A fresh start for community backed Peaman races

  • The 380th event of Frozen Pea Productions, the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon, took place at Kailua Pier on Sunday. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • The 380th event of Frozen Pea Productions, the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon, took place at Kailua Pier on Sunday. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • The 380th event of Frozen Pea Productions, the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon, took place at Kailua Pier on Sunday. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • The 380th event of Frozen Pea Productions, the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon, took place at Kailua Pier on Sunday. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • The 380th event of Frozen Pea Productions, the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon, took place at Kailua Pier on Sunday. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)
  • Sean "Peaman" Pagett gives instructions at Sunday's Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon at Kailua Pier. (Rick Winters/West Hawaii Today)

To say the 2017 season has been a roller coaster year for Frozen Pea Productions would be an understatement. Sean “Peaman” Pagett has run the gauntlet of emotions this season from annoyed, angry and hurt to relieved, happy and loved.

Nearly one year ago, Peaman received a citation from the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement for holding the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon at Kailua Pier. The citation was an unwanted gift on Christmas Day of 2016 for a man who has brought nothing by joy and good tidings to the community through his free, monthly races.

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The citation led to a fine of $10,000, which was eventually dismissed thanks to Peaman’s lawyer Jason Braswell, who negotiated an agreement that the proper permits would be attained to hold future events.

However, these permits were expensive, and with a heavy heart, Peaman was forced to announce on Oct. 25, through social media, that all future events would be cancelled.

Then came the cavalry in the form of former mayor Billy Kenoi, who took care of the permits and logistics of the races, allowing Frozen Pea Productions to hold its events again starting in November.

“It was definitely an up and down year emotionally,” Peaman said. “These events have been a part of my life since I was in my 20’s so the thought of losing it, or it not being around anymore, it was tough to deal with.”

Everything came full circle on Sunday with the Doc Ferren Hall of Fame Biathlon taking place at the pier once again. This time there was no citation. The event went on without a hitch, as athletes young and old took part in the half mile swim and 3.9 mile run.

“It feels outstanding, like starting a new year with a clean slate,” said Peaman, who hosted his 380th race. “This is a community event, put on by the community for the community, and its the community support this year that kept us going when we were battling in court.”

Sheryl Cobb, who has been apart of the Peaman races for over 20 years, had no problem showing her dissatisfaction with the situation that took place over the past year.

“The citation was a joke,” Cobb said. “This community is trying to be a Blue Zones Project so how can you shut down a free event that is community driven and promotes a healthy lifestyle? I am glad to see it is still going.”

For Kristi Van Pernis, the event has a special meaning, having known Peaman since he was eight years old. She also knew his mother and father.

“He has handled this all so well and I am happy to see the permit issues have worked out,” Van Pernis said. “This event is a tremendous asset to the community. It is something people look forward to and something the entire family can do together.”

With no outside interference at this year’s December biathlon, the race was able to focus on what it should have been able to focus on last year, and that is honoring Dr. Frank Ferren, who passed away in June.

Known as the “Iron Doc”, Ferren had an impressive athletic career that spanned over five decades. He competed in the Ironman World Championship 19 times and the Ultraman World Championship twice. He also paddled in two Molokai Hoe canoe races.

“Frank was my doctor since I was a little kid, as well as my mentor because to his endurance, determination and drive,” Peaman said. “When I was having all my health problems, he never gave up on me and always found a way for me to stay active.”

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Competing his is very first Peaman race on Sunday was Dr. Jacob Head, who came out to honor Dr. Ferren.

“This is a special race,” said an emotional Dr. Head. ”Dr. Ferren was an inspiration. He was a good guy, who gave his time and cared for the community. He didn’t just sit around and let life go by. He enjoyed it. “