ST. GEORGE – Adding another chapter to an already extensive and noteworthy athletic career, former Dixie Rebels player Dallas Irvin, 26, is on track to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in the sport of bobsled.
Irvin excelled at football, basketball and track and was named “Male Athlete of the Year” and All-State in 2004-05 while attending Dixie High School.
In college, the 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound running back helped carry the Red Storm to victory at the 2005 Dixie Rotary Bowl. Irvin played for the semi-pro football team based in St. George, the Dixie Rebels, in the 2011 season, setting rushing and scoring records. The team was undefeated and won the Rocky Mountain Football League Championship.
Irvin also started a family that year, marrying his wife, Angelee, and becoming a stepfather to her three children. They have been his “rock” of support though his whirlwind career change, he said.
To the ice
Irvin’s introduction to bobsled in the winter of 2012 happened purely by chance. While in Salt Lake City intending to try out for the professional arena football team Utah Blaze, a friend suggested that his size and speed were well-suited for bobsledding. Driver Jay Noller was looking for a new push athlete for his team, and Irvin decided to give it a go. He was addicted his first run, he said.
“It’s the most incredible ride I’ve ever been on,” he said. “It’s such a rush.”
Offered a spot on Team USA, Irvin knew that if he accepted, he would have to move closer to the Utah Olympic Park training facility in Park City. With his family’s encouragement, they made the commitment and three days later, left St. George for Salt Lake City.
In just a week, he was training for his first competition, part of the North American Cup circuit at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, Alberta.
“I’m really comfortable with him on the brakes and pushing me,” Team USA bobsled pilot Colin Coughlin said. “It’s comforting knowing that you have a great athlete and a smart athlete behind you. He has both of those characteristics.”
At their most recent event on the Europa Cup circuit, held in January at tracks in Switzerland and Austria, Team USA raced against over 60 competitors from around the world, many of whom are now at the 2014 Winter Olympics. With driver Codie Bascue, Irvin pushed the two-man sled to a 16th place finish. The four-man team of Irvin, Bascue, Kevin Ives and Michael McCarty took 19th overall.
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Though he didn’t qualify for Sochi, Irvin has set his sights on representing Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That will mean even more hard work, and many sacrifices for both him and his family.
“When you’re at this level, you have to make it your career,” he said. “There’s a lot of training and a lot of time on the track. I’m gone almost every week during season, from October to March.”
Training doesn’t stop in the off-season. He strives to stay in peak physical condition – less than 6 percent body fat – through speed training at the Utah Olympic Park and daily gym workouts with emphasis on leg strengthening, cardio and stretching. A highly restrictive diet is one of the most difficult aspects of his routine, he said.
Through the challenges, both mental and physical, and growing pressure, Irvin’s love for the sport keeps him dedicated.
Supporting the dream
Unlike most professional athletes, Olympic hopefuls don’t earn salaries, and opportunities for a stipend from the U.S. Olympic Committee are few and far between. Training, equipment, travel, insurance and other expenses associated with their sport, often costing more than $100,000 per year, must be paid for by family, friends or sponsors. With a full-time job but no income to show for it, many talented athletes are never able to realize their dream of competing on the world stage.
“Financially, it’s very tough,” Irvin said. “It’s an honor to represent the U.S., but at the same time, it’s very stressful.”
Nearly all of his backing comes from his family, and every contribution helps. Anyone interested in supporting Irvin and his teammates can do so online atwww.dallasirvin.com or by mail to:Utah Skeleton and Bobsled Association P.O. Box 901566 Sandy, UT 84090
All donations are tax-deductible.
Balancing precision and power
Bobsleds roar down a winding, nearly one-mile-long track of pure ice in less than a minute, often exceeding 85 miles per hour. Focus is key in a sport measured by hundredths of seconds; the slightest of miscalculations can doom a run.
“It’s not all about strength and speed,” Irvin said. “There’s a lot of technique as well.”
Two-man teams consist of the pilot, who controls the sled’s trajectory with miniscule steering adjustments, and the brakeman, who generates most of the starting speed, adds weight to the sled and brings it to a stop once they cross the finish line. Four-man teams have two extra crewmen who help push and weigh down the sled.
The ideal bobsled athlete is as powerful as he is fast, able to accelerate a vehicle weighing more than 400 pounds off the starting blocks and on a winning course in five crucial seconds. Many are former football or track competitors, including most of the U.S. team at Sochi.
“The goal is to build the best momentum possible into the first turn,” Coughlin said. “If the driver can keep it straight, that momentum will carry down the track and keep building to the finish.”
This weekend in Sochi
The four-man bobsled competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics will be broadcast this weekend on the NBC networks. Click here for details.
January 13, 2014
Bascue lead U.S. team in Igls European Cup
IGLS, Austria (Jan. 13, 2014)- Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) packed up after the holiday break and headed overseas to gain valuable experience and pick up additional points on the European Cup circuit. Athletes competed in a series of double races from Jan. 8-12 on the 1976 Olympic track.
Driver Codie Bascue teamed with Michael McCarty (Hudson, Ohio) for 27th place and Dallas Irvin (Salt Lake City, Utah) for 16th place finishes, respectively, in the men's two-man bobsled races. Bascue took some risks in the first run and missed the cutoff for the final heat after clocking the 27th fastest time of 53.82 seconds in the first race.
"These results aren't exactly what I had hoped for going into the European Cup," Bascue said. "There were a few bumps in the road during the week and some risky decisions made before the first two-man race, but we got through it and all of the push athletes pushed their hearts out."
Bascue teamed with Irvin the next day to better his performance by 11 spots with a 16th place finish after clocking a total time of 1:46.88.
Bascue, Irvin, MkCarty and Dollens combined efforts to finish 19th in both four-man bobsled races. The crew was in 21st after a first run of 52.61 seconds and did not qualify for a second heat, but he moved into 19th after one team crashed and another pulled out of the final. Bascue stepped it up in the second four-man bobsled race, piecing together two runs of 52.64 and 52.82 seconds for a combined time of 1:45.46 to earn 19th.
The European Cup continues with bobsled and skeleton races on the natural ice track in St. Moritz, Switzerland from Jan. 16-19.
"I am looking forward to improving this week in St. Moritz," Bascue said. "I'm extremely excited to see what the end of the season brings and believe we can turn some heads within the next few weeks."
Men's two-man bobsled race #1:
1. Albrecht Klammer and Christian Schmacht (GER) 1:45.63 (52.69, 52.94); 2. Oskars Kibermanis and Vairis Leiboms (LAT) 1:45.64 (52.82, 52.82); 3. Nico Walther and Candy Bauer (GER) 1:45.87 (52.85, 53.02);...27. Codie Bascue and Michael McCarty (USA) (53.82, DNS);
Men's two-man bobsled race #2:
1. Benjamin Schmid and Matthias Kagerhuber (GER) 1:45.70 (52.70, 53.00); 2. Benjamin Maier and Markus Sammer (AUT) 1:45.72 (52.65, 53.07); 3. Nico Walther and Tino Paasche (GER) 1:45.93 (52.81, 53.12);...16. Codie Bascue and Dallas Irvin (USA) 1:46.88 (53.33, 53.55);
Men's four-man bobsled race #1:
1. Zakharov, Huzin, Moiseev and Khrenkov (RUS) 1:43.82 (51.77, 52.05); 2. Schmid, Heinemann, Kagerhuber and Bogdaschin (GER) 1:44.09 (51.87, 52.22); 3. Klammer, Knotzsch, Jaques and Kunze (GER) 1:44.12 (51.97, 52.15);...19. Bascue, Irvin, Dollens and McCarty (USA) (52.61, DNS);
Men's four-man bobsled race #2:
1. Schmid, Heinemann, Kagerhuber and Bogdaschin (GER) 1:43.93 (51.87, 52.06); 2. Maier, Withalm, Sammer and Somov (AUT) 1:44.08 (51.97, 52.11); 2. Andrianov, Utkin, Chubakov and Zaitsev (RUS) 1:44.08 (52.02, 52.06);...19. Bascue, Irvin, Dollens and McCarty (USA) 1:45.46 (52.64, 52.82);
ST. GEORGE - The Dixie Rebels have won the Rocky Mountain Football League Championship for the past two years.
Heading into their final regular season game, the Rebels (7-1) trailed the Utah Shock (6-1) by a half game.
What did they do to catch up? They ran.
Actually, both teams put up monster rushing games, but a fourth down stop gave the Rebels a 26-20 win and the No. 1 seed heading into the RMFL playoffs.
"You can't ask for a better game," said Rebels running back Dallas Irvin. "This was a huge win; we could have dropped down to third or fourth, so it's a big win and a big boost for our confidence."
The Rebels defensive forced a safety that helped to propel their offense after a pair of fruitless drives.
Quarterback Diarra Fields connected with Kyle Coop for a 29-yard, diving catch. Dallas Irvin followed that up with a nine-yard run. And a few plays later Irvin put the Rebels up 9-0 on his first receiving touchdown.
"Everybody blocked really well. I got open a couple of times and they trust me with the ball," said Irvin. "I just had fun and that's what it's all about."
Irvin carried the ball 11 times for 68 yards. He also had 18 yards receiving, with (2) identical nine-yard touchdowns.
The Shock closed the half with their second field goal of the night to draw to 16-6. That effort seemed to carry over as the opened the second half with a 44-yard kick return. Running on emotion, the Shock suckered the Rebels into giving up costly penalties. The Shock closed their opening drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass.
The Rebels answered quickly with a good mix of run and pass. Again Fields hit Irvin with a TD strike.
The Rebels' defense stayed consistent after forcing a safety early in the first. Steve Pulver, kicker and defensive back, caught an interception, returning it for 26 yards in the first half. In the second half, Chas Ryan had a highlight hit on Shock wide receiver Colby Cook. The blow sent the ball into the air and into linebacker Misi Tupe's hands for another turnover.
"We have a lot of talent on defense. We can make plays from all areas," said Ryan.
After squandering a sizeable lead the Rebels found themselves up by six with less than a minute. Ryan came up big again on a third-and-two at the Rebels 31 yard line.
"My responsibility is to read the number 2 receiver. I saw him start to bobble so, I broke on it. Luckily they threw that pass and I was there."
With no other choice, the Shock attempted to go for it on fourth down. The Rebels defense came up with another big stop, this time against the ever-elusive Shock quarterback Jordan Kjar. The fourth down stop cemented the win and home cooking for the Rebels in the upcoming playoffs.
After two weeks of byes, the Rebels will resume play in the RMFL Semifinals on June 23.
May 6, 2012
Dallas's 2nd game playing with the rebels this season.
ST. GEORGE - With their starting quarterback on the sidelines for the entire second half after suffering an ankle injury, the Dixie Rebels didn't miss a beat.
The reason: they had their defense and Dallas Irvin as quality backups.
Irvin ran for one touchdown and caught a 38-yard pass from reserve quarterback A.J. Martinez for another score, and the Rebels converted three turnovers into scores as they cruised to a 47-14 rout over the Rocky Mountain Mudd Ducks on Saturday night at Walt Brooks Stadium.
"That's what it's all about. When someone makes a mistake, turn it into an opportunity," Rebels coach Dan Odette said of the team's effort that helped them improve to 4-1 on the season. "We had some guys banged up, but hopefully they can recover for next week."
Fields was the most noticeable absence, having missed the second half on account of a bum ankle, but the Rebels used four second-quarter touchdowns to build a 35-0 halftime lead.
Before his injury, Fields fired two touchdown passes to Andy Stokes; a 10-yarder late in the first quarter that got the scoring started, and a 45-yarder early in the second quarter to Desert Hills grad Brennan Adams. Scoring runs from Stephan Cook (12 yards) and Irvin (18 yards) completed the second-quarter onslaught that made the margin comfortable for Martinez and the reserves in the second half.
"It's nice to have a guy like (Irvin) on your team, no question about it," Odette said. "A playmaker with speed and moves helps everyone play better, too."
The Mudd Ducks made their share of trips into the Rebels' end of the field, but mistakes proved costly. They were able to end any visions of a shutout when quarterback Hans Dolo hooked up with Selver Zalic on a 3-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.
But the Dixie defense wasn't about to let Rocky Mountain let the score translate into a comeback. After the Rebels recovered a fumble inside the Mudd Ducks' 10-yard line later in the quarter, Rocky Mountain made a goal-line stand of its own, denying Sione Tapuosi on a fourth-down run at the 2 to end the period.
On the first play of the fourth, though, the Rebels forced a fumble and returned it for a score that made it 41-6.
After Dolo threw his second touchdown pass of the night for the Mudd Ducks, an 18-yarder to Brandon Balser with 5:53 left, Irvin put his stamp on the night with his touchdown catch from Martinez on the next Rebels drive.
"We just tried to keep up our tempo the whole way," Irvin said. "You can get down on yourself sometimes, but we love the game. That's why we're here, and we're having fun.
"As long as we're having fun, that's when the tempo rises and big plays come."
Next week, the Rebels head to Pocatello, Idaho to play the Great Falls Gladiators.
May 1, 2012
Recap of Dallas's first week back playing receiver for the Dixie Rebels. Click here
April 15, 2012
Dallas Attended a workout for the Edmonton Eskimos on April 14, 2012 in Anaheim, CA. He was one of less than ten running backs and over sixty athletes. The tryout was well organized but Dallas quickly realized that the Esks were not on the hunt for a running back. It was obvious they were scouting for a wide receiver and being that there was about 40 wide receivers trying out he was not the center of attention.
When the head coaches timed Dallas in the 40 yard dash and saw his cone work times, they wanted to see more. They asked him if he had ever played any other positions and if he could play wide receiver. Dallas has a lot of experience and was ready to show them his value. Dallas's times on his cone work & drills were top notch which would excite any coach looking for a Reggie Bush style player that is versatile and can adjust in any situation bringing the team out on top.
The last workout for the athletes was receiver routes. Dallas hung with the best of them and by the end, 8 players were selected to stay and do more focused receiving routes for the coaches. Dallas was one of the 8 asked to stay. Wide receiver is a great position for a guy like Dallas because he is fast, knowledgeable and has lightning fast reaction speed. Esks would be smart to have a player like Dallas as an addition to their team.
April 1, 2012
Back to Back AAA Champions. First team to do that since the infamous Rhino-Raiders (although theirs was back-to-back-to-back-to-back…) and the Rebels don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. After an undefeated 2011 campaign the Rebels look towards the three-peat. On offense they return Mr. Daunte Culpepper himself in Diarre Fields (who should’ve been the unquestioned RMFL MVP last season). According to those in the know, Diarre is in his best shape to date this season and that equates to a lot of points…The Rebels do lose their two top WRs (Ence and Wardle) but maintain their “I need a first down NOW” man in Andy Stokes. Dallas Irvin took this league by storm last season (2011) and has left to pursue play in a league that pays a little more than the RMFL. How will the Rebels replace Irvin’s 1500 yards of offense and 15 TDs from last season??? Add the fact that they’re even bigger upfront on the offensive line and you quickly understand why this team is the clear and present #1. This offense may be so solid that they don’t even need to rely on a defense to keep teams at bay. The scariest fact is that no matter how great their offense may be…their defense is even better. With a healthy and mad Wayne Alofipo coming back fulltime and what is undeniably the scariest defensive front in the league, opposing offenses are already wondering how bad it would look just to take a knee for three plays and then punt. Misi Tupe will continue to make big plays in the secondary and Ricky Dias will keep all WRs on lockdown. I really don’t know if there is a weakness on this team. Let’s look at their special teams…oh yeah, they have the league’s #1 Kicker in Steve Pulver (who plays some solid cornerback as well). All these players alone would make them the team to beat but add in the fact that Coach Crowshaw is making his return as the Head Coach and you have a team that legitimizes the “semi-pro” status others strive towards. While I think the Rebels are far and away the best team in the RMFL, and that it will take A MAJOR upset for them not be holding the trophy at season end, I do have them losing one regular season game this year. I won’t divulge who it is against (let you all play that guessing game) but will say that it will most likely be non-material at seasons end.