Horses and hard pack

(Jeff Moberg photos) A new event this year, the Wild Tube Ride provided entertainment during intermissions in the Ski-joring competition.
(Jeff Moberg photos) A new event this year, the Wild Tube Ride provided entertainment during intermissions in the Ski-joring competition.

Crowd grows for third annual Winter Festival

By Sarah Pridgeon

Jeramiah Johnson heads toward the finish line in an unconventional stance during Saturday’s open division race.
Jeramiah Johnson heads toward the finish line in an unconventional stance during Saturday’s open division race.

The crowds grew once again this year for Sundance’s popular winter festival as Main Street bustled from top to bottom with spectators and competitors alike. Once again, all eyes were on the ski joring teams and bar stool racers, though this year saw the launch of a new event that added an extra dash of levity.

During the tubing challenge, participants swapped their skis for inner tubes and bounced along the course behind a horse.

“It was fun and a good addition. I think people really enjoyed it and I think the contestants enjoyed it as well,” says Andy Miller, Sundance Chamber of Commerce.

Plenty of snow piles were available to build courses for the ski joring and bar stool races, as well as the sledding hill for younger visitors, with an estimated 300 truckloads spread across Main Street. On the other hand, the balmy weather on the day was certainly not unwelcome.

“It brought a lot of people to town who otherwise wouldn’t have been here. There were people from neighboring states and cities and a lot of people who have moved away from Sundance who came back to visit. It was neat to see that many people gathering downtown,” says Miller.

“I think everybody was really pleased with the event. Of course, it was an

Welchie Patterson takes a spill during the barstool races.
Welchie Patterson takes a spill during the barstool races.

other beautiful day – if we could order that up every year, it would be perfect. The kids were having a great time, the restaurants and bars and different vendors around seemed to have pretty steady lines throughout the day.”

Estimates suggest the crowd was in the thousands, but exactly how much the event grew this year is difficult to determine because the event is free to spectators.

“We don’t have any attendance fees or anything like that, so it’s tough to keep track, but you could certainly see that Main Street was packed. We added a little more room out front on the sidewalks and that was a good thing because it was filled up,” says Miller.

Mayor Paul Brooks adds that the initial number was thought to be somewhere between 1500 and 2000, while people on the street tried “sheep counting” the crowd and came up with an estimated 3000. As a lot of people came for a few hours rather than the whole day, he notes, the tally could be higher even than that.

One or two participants met with sticky ends, but Miller reassures that no lasting harm was done.

“There were certainly some bumps and bruises and maybe an x-ray or two,

Jay Pixley takes a break from Saturday’s activity to patronize a local business.
Jay Pixley takes a break from Saturday’s activity to patronize a local business.

but I think everybody as a whole came out ok,” he says.

As the Sundance Winter Festival increases in popularity, Miller says there is work to be done to make sure it continues to be a success.

“There are always things we take away. I think next year, if we can get speakers down farther on the course so that everyone can hear what’s going on,” he says.

“As the crowd grows, we’ve just got to expand and make sure everybody is included. Little things like that we’re certainly taking note of so that we can improve.”

The Sundance Winter Festival is funded mostly through the Chamber of Commerce with contributions from donors throughout the city, says Brooks. The City of Sundance also lends a hand to ensure the event runs smoothly.

“The city contributes, but not a whole lot. We put in some man hours and we put in some truck time, but not a great deal – it’s a fairly low cost,” he says.

Sundance State Bank pays the gas to haul the snow back and forth and city staff donate their time on the day of the event. As far as the mayor is concerned, he says, it’s a small price to pay for the impression visitors are given of the area.

“It all goes back to what I’ve said since the very beginning. People are so mobile

Amber West of Hereford, SD grabs a ring as she pulls Tony Barton through the course.
Amber West of Hereford, SD grabs a ring as she pulls Tony Barton through the course.

these days that, if you want to have folks in your town, you have to have a really nice town,” he says.

“They’re interviewing the town as to whether they would ever live here and, because of that, I feel we have a really short envelope of town to impress them.”

Meanwhile, he says, he has heard from all kinds of businesses in town that they had a great weekend of sales – a particularly positive outcome in the middle of the slow winter season. It’s thanks to the volunteers, Brooks says, that this could happen.

“They didn’t just come with their bodies to volunteer. They brought their trucks, they brought their loaders, they brought their blades,” he says. “When you look at the contribution of some of them, the city played a very small role.”

Miller also extends a heartfelt thank you to the many volunteers who make the event possible each year. From Thursday afternoon through till Sunday, members of the community were out in force to build the course and then demolish it.

“I was out Sunday morning, but I certainly wasn’t the first one,” he says, listing local businesses and citizens who were out in force to return the street to its usual cleanliness.

“After everyone has fun, there’s still work to be done and I just can’t say enough about those guys that they came out early Sunday after a long day. It would be very hard to do it without those volunteers – they went above and beyond again.”

Hayden Johnston, representing Sundance State Bank, was the winner of the bar stool racing event. The winner of the snow sculpture contest was Zack Fross, with Rusty Speidel taking the runner-up prize.

Matt Dalin and Hayden Johnston face off in the barstool race final.
Matt Dalin and Hayden Johnston face off in the barstool race final.

Skijoring – Boarder Guns Division

Rider

 

Skier

 

Long Round
Time

 

Short Round Time

 

Place

 

Nick McDonald

 

Mike Aberle

 

N/T

 

19.37

 

2nd

 

Jeff Stull

 

Sean Dorson

 

N/T

 

17.71

 

1st

 

 

 

Skijoring – Girly Guns Division

Rider

 

Skier

 

Long Round
Time

 

Short Round Time

 

Place

 

Jay Pixley

 

Shannon Gaylord

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Taylor Reinecke

 

Maiah Eiesland

 

17.53

 

19.15

 

1st

 

Shaun Moeller

 

Shannon Gaylord

 

19.3

 

21.14

 

2nd

 

Josh Jacobsen

 

Marie Cartwright

 

22.75

 

 

 

 

 

Resann Pixely

 

Shannon Gaylord

 

20.02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skijoring – Classic Guns Division

(ages 35 and up)

Rider

 

Skier

 

Long Round
Time

 

Short Round Time

 

Place

 

Jess Manger

 

Dave Schrall

 

18.26

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Stull

 

Justin Johnson

 

16.12

 

18.06

 

 

 

Amy Goodson

 

Josh Kammerer

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Barton

 

Tony Barton

 

15.19

 

13.66

 

2nd

 

Jay Pixley

 

Josh Kammerer

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Goodson

 

Dave Schrall

 

17.64

 

17.36

 

 

 

Rhett Wilson

 

Kevin Wilson

 

18.49

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Moeller

 

Josh Kammerer

 

17.79

 

 

 

 

 

JJ Ewing

 

Jeramiah Johnson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Nick McDonald

 

Kyle Smith

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Zach West

 

Kyle Smith

 

13.56

 

13.25

 

1st

 

Jeff Stull

 

Tony Barton

 

14.9

 

14.18

 

3rd

 

Warren Daily

 

Kyle Smith

 

19.89

 

 

 

 

 

Amber West

 

Jessy Biggins

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Will Ellsbury

 

Dave Schrall

 

16.38

 

N/T

 

 

 

Jess Manger

 

Dusten Ell

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skijoring – Young Guns Division

(ages 18-34)

Rider

 

Skier

 

Long Round
Time

 

Short Round Time

 

Place

 

Taylor  Reinecke

 

Mariah Eisland

 

18.22

 

 

 

 

 

Zach Steele

 

Mac Erickson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Pixley

 

Reggie Gaylord

 

19.24

 

 

 

 

 

Brianna Martin

 

Barry Martin

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Will Ellsbury

 

Drew Diedrich

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Daily

 

Jeff Stull

 

14.62

 

12.81

 

3rd

 

Jay Pixley

 

Mac Erickson

 

16.95

 

14.78

 

 

 

Sarah Barton

 

Robert Ayers

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Rhett Flint

 

Joel Wilson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Moeller

 

Reggie Gaylord

 

15.41

 

N/T

 

 

 

Barry Martin

 

Brianna Martin

 

18.67

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Jacobsen

 

Marie Cartwright

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Daily

 

Mac Erickson

 

14.23

 

13.08

 

2nd

 

Nick McDonald

 

Jeff Stull

 

14.16

 

12.66

 

1st

 

Reo Lohse

 

Joel Wilson

 

15.28

 

13.86

 

 

 

Zach Steele

 

Reggie Gaylord

 

21.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skijoring – Open Division

Rider

 

Skier

 

Long
Round
Time

 

Short Round Time

 

Place

 

Zach West

 

Justin Johnson

 

23.48

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Pixley

 

Kevin Wilson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Moeller

 

Josh Kammerer

 

16.25

 

18.11

 

 

 

Warren Daily

 

Kyle Smith

 

15.79

 

16.67

 

 

 

Sarah Barton

 

Tony Barton

 

19.00

 

 

 

 

 

Rhett Flint

 

Joel Wilson

 

15.00

 

N/T

 

 

 

Jess Manger

 

Dave Schrall

 

19.87

 

 

 

 

 

JJ Ewing

 

Jeramiah Johnson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Pixley

 

Mac Erickson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff Stull

 

Josh Kammerer

 

14.14

 

20.08

 

 

 

Zach Steele

 

Reggie Gaylord

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Amber West

 

Tony Barton

 

14.56

 

17.36

 

 

 

Rhett Flint

 

Kevin Wilson

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Jess Manger

 

Dusten Ell

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Goodson

 

Dave Schrall

 

15.88

 

N/T

 

 

 

Reo Lohse

 

Joel Wilson

 

15.06

 

N/T

 

 

 

Shaun Moeller

 

Reggie Gaylord

 

18.94

 

23.18

 

 

 

Josh Jacobsen

 

Barry Martin

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Zach West

 

Kyle Smith

 

19.16

 

 

 

 

 

Zach Steele

 

Jeff Stull

 

13.39

 

14.10

 

2nd

 

Amy Goodson

 

Josh Kammerer

 

15.24

 

19.68

 

 

 

Jay Pixley

 

Joel Wilson

 

16.12

 

13.756

 

 

 

Reo Lohse

 

Kevin Wilson

 

24.76

 

 

 

 

 

Amber West

 

Reggie Gaylord

 

N/T

 

 

 

 

 

Will Ellsbury

 

Dave Schrall

 

17.09

 

N/T

 

 

 

Nick McDonald

 

Kyle Smith

 

14.29

 

13.34

 

3rd

 

Warren Daily

 

Jeff Stull

 

13.04

 

13.07

 

1st

 

Zach Steele

 

Tony Barton

 

14.66

 

13.759

 

4th

 

 

 

Bar Stool Races

Teams

 

Rider

 

Place

 

Perkins Bar

 

Mason Kaiser

 

 

 

Main St Minor

 

Dalton and John

 

 

 

Sundance State Bank

 

Hayden and Forest

 

1st

 

The Wall

 

Welchie and Travis

 

 

 

Mayor Paul

 

Paul Brooks

 

 

 

Red Rocket

 

Tyler

 

3rd

 

Gravity Clock

 

Matt and Castro

 

 

 

FlashBoy

 

Leroy and Steve

 

 

 

Dennis Keith

 

 

 

 

 

Bearly Good

 

Matt Dalin

 

2nd