Story last updated at 1:19 p.m. Saturday, August 31, 2002

Homer's Best Bets
As Bud Selig threatens to interject -- and being the commissioner of Major League Baseball, it seems like common sense -- the boys of summer are still talking about striking. And though fans are still hung-over from the victory parties, Super bowl champion New England Patriots are already 2-1 in their title-defending preseason. All the signs are there -- it must be almost fall. If you're disillusioned with professional sports, there's still something to cheer for -- the hometown sort. Like a kid in a pile of autumn leaves, this time of year brings the chance to bury yourself in sports. Homer is full of opportunities galore to compete, or just spectate, in a gamut of athletic challenges. The Betster recommends taking advantage of the weather while it lasts and getting outside for some good old sweat and cheering.

Best More Than Just An Athletic-Supporter Bet: If you're a fan of local athletes -- and who isn't? -- check out the Homer High cross country race Friday at 4:45 p.m. on the trails behind the school. But if you're more of the active sort, there's a few opportunities to stretch your legs, including a half-marathon on Sunday beginning at 10 a.m. at the high school track and running to the end of the Spit and back. The 13.1-mile run costs $25 and benefits the Homer Foundation. Runners get a bag of party favors and a T-shirt. Or, pedal, stroke and stride in the Homer Mariner Triathlon, which begins Saturday at 8 a.m., and includes a 1,000-yard swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a 5-mile run. Registration begins at 7 a.m. at the high school pool, and the event is a fund-raiser for the Homer Mariner swim team. Also, the Homer High School volleyball team will host its "Play Like Crazy" community volleyball tournament Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the Alice Witte Challenge, in which a team of Mariner alumni and others takes on the Homer varsity team. Call 235-4376 for more details.

Best Two If By Sea Bet: The Homer Chamber of Commerce will host its Seafair Safety Rodeo on Monday beginning at 1 p.m. with a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue demonstration and parade of locally made boats. Competitions will follow on the beach near the USCG Cutter Sedge, and include immersion-suit relays and damage-control trainer operations as well as an oyster-slurping contest, a fish-filleting contest and a line-heavingcontest. For more information, contact the Chamber at 235-7740.

BEST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SPORTS BET: While triathletes are immersing themselves in the water, immerse yourself in culture at the Native gathering Friday and Saturday. Sponsored in part by the Pratt Museum, state and federal agencies and local businesses, the two-day event boasts lectures and presentations as well as a Native kayak landing ceremony, a community potluck, Native skills demonstrations and an evening of Native dance and heritage. For more information, see the story on page 2 of this issue of the Homer News.

BEST BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW BET: Big-time musicians are moving through Homer of late, with Ani DeFranco playing a sold-out show last Tuesday and John Prine and Iris Dement coming in October. Tickets are being sold at the Homer Bookstore, Solstice Music, Two Sisters and other locations, and cost $18 for general admission and $16 for Homer Council on the Arts members for Iris Dement, and $39 general, $36 for KBBI members for John Prine.

Best Show Your Support For a Non-Athletic Cause Bet: South Peninsula Women's Services will host an open-house of its new Lake Street Shelter from 4-8 p.m. on Friday. Construction was recently finished on the shelter, which has been under construction for the past year. It's the first women's shelter on the southern peninsula, and it's a great cause well worth checking out.