Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cowboys, skiers stir up the crowd


Where else would cowboys and ski racers become best of friends for a weekend? The American West version of skijoring places a horse and rider on a long ski course pulling a skier through slalom gates and over jumps, with a series of rings to grab and hang on to until the finish. The overall ride takes about 20 seconds with horse speeds approaching 40 mph. At the Old Cutters subdivision in Hailey on Saturday and Sunday, about 1,100 fans turned out for the annual Wood River Extreme Skijoring competition. Event organizer Tyler Peterson said he is pleased with how the competition unfolded: “All the elements were right and the crowd was so enthusiastic—even the horses knew all eyes were on them and they delivered. It’s just one of those affirming deals where seemingly opposing forces come together and learn more about each other through a sport they can share. The buzz and excitement in Hailey was just overwhelming that I can see a winter carnival in Hailey’s future.”

Whitefish, Mont., resident Scott Ping aboard Kona Coffee pulled Spokane, Wash., skier Cody Smith to a first-place finish in the Open Division. Forty-three teams competed in all the divisions. 

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