Huge Crowds, Big Jumps: Leadville Ski Joring 2015
“It was like being in the Super Bowl,” said Leadville native Ski Jorer Jason Dahl, referring to the energy the huge crowds were bringing to the 66th Annual Leadville Ski Joring (LSJ) competition held in Leadville on March 7 & 8.
“They wanted to take pictures with us and were cheering us on when we would take the ride back up to the start,” added Dahl.
Dubbed as Leadville’s Downtown Winter Celebration, Ski Joring weekend stands as a testament for this small mountain town’s ability to have fun . . . in the snow! And this year, it was to record crowds on historic Harrison Avenue.
“It was a fantastic weekend. Everything went as smooth as it could go,” said Ski Joring Organizer and Announcer Paul Copper. “The weather was absolutely fabulous, the crowd was superb.”
In all, there were 26 horse, 20 riders and 33 skiers who competed in three divisions: the Open, Sport and Legends. And while most would tell you they do it for the love of the sport, in the end it was horseman Tim McCarthy from New Mexico with horse Piper and Skier Dan Pierce who were crowned the Two-Day Lucky Champions for the 2015 Leadville Ski Joring event. They took top prize in the Sport Division on both days, also pushing them to the top prize money in the Calcutta! On Saturday, their winning time was 16:77, and they followed up on Sunday shaving off a few seconds, with a time of 16:36.
In the Legends Division, it was Veteran Ski Jorer Tony Fox, in tow by Jorge Calzadillas on horse Martine, crossing the finish at 17.96 in Saturday’s competition. On Sunday, it was Leadville native son Crag Schreiber for took top honors in the division with teammates Ryan Rivera and horse Twister with a time of 17:32.
The Open Division didn’t come with too many surprises, with Savannah McCarthy on Tank bringing skier Bruce Stott in at 15:14 in Saturday’s competition, earning them best time and a couple of coveted Leadville Ski Joring jackets. Then on Sunday, March 8 , father and son team, Jeff and Greg Dahl along with their horse Rocket took best time at 15.70. For complete race results: LINK.
But the competitors weren’t the only ones who came away with the prizes. Record crowds of spectators lined Harrison Ave to watch the thrills and chills, as well as pump some money into local businesses. A quick check with business owners, law enforcement and event organizers, tallied a BIG win for the event. The saloons were using words like “all-time record” business and even the retailers fared well, with one owner reporting he had to return to assist his employee because the place was so packed. The Leadville Lions Club reported a “sell-out” of hot dogs and brats on BOTH days of the event.
“Boy there were a lot of people in town. We haven’t seen Ski Joring crowds like that in a while,” said Leadville Lion John Cirullo.
In addition to the competition, the newly renovated Tabor Grand Hotel Apartments hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 7, in front of a lively crowd on the corner of W. 7th and Harrison Avenue. The building has undergone a $9 historic renovation over the last year, under the directive of new owners the Overland Property Group and Neenan Construction. FULL STORY.
“Wow, what a fun event! It was so exciting to be part of something like ski joring!” stated Matt Gillam, Overland’s Vice President of Development. “Our team had a blast! We’re looking forward to bringing our friends and families with us next year.”
Leadville Ski Joring captured some good media coverage for the event – and Leadville – with race highlights airing on KDVR-TV Fox 31 news out of Denver, as well as a fun and informative KUNC, Public Radio in Greeley interview, including a cool Go-Pro video, and the Fast Forward Film company out of Durango who is producing a documentary about the Ski Joring circuit, just to name a few media outlets in attendance.
This year, an added effort to promote the event through social media platforms was made, with a solid return on the investment, allowing Ski Joring fans and attendees to interact in real time on the Leadville Ski Joring Facebook page. Readers may check out more photos and video there.
That’s a wraps for another successful Leadville Ski Joring event – see you next year! UNtil then. Happy Trails!
“Break a Leg, Dr. Suess!” is what some actors might say at tonight’s Opening Night of Seussical, the musical. Starting with tonight’s 7:30 p.m. performance, the musical will present four shows by the Lake County High School Choral and Theatre troupe. The shows are March 13, 14, and 20 at 7:30 p.m., with the final performance on March 21 as a matinee performance at 2 p.m.
Tickets $6 (Children, Students, Seniors) and $10 for Adults available at LINK or call 719-486-6888 x2019.