This spring marks the passing of DC Cox, the former director of NASTAR at Devil's Head Lodge in Merrimac, Wisconsin. DC Cox took over the Devil's Head NASTAR program in the winter of 1976/77 when the original director and pacesetter Mark Staples did not return for the second season. DC immediately expanded the schedule to a 7 days, 6 nights a week, and was a tireless promoter of NASTAR. Under his supervision race banners were hung early in the morning to catch the attention of the incoming crowd, and the PA system blared with rock tunes such as Steve Miller's 'Fly Like an Eagle' intermixed with the announcer informing everyone that they could race against such great pro skiers as Hank Kashiwa and Henri Duvillard. DC incorporated the 'beat the pacesetter, get your money back' promotion that sucked in more than one young testosterone driven challenger, and worked out a deal that gave every registered guest of the Devil's Head Lodge, free entry into the NASTAR race of their choice during their stay. One year, the results of his efforts handed Devil's Head Lodge the National title for most racers runs through a NASTAR course, beating out Vail, Colorado.
In addition to his promotion and organizational skills, DC was gifted in electronics and pioneered computer timing and registration in NASTAR. His original electronic timing system consisted of an Atari home computer and monitor. He had hacked into the machine's code and utilized the joy stick port for the start wand and finish eye inputs and he put the elapsed time on a monochrome CRT display. He then networked an IBM PC from the registration desk in the lodge to his Atari timer in the finish building and the days of running paper registration forms from the lodge to the timing shack were over.
Everyone that knew DC and had traveled with him had a 'DC' story. An overnight trip with DC was simply living the movie 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles'. If DC got in the shower first, the towels were all on the floor wet, and he would then plop down on the nearest bed and snore so loud the windows rattled. But he was the proverbial person that would give you the shirt off his back, and would back you up no matter what kind of trouble you managed to get yourself into. Guys like that just don't come along very often. I am just glad I met him (and glad he had my back in the Vail, CO duirng the Garten's Saloon bar brawl).
Outside of skiing here is what I knew about DC: DC was one part Einstein, one part ski racer, one part "Dukes of Hazard and one part PT Barnum.
1) He was a US marine in the Vietnam war and was a demolitions expert. He once quipped "you can't believe how fast you can run when you have 90 lbs. of dynamite on your back and people are shooting at you.
2) He was an alternate for the US Marines Judo demo team
3) Graduated from the UW Madison with a degree in physics following Vietnam
4) He started and ran a company called 'Precision Blasting'
5) He formed a company in the 1980's called Resonance Research, building high voltage educational equipment for museums.
6) He was an expert billiards player, the best I have ever seen
7) He was a competent rock drummer
8) He held a twin engine aircraft pilots license
9) He drove a Kawasaki KZ 900 motorcycle without a license plate and outran the police on many occasions............
10) He dated a lot but never married
11) You were safer riding in a car with him driving at 120mph than you are with an average driver at 40 mph
12) He lived in a trailer...I once asked him, "why do you live like this, you have piles of money"? He said 'if I lived like this in Vietnam, I'd be a king"
Frank (F Bomb) Ransley