Cowbell distributor’s 1.2 tons of cowbells are ringing in the races | VailDaily.com

Cowbell distributor’s 1.2 tons of cowbells are ringing in the races

Cowbells are popular among spectators at the Alpine World Ski Championships races.
Special to the Daily |

About the cowbells

To ring the bells, go to cowbells.com.

To read the Saturday Night Live cowbell script, go to www.cowbells.com/pages/snl-more-cowbell-skit-script.

You can buy cowbells online, or from places all over town, including:

• Eagle County Airport.

• The Nearly Everything Store in Eagle.

• The Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum, Vail Village.

• Charlies Tee Shirts. 8 locations in Vail Village, Lionshead, and Beaver Creek.

• The Covered Bridge Store, Bridge Street, Vail Village.

• Generation Vail, Bridge Street, Vail Village.

• Vail Style, Solaris Plaza, Vail Village.

• The Zone 2015 Store, Located in the Sonnenalp Hotel, Vail Village.

• Vail Tee Shirt Company, Lionshead.

• Ski Base, Lionshead.

• Base Mountain Sports, Lionshead and Beaver Creek.

• Beaver Creek Market, next to the Children’s Fountain.

• Beaver Creek Gear, at the skating rink in Beaver Creek.

• Generation Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek.

• Vail Resorts Retail, throughout Vail Village and Beaver Creek.

• Gorsuch, Vail Village and Beaver Creek.

EAGLE COUNTY — Forget Shakespeare. If you’re Elizabeth “Cowbell Queen” Halvorson, the most hallowed lines of theater goes like this:

“I gotta have more cowbell, baby!” from the classic “Saturday Night Live” skit … and “Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription … is more cowbell!”

Halvorson is the official cowbell supplier for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, as she was for the 1999 World Championships and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. That makes fictitious record producer Bruce Dickinson her favorite Christopher Walken character.

“Bruce Dickinson is one of my best cowbell salesman,” Halvorson said.

By the way, Paul Bruce Dickinson is an English musician, airline pilot and broadcaster. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Halvorson would be a ski racer and not in the cowbell business, except she didn’t like going that fast.

So she imported 1.24 tons of cowbells for these World Championships to help other people go fast.

“It’s our largest single shipment in 18 years, three times the size of our regular shipments,” said Halvorson, owner of Cowbell.com. “I think my jaw dropped when I saw the shipping documents.”

a growing business

“Why cowbells? Because mittens don’t clap,” Halvorson said.

It’s an old European tradition that started in Switzerland, where farmers were often ski racers. Cows aren’t belled in the winter. So the bells were, and still are, handy noise makers that can be heard from the bottom to the top of the race course.

“Some athletes say all the noise helps them go faster,” Halvorson said.

Speaking of European traditions, Halvorson’s parents are from Norway and put her on skis when she was 18 months old. She was only 7 years old when her Olympic dreams were dashed.

“I went to ski camp and the speed of the downhill petrified me,” she said.

Halvorson grew up and rolled successfully up the corporate causeway for a while, then got “downsized.”

She went back to skiing and landed a gig with the Norwegian consulate, helping Norway import products into the U.S.

One day she was at a ski race, heard some cowbells and all her idea lights illuminated.

She started her cowbell company in 1995, and seven years later, she become an overnight success.

She was on a chairlift in Deer Valley when an order came in from Nike.

“Now that was a good day,” Halvorson said.

from 1999 to 2015

Vail’s 1999 World Championships was her test event as an official supplier.

“It was great. I was exhausted,” she said.

During those 1999 Worlds, there was a signing day and she had all the athletes sign it. Bob Boselli bought it and has it on display it in his store.

The story goes that American alpine legend Picabo Street signed some cowbells for her. Halvorson later learned that Street’s young son ran around the house with a cowbell around his neck, which made him easy to find when he was up to something.

She gave cowbells to Jerry Ford, who rang them with great enthusiasm.

They have five different sizes and they all make different noises. You can ring the bells on her website, Cowbells.com.

“We helped make very noisy events. It was fun, and I got to go skiing for work sometimes,” Halvorson said.

Their actual cowbells are from Norway and are made from recycled practice range bullet casings from the Norwegian military. Norway is where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, so they don’t do a lot of war there.

“From bullets to bells!” Halvorson says.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.



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