Local rodeo director takes chilling dip in Alaska’s Glacier Bay

Sep 14 2012 - 9:19pm

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Trips to Alaska's Glacier Bay are popular, but for Val Byram, of South Weber, his last fishing trip turned out to be a little too interactive.

Byram, 67, a member of the Wilderness Circuit board of directors and longtime rodeo clown/barrelman, told PRCA's ProRodeo News that he was fishing in August with three friends on a 28-foot cabin cruiser, and had been seeing humpback whales all morning. He said he remembered thinking it "was all pretty darn cool."

Then, one whale swam underneath them in pursuit of a large school of herring and whacked the boat with the base of its tail.

The boat nearly capsized, sending Byram into the one-to-two foot swells of the bay when the boat self-corrected.

The water was 51 degrees.

Fortunately, he grabbed a lifeline and his friends were able to pull him back on deck.

"I've called back up there (to Alaska) and the boat captain told me I've kind of become a legend from there down to Seattle. He said that when people go into the water in Glacier Bay that they almost never get them back. Everything happens too fast and the conditions are too extreme," he told the PRCA.

"There are a lot of what ifs with a thing like this. Next time? Yeah, I'll wear a vest."

Best sellers

With Real Salt Lake off the pitch this week, here's your MLS fix.

David Beckham has the top selling adidas MLS player jersey through MLSgear.com.

No surprise, there.

He's followed by the Red Bulls' Thierry Henry, the Galaxy's Landon Donovan and the Sounders' Fredy Montero.

RSL captain Kyle Beckerman sits 22nd on the top seller list, two spots behind former teammate Freddy Adu.

Tidbits

Weber State football junior Tony Epperson (Park City) has been named WSU student-athlete of the week after his all-around performance for the Wildcats in Saturday's game at BYU. ...

Utah State earned votes in The Associated Press' top 25 football poll for the first time since 1966. The last time the Aggies were ranked was Dec. 4, 1961, when they were ranked 10th overall and lost to Baylor (24-9) in the Gotham Bowl. ...

Congrats to the UGA, which topped the Utah Section PGA 17 to 15 in the Governor's Cup golf matches at Wolf Creek last month. The UGA Tournament of Champions is today and Sunday at Wolf Creek. ...

The Utah Blaze have partnered with the Ute Conference youth football league. Over the past couple of months, the Blaze distributed more than 1,700 donated footballs to the Ute Conference, which has been around since 1966. Utah's players, coaching staff and front office have also offered coaching and fundraising support. ...

The 2012 NGA Northern States Natural Bodybuilding, Figure, Bikini, and Men's Physique Pro Qualifier will be Sept. 22 at Peery's Egyptian Theater in Ogden. ...

Alumni of the Sigma Delta Pi fraternity, now called Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), will hold a fundraiser golf tournament on Sept. 21 at Wolf Creek Resort. The tournament proceeds will go to a scholarship fund at Weber State University for family members of fallen soldiers/officers. To see if spots are still available, call 801-627-1110. ...

Swan Lakes is hosting the annual Cheryl Gocel Memorial golf scramble to benefit Special Olympics Utah on Sept. 22. It's a great cause. For information, call Ed Gocel at 801-628-1157 or Swan Lakes at 801-546-1045.

Chris J. Miller is sports editor for the Standard-Examiner. He can be reached at 801-625-4261 or cmiller@standard.net.

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