DEADWOOD — It’s a little bit rodeo. It’s a little bit skiing. And it’s a lot of fun to watch, as horses whip skiers around the arena and spectators bite their nails, wondering where the hooves, hoops, and skis will all land.
Sound interesting? Then come out and support the Black Hills Ski Team as they host their second annual Skijoring event at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Days of ’76 Rodeo Grounds in Deadwood.
Ben Sayler, secretary of the Black Hills Ski Team board of directors, said the event was so fun last year, the organization decided to do it again, this time moving the event from a Thursday to Saturday to accommodate even more Skijoring action and spectators.
“We received lots of encouragement to do it again from participants, from spectators, and from people who were sorry to have missed it,” Sayler said. “One suggestion was to move it from mid-week to a weekend. Also, the course crew is looking to make the course a little longer this year and even more exciting.”
So that’s the plan and for those who haven’t had a chance to witness this highly unique and thrilling event, here’s what to expect.
“Skijoring is a mix between rodeo and alpine skiing,” said Sayler. “It’s a little like water-skiing too. A horse and rider pull a skier down a snow-covered track. The skier turns from side to side collecting rings and flying off jumps. Scoring is based on the time it takes the skier to navigate the course and the number of rings collected.”
Sound simple? Well, it definitely takes some talent.
Sayler explained how the competition works.
“A team consists of horse and rider and a skier,” Sayler said. “Each team gets one run where they’re paired the way they entered. Then everyone takes a second run where each skier is randomly paired with a horse and rider. Top times from those two runs qualify for third run. Prizes are awarded based on placement in the final run. Placement is based on speed and also on how many rings the skier was able to collect. There will be cash prizes and lots of other give-aways.”
And it’s not too late to enter up, with all funds raised going to support the Black Hills Ski Team.
“We are a volunteer-based non-profit organization that offers local youth the opportunity to learn fundamentals of alpine ski racing and to participate in competitive events as part of the U.S. Ski Association’s Northern Division,” Sayler said. “Our mission is to provide Black Hills area youth with the opportunity to develop all-mountain skiing and racing skills in a fun, safe, and positive environment.
Funds are needed for safety equipment and to help keep team registration fees affordable.”
Registration for Skijoring is open through noon Friday.
The cost for a team to compete is $200. Participants must be 18 or older.
“If a skier is looking for a horse and rider or a horse and rider is looking for a skier, contact Yolonda Long at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Sayler said. “We’d love to have as many entries as possible.”
Admission is $15 at the gate. Children under 10 are free.
Discounted tickets are available in advance through the facebook event website or from a team member.
Skijoring sponsors include: Belle Fourche Livestock, Branding Iron Steakhouse, Chateau V. Boutique, Cowgirl Pizza, Cross Five Cattle Coolers, Enning Propane, Hilltop Boutique, Keffeler Kreations, The Lodge at Deadwood, Philip Livestock, Properties Unlimited, Saloon No. 10, and Triple R Tack.
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