No snow? No problem – Sundance Winter Festival brings community together
By Sarah Pridgeon
Flurries of ice, peals of laughter and skids across the snow; the second Sundance Winter Festival hit the streets over the weekend. When the ski joring runs came breathtakingly close and bar stool racers raced headlong down the slope, it was all to the immense enjoyment of the crowd.
Some doubted in the dry days before the festival that there would be enough snow available to build the course. Thanks to a small army of volunteers, however, truckloads began steadily flowing onto Main Street on Thursday afternoon.
“We had a lot of active, good people running and finding it,” laughs Reggie Gaylord, event organizer.
“There was a lot more up there in the canyon area than we thought.”
A total of 307 loads of snow were brought into Sundance, including 60 that the city employees had collected through plowing the roads around town. Gaylord credits volunteer help with the success of the festival, which saw hundreds line the streets to watch the events and enjoy the winter refreshments.
“It was amazing – but it would be wrong to expect much else,” Gaylord smiles.
The ski joring event saw good participation, with a total of 27 teams entering the open division in the afternoon. The bar stool racing also attracted plenty of attention as the crowd gathered to watch caped crusaders, turkeys and cartoon characters slide down the slope to the finish line.
First place in the bar stool event was taken by the Sundance Hardware Renegades, with Welchie Patterson riding the stool. Leroy Anderson, otherwise known as “Flashboy”, took second and Mason Kaiser, “Mason the Maniac”, came in third.
Zach Steele and Mac Erickson won the Young Guns division of the ski joring event with a time of 14:80. Second place went to Jay Pixley and Mac Erickson and third place to Colter Ellsbury and Jeff Stull.
In the Girly Guns division, Sarah Barton and Callie Hilty took first place with a time of 20:32, followed by Jay Pixley and Shannon Gaylord in second place and Taylor Reinecke and Maiah Eiesland in third place.
The winners of the Classic Guns division were Warren Daily and Kyle Smith with a time of 14:99. Sarah Barton and Will Buckman came in second and Nick McDonald and Kyle Smith took third.
In the open division, Warren Daily and Kyle Smith came in first with a time of 14:14. Runners up were Sarah Barton and Will Buckman, followed by Jesse Carlson and Kyle Smith.
Up at the Reuters trailhead, meanwhile, the Nordic ski race saw Brian Stampe of Spearfish take first place in the men’s category with a time of 56:53 and KJ Ehlers of South Dakota win for the ladies, finishing at 1:02:03. Third to eighth places were taken respectively by Wyatt Hansen of Spearfish, Bob Vosler of Spearfish, Heidi Stutzman of Sundance, Paul Plourde of Gillette, Steve Vosler of Spearfish and TJ Schrall of Sundance.
The ski race formed one part of the Snow Jam Series, a point race that takes place throughout the Black Hills.
The snowshoe race was won by Lisa Gustin of Rapid City with a time of 42:39. The remaining placers, starting with second, were Krista Birkelo of South Dakota, Gary Haven of Ra
pid City, Ann Marie Mickle of Sundance and Sonja Bruce of Gillette.