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shot_put_ring.JPGSurely more than a few angry citizens, and maybe even the occasional frustrated legislator, have wanted to throw something heavy at the state Capitol over the years. Now 37 world-class athletes will have the chance.

The west lawn of the Capitol plays host to the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships' opening shot put event today, where competitors will hurl the eight- and 16-pound balls from a raised shot circle toward the dome.

No worries, they'll fall well short hitting it. The event's shorter throws, which top out at about 75 feet, allow the event to be held in confined spaces – like an annual meet in Zurich that stages shot put in the city's train station.

"You couldn't be throwing the discus at the Capitol," said Bob Burns of the Sacramento Sports Commission, which organized the championship. "That wouldn't go well."

The free event, which also features a beer tent and other vendors, begins at 10 a.m. with the women's qualifying round. The men's qualifier follows at 11:30 a.m., then the top twelve athletes will advance to the finals, at 4:30 p.m. for the women and 6:15 p.m. for the men.

State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, a former shot putter at Fresno State, will kick off the festivities by putting the ceremonial first shot.

VIDEO: The controversial high-speed rail project presents an opening for Neel Kashkari in the governor's race, Dan Walters says.

JERRY IN CHARGE: Despite maneuvering a top-two finish in the June primary, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari remains largely unknown to voters, according to the latest Field Poll. He could struggle to mount a serious challenge in the November runoff, even as Gov. Jerry Brown's popularity slips, David Siders reports. You can read more in his story.

Here are the statistical tabulations, prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, as well as the publicly released results from the poll.

RUBBER SOUL: He got a ban on barehanded contact with ready-to-eat foods passed last year, but now he's had a change of heart. Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, makes a final push for a bill that would repeal the law, which effectively requires chefs to wear rubber gloves, 11:15 a.m. at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. on S Street. Pan is pushing the Senate to vote on the bill on Thursday, so that the governor could sign it before the ban takes full effect on July 1.

BIO-NIC GOVERNOR: After signing the budget there last Friday, Brown is headed back to San Diego to speak at the 2014 BIO International Convention, a conference for the biotechnology industry. He is scheduled to deliver his remarks at noon at the San Diego Convention Center – the same time as a keynote speech from former First Lady Hillary Clinton, which could present a hard choice for attendees.

FOR THE VETS: Lawmakers will honor veterans from their districts during the 7th annual Veterans of the Year luncheon, noon at the Sacramento Convention Center. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Assembly members Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, and Rocky Chávez, R-Oceanside, are slated to speak at the event, which is sponsored by the Assembly.

PHOTO: Construction workers put the finishing touches on a concrete shot put ring on the west side of the state Capitol on June 19, 2014. The ring will be used on opening day of the USA Track and Field Championships. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench


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