Thousands gather for annual Hill Climb
DANSVILLE — With the abundance of falling rocks, leather jackets and adult beverages, the Poag’s Hole Hill Climb does not strike many as a stereotypical family event.
But once again, Poag’s Hole has proved in 2019 that it is the perfect way for the family to spend a summer Sunday in Dansville, NY.
“Putting on a family event for us is huge. It’s everything. Back in the day, that’s how it was known. It was a family event that you could bring your kids to. It lost some of that over time, but when we originally decided to do this event, we wanted to make sure that it was a true family event,” said Poag’s Hole Owner Mike Mistretta. “That’s how we built it, and on a normal weekend we had 10-15,000 kids here. Then they grew up and are bringing their kids, and it is going to keep the sport alive.”
As soon as the gates opened at 9 a.m., the bikes and cars packed full with passengers rushed through the gates to get to their parking spots, and the line did not diminish until well after the races started at 12:30 pm.
And once the races started, spectators were treated to one of the best Poag’s Hole events that has ever been held. There were 10 different racers that made it all the way to the top of the toughest hill in the country. John Koester dominated the field in a truly incredible run of 15.91 seconds, nearly two full seconds faster than second place.
Josh Hill, Jack Mason, Austin Teyler and Jay Sallstrom rounded out the rest of the top five.
In the King of the Hill event, Josh Hill won the elimination style tournament, defeating Joe Shipman in the championship round. Austin Teyler took third place over Logan Cipala in the consolation match.
The competition was fierce all day long, and the crowd enjoyed every minute of it. And while Hill Climbing may seem like a foreign concept to most, it actually has some very deep roots right in the local area, according to Mistretta.
“It has huge roots here. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, there were hills all around. There was a hill in Avoca, a hill on Conesus Lake. There was one in Hartsville too, there were a lot of hill in this area way back in the day,” said Mistretta. “They were all awesome. But the technologies of the motorcycles have made almost all of those old hills obsolete.”
And because of that, Mistretta stated that he wanted to design a hill that was a true challenge to competitors, and because of that its reputation in the sport now precedes itself.
“The key is to get them in the air,” said Mistretta. “This hill is ugly.”