Graham.‘Incredible’“It’s been an incredible experience and to have beaten the reigning marathon world champ, the freakish talents on Len (Jenkins) and the phenomenal running abilities of Thulani (Mbanjwa) and Sbonelo (Zondi), it was just such a great race and I’m just so chuffed with how everything worked out for us.”Despite giving it their all, Birkett’s Team Best 4 Kayak Centre team-mates Hank McGregor and Len Jenkins simply had no answers to the leader’s relentless onslaught and instead had to turn their attention to maintaining their second place as Thulani Mbanjwa and Sbonelo Zondi launched a remarkable charge through the middle section of the final day.“I thought we had a really good Burma portage. We managed to run almost the entire way to the top, but by the time we got to the bottom I could not believe it when I turned around and saw Bungee (Thulani Mbanjwa) and Sbonelo right there!” said Jenkins.“We had a great race, though, and well done to Birkie and Jason on their fantastic race,” he added.AstonishedMcGregor was just as astonished by the effort of Mbanjwa and Zondi, who ran like men possessed up the notorious Burma Road portage.“With Len dragging the boat, I was running behind, and when you’re out there your senses become very alert, and suddenly I heard the sound of a rudder blade coming up behind us, and I simply could not believe it!” said McGregor. “Bungee and Sbonelo were running with the boat like they’d stolen it! It was absolutely incredible!“We got a massive fright when they put in right behind us and from then we knew we had to go flat out. Luckily we managed to get away from Bungee and Sbonelo again and come home second, but well done to them!“We tried our hardest and had a really good race, but at the end of the day we were just out-paced, out-raced and out-run! Andy and Jason deserve their win through and through and it’s an honour to have come second to two great champs,” he concluded.SpecialA special effort on the final day may not have been enough to put Mbanjwa and Zondi back in the hunt for title they would have so dearly loved to win, but their closing stage performance will leave a far sweeter taste in taste in their mouths after a disappointing and frustrating first two days.“It has been a really disappointing Dusi this year for us. We had really hoped to do a lot better, so it was unfortunate we had so many issues on the first two days, but we had a great day today and we are really happy with how we finished,” said Mbanjwa.“Third is not ideal, but it is definitely a lot better than fourth, which is where we started the day, so I guess we can at least take that out of it,” he added.PromisingHaving combined for the first time in last year’s The Unlimited Non-Stop Dusi, the Mbanjwa and Zondi pairing is still relatively new to the paddling world. However, all the signs indicate a promising future for the duo.“I’m so grateful that Thulani agreed to paddle with me this year. He is such a great guy and knows so much, and I have learnt so much from him over the past few months,” said Zondi.After their valiant day two effort the under-23 crew of Lance Kime and Kwanda Mhlope couldn’t hold off the challenge of Mbanjwa and Zondi on the final day but came home in a deserved fourth place and in the process sounded a warning of what may lie ahead for the two talented youngsters.LadiesIn the ladies’ race Team Best 4 Kayak Centre’s Robyn Kime and Abbey Ulansky smashed the overall race record to go with their new stage records on each of the two preceding days as they cruised to a second victory in a row. Their team mates, Abby and Alex Abby finished second, ahead of the experienced crew of Debbie Germiquet and Carmen Blakeney.“It’s been a great three days for us and it’s really great to have won. It’s been such a privilege to have paddled with Abbey again,” said Kime. “She knows the river so well and I have learnt a lot from her tactics, especially with her having been mentored by Graeme Pope-Ellis.“We started off with some faster guys today and so fell off the wave quite early on, but we felt really good, so we decided to run Burma,” said Ulansky.“Robyn then drove beautifully yet again, but we decided not to risk it too much, and so we portaged Pumphouse Weir – it just wasn’t worth the risk – and then got together with a couple of other boats over the last little stretch home.”ReturnDespite having achieved a convincing victory on only two months of training, it is unlikely Ulansky will be back in the boat again for next year’s K1 race. However, a return at some stage is almost a certainty for the Dusi Queen.“It’s been great to have come out here (from Canada). I’ve had a great time with Robs (Kime) and it’s been fantastic to have stayed with Wendy Pope-Ellis on her farm again,” said Ulansky.“I’m really pleased I came and, who knows, maybe one day I can come back with my husband and take on Robs in the mixed doubles race, but for now I think I’ll hand over my crown,” she chuckled.JuniorsMurray Haw and James Speed put in a remarkable performance on the final day as they moved up a further place to finish eleventh overall and deservedly claimed the under-18 boys’ title ahead of schoolmates Donavan Wewege and Murray Starr.In the junior girls’ section, Bianca Haw and Jordan Peek led from start to finish and finished fourth in the women’s race as well.RESULTSMENAndy Birkett/Jason Graham 7:43.02Hank McGregor/Len Jenkins 7:51.58Thulani Mbanjwa/Sbonelo Zondi 7:54.24Lance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope (u23) 7:59.23Craig Turton/Jasper Mocke 8:01.47Shaun Rubenstein/Steve Farrell 8:12.27Shaun Biggs/Ben Biggs 8:15.12Piers Cruickshanks/Mike Stewart 8:17.28Lucas Mthalane/Mmeli Cele 8:19.06Mark Mulder/Dave Chaplin 8:21.57WOMENRobyn Kime/Abbey Ulansky 8:41.59Abby Adie/Alex Adie (U23) 8:59.25Debbie Germiquet/Carmen Blakeney 9:31.16Bianca Haw/Jordan Peek (U18) 9:48.17Tamika Haw/Jen Hodson 9:52.13Brittany Petersen/Kerry Shuter 10:16.29Jenna Ward/Kerry Segal 10:20.41Mandy Rawlins/Debbie Lewis 10:42.58Lorna Oliver/Angela Scruby 11:00.09Diana Rietz/Nicky Taylor 11:54.11UNDER-23 MENLance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope 7:59.23Brandon van der Walt/Clinton Cook 8:29.46Skhumbuso Ngidi/Nkosikayise Cele 8:38.04UNDER-23 WOMENAbby Adie/Alex Adie 8:59.25Jenna Ward/Kerry Segal 10:20.41UNDER-18 BOYSMurray Haw/James Speed 8:24.19Murray Starr/Donovan Wewege 9:08.44Nqobile Makhanya/ Sboniso Shozi 9:11.27UNDER-18 GIRLSBianca Haw/Jordan Peek 9:48.17Brittany Petersen/Kerry Shuter 10:16.29SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Leave a Comment “Trust” is the first word that comes to mind when Tom Yingling describes Ohio Farm Bureau and why he recently signed up for its newest benefit, the Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Program.“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Farm Bureau and when they came out with (the energy program), I said ‘holy mackerel, this works for us.’ Farm Bureau has always worked to satisfy membership and not stockholders. You’ve got to trust who you’re doing business with and having Farm Bureau offer this program made the decision very easy for us,” said Yingling, a fourth-generation Huron County Farm Bureau member who grain farms with his brother.About the energy programThe Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Program assists members in making energy choices, shopping for energy, learning about rebate options and finding the best ways to manage their energy resources. Ohio Farm Bureau has partnered with an Ohio-based energy management firm, Community Energy Advisors, to run the program. The energy program is just one of many benefits that Ohio Farm Bureau members enjoy, which include savings in health, home and business insurance, travel and recreation and car and equipment purchases.Medina County Farm Bureau member Tawny Zajc signed up for the energy program for the LINE-X protective coating franchise she and her husband operate. She decided to look at the program for her home and was surprised by the price difference. Turns out she had been on a very high rate and didn’t know it. Her home gas savings alone was more than $832 per year.“The phone rings off the hook all day long from solicitors trying to get you to sign up for savings that turn out to only last for a short time, and I’m busy and focused on other things and tend to trust the savings stay the same,” she said. “To find an organization like Farm Bureau that you trust and know is going to have your best interest at heart for yourself and the community is great.”Zajc became an Ohio Farm Bureau member in 2012 to take advantage of the organization’s workers’ compensation program as well as to be more involved in the agriculture community. She grew up in Sugarcreek where she was involved with 4-H and rode horses. She learned about Farm Bureau’s energy program through one of her customers.“He said remember to look at Farm Bureau – you could save a ton with them,” she said. “We’ve already saved with workers’ comp and now we have the energy savings and are in the process of applying for Farm Bureau’s health care program.”Yingling learned about the energy program during a workers’ compensation meeting and signed up shortly after that.“I don’t know the energy rates day to day and always felt pushed by other companies,” he said. “I feel comfortable with Farm Bureau. Business is about relationships and I know Farm Bureau has our best interest in mind.”Online ExtraLearn more about the Ohio Farm Bureau Energy Program and enter for a chance to win $500 that can be used like cash, including to pay for utility costs.Photo credit: Photo by Peggy Turbett Leave a Comment
Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now You’ve been asked to sharpen your pencil. You’ve been told that your dream client wants to give you their business, but one of your competitors has come in at a lower price. If you want to win, you have to do better. You have to reduce your price.You have to choices. You can sharpen your pencil, or you can sharpen your value creation.A Few Notes FirstFirst, you have to keep in mind that it’s your dream client’s responsibility to get the best deal they can they can. They have to check. They have to ask you for a lower price. It would be irresponsible of them not to.Second, most of the time your dream client is willing to invest more to get the result they really need, but they need your help in justifying the greater investment. The more you can quantify and explain how a greater investment returns greater results, the more likely you are to keep your pricing in tact. You help them sell it.Keep these points in mind before you cave in on price.Sharpen Your Value CreationWhen you are forced to defend your price, you need to push back by pointing to the value you are creating. You sharpen your argument around value before you sharpen your pencil.Instead of allowing your dream client to underinvest in the result they need, you remind them that your pricing model was built on getting them the result they need, pointing out the risks of underinvesting.You remind your dream client that the reason they haven’t been able to achieve the results that they sought in the past is because there wasn’t enough value being created. Something has to change.You point your dream client back to the higher cost they will pay by paying a lower price, that price and costs are different.The Last WordAs I write this I am reminded of how many clients I have seen over the years switch providers expecting different results only to be continually disappointed. They believed the big lie that they could produce better results and pay a lower price. Until they didn’t believe anymore.You can’t blame your dream client for choosing a lower price if you didn’t do everything in your power to sharpen your message around the value you create. If you didn’t help them to defend your price by defending it yourself, you’re going to have to sharpen your pencil.QuestionsWhen your client asks you about a lower price, does it mean that they really need to pay a lower price?Is the value that you create in any way related to the value your competitor’s create? What makes you worth paying more to obtain?Is your messaging around the value that you create so differentiated and compelling that it allows you to easily defend your pricing, the necessary investment to producing those results?How do you help your dream client to defend your pricing within his or her own organization? How do you help them answer the question as to whether or not they asked you to agree to a lower price?