Mother Nature grants requests on her own terms and timelines, and she declined Rebecca Farm’s initial plea for sufficient snow to host its second annual skijoring competition in late December. Better late than never, though, Rebecca Farm reports that snow finally arrived, and the competition has been rescheduled for March 2-3.
Last year’s skijoring (think: skiing behind horses) event was the first-ever at Rebecca Farm. Notwithstanding a blizzard the night before, the event drew nearly 90 teams from the Flathead Valley and surrounding counties, plus several from out of state. Thousands of spectators braved the snowdrifts and frigid temps to watch the fun.
“Skijoring is a thrilling sport for all involved, spectators and competitors alike,” says organizer Sarah Broussard. “We’re excited to be bringing skijoring to Kalispell and Rebecca Farm again this year. It’s important to us to be able to provide a place for the community to enjoy themselves on a winter weekend.”
Derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning “ski driving,” skijoring is a winter sport that combines skiing and horseback riding. The sport consists of a horse pulling a skier through an obstacle course, all while hitting jumps that range in size from three to nine feet high. Competitors are judged based on how long it takes for them to run the track — the quicker the time, the better the score. Participants receive penalties for gates and rings missed along the course.
Teams will compete in three classes, Open, Sport and Novice, vying for cash prizes, as well as a Costume class for entertainment. A newly-designed track will be built for this year’s competition.
“We’re looking forward to creating a track that will be exciting for both competitors and spectators,” says Sarah. “It’s our plan that this year’s course will be different from the one we built last year, but we won’t actually finalize the design until the weekend draws closer and we can take into consideration the current weather and snow conditions. We want to have an exciting, yet safe course for everyone’s enjoyment.”
Those fastest finishers will be awarded a total prize purse in excess of $20,000, funded by sponsorships. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Halt Cancer at X, an initiative created by Sarah that raises funds for breast cancer research and support services.
Any takers, EN? Registration information is available here. Volunteers are also needed, with duties to include course maintenance, gatekeeping, backup timing, warm up and ground crew. Shifts are four hours long and during that time, volunteers can enjoy free hot cocoa and coffee along with free entry to the event. Please sign up online here or contact Heidi at [email protected] or (406)270-3889.
Spectator admission is $5 and prime viewing is available right along the course. Kids are welcome (and free if under 13 years) at this family-friendly event, along with well-behaved, four-legged friends. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from local vendors, and Skijoring Stout, developed specifically for the Rebecca Farm event last year by Kalispell Brewing Company, will be on tap.