Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ski joring back in Bellevue this weekend

Horse, rider, skier and snow

Ski joring returns to Bellevue this weekend, offering a record $2,000 purse for the fastest, cleanest horse and skier team crossing the finish.

Spectators are welcome to the event to be held at 26 Townsend Gulch in Bellevue. Opening ceremonies begin at noon Saturday, March 3. That day's competition ends when the last team is done. On Sunday, March 4, racers will convene again and the winner is chosen from two-day combined scores.

How does it work?

A successful run means crossing the finish line of the more than 800-foot course with the skier having executed two to three jumps ranging from three to six feet high and grabbing three to nine rings. The rider must also grab a ring.

Points are deducted for missed or dropped rings and missed jumps. Speeds often reach 40 miles per hour. Parents of juniors can take a little comfort in knowing that the entrants at those age levels are not required to hit the jumps.

No one with a horse and rider, skis and skier and a desire will be denied for the price of entry, which starts at $25.

Sign-ups are available online by visiting the Wood River Extreme Ski Joring Web site at The site will also have information on snow conditions and any race cancellations. Or, call Tyler Peterson at 720-0329.

Peterson said, "If you want to try and haven't yet found a partner, call and we'll try and pair you up. A practice track will be available for those who would like to try their hand at the sport before committing."

This weekend's gate fee is $5 per person, families and picnics welcome. Or, sample the wares of local vendors on site. Kids under 10 are free. Pets on leashes with courteous (pooper-scooping) people are welcome.

Sign-ups are Friday, March 2 from 6-10 p.m. at the Muleshoe Saloon in Hailey. Saturday night, there will be a dance and auction at Silver Dollar Saloon in Bellevue starting at 7 p.m. Sunday's tally and awards event is at Mahoney's in Bellevue at 6 p.m.

This year's race benefits the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicap. Volunteers will be at the gates and cooking up afternoon burgers.

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