South Whidbey Record


Coupeville man wins belt-sander races

August 10, 2013 · Updated 3:23 PM

Mike Shorey, left, and Gary Wray, right, smile wide after placing second and first, respectively, at the Freeland belt-sander race. Presenting them with Frontier Building Supply gift certificates is store manager Dion McCauley. They wore unusual headwear as part of the race festivities which included the theme of wacky hats. / Photo courtesy of Freeland Frontier Building Supply

Gary Wray trusted his pawn-shop purchased belt sander and it paid off big.

The 59-year-old Coupeville man won the Freeland Frontier Building Supply and the area belt-sander races last week. He did it all with a cheap, used Porter Cable belt sander.

“I got it at a pawn shop, actually,” Wray said. “Probably paid $100.“

“It’s not necessarily speed, it’s smoothness. It runs straight.”

Winning the two races paid him $600 in Frontier Building Supply gift certificates. Over the past five years that has Wray competed in belt-sander races, he estimated he won $1,400 in prizes and money.

“It breaks up the monotony of working all the time,” Wray said.

He’ll have to savor the glory of victory and $600 worth of new tools and equipment. Because he won the races this year, Wray cannot race next year.

Belt-sander races are a staple event in late July in Island and Skagit counties. The circuit began at the Sedro-Woolley Frontier, continued at the Oak Harbor location, then Freeland and finished in Anacortes on Aug. 2.


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