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Legends and stars sparkle at Ford Cup

Daily file photoBobby Kennedy Jr. hugs the gates along the race course at the 2004 American Ski Classic on Vail Mountain.
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VAIL ” A nerd beat America’s favorite firefighter. A former Heisman winner fell to an Olympic gymnast and a Kennedy went head-to-head with a former ski bum turned soap star.

At the Ford Cup Race at Golden Peak last year, celebs, CEOs and world-class skiers all took to the hill to bash some gates, soak up the sun, and most importantly, raise some money for local charities.

“Colorado is a great place,” said Clayton Snyder, one of the stars of Disney’s “Lizzie McGuire.” “I love the cold and hot weather.”

“You’re lying,” said co-star Bobby Carradine. “You love all those snowbunnies.”

Carradine, who may be better known for his starring role as Lewis in the “Revenge of The Nerds” movies, was impressive on his snowboard Friday, beating both Snyder and Bachelorette star Ryan Sutter in head-to-head runs.

Sutter actually finished ahead of Carradine in their showdown, but was disqualified because he missed a gate, forfeiting the win to the nerd, er, champ.

Surprisingly, the P.A. system didn’t put on Queen’s “We are the Champions” after Carradine’s big wins.

Sutter, the former CU football captain, also couldn’t overcome a six-second handicap given to former Oklahoma All-American running back Joe Washington, who skis only once a year.

When asked about his rough morning, Sutter shrugged his shoulders and said, “We never lost to the Sooners when I actually played football at CU. So, I guess maybe it’s time that they got a few victories. Joe’s a great guy. He had a six-second lead on me, and I just couldn’t make it up.”

He also said that even though he is an avid snowboarder, he found running gates to be a little more technical than dropping in on the Back Bowls.

“This is the very first time I’ve ever gone through a gate,” said Sutter. “It was fun, but it’s icy and it was kind of tough to negotiate. I’m not really used to it.”

As for Washington, he was just happy to make it to the bottom.

“It was (a rivalry) until we got into the gates,” Washington said.

“When I get in the gates, all bets are off on anything. I’m just one of those guys that’s just trying to get down to the bottom. I get to ski once a year and you can’t pick a better place to come and do it.”

Despite some heated competition, including a rematch of Thursday’s Legends women’s semifinal between Laurie Graham-Flynn and Lisi Kirchler, Friday’s competition was more about fun than it was about getting across the line first.

“For my husband and I, and for my children, this is the event that we most look forward to every year,” said Mary Kennedy, wife of environmentalist Bobby Kennedy Jr. “Everybody here is so wonderful. For us, it’s the only thing that we do all year long that is not work related. It is just pure pleasure, and everyone is so wonderful. Everyone is so kind and generous, and it’s all for an incredibly good cause.”

In her biggest race of the day, Kennedy matched up against “Days of Our Lives” star and former Australian Freestyle Team member Justin Melvey.

“This is my 29th day skiing ever,” said Kennedy. “I’ve had a lot of babies, so I’ve missed a lot of ski time, but my children are keeping track for me.”

Melvey wasn’t too distraught about the loss. He was just happy to be back on snow after leaving the life of a ski bum to pursue a career in acting.

“I never really did much slalom before. It was always bumps and aerials,” Melvey said. “I’m surrounded by all these legend skiers and alpine racers. It’s very daunting.”

Still, as one of the better skiers on the hill aside from the former Olympians and World Cup competitors, Melvey did admit that the legends had paid him a few compliments.

“I guess I’ve had a few pats of the back,” Melvey said.

Vail Colorado


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