Skijoring rumbles into Minturn | VailDaily.com

Skijoring rumbles into Minturn

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Bruce Stott, of Frisco, flies off a jump while being pulled by Savannah Macarthy, of New Mexico, and her horse Monkey Face in Minturn during the 2014 skijoring competition.
Anthony Thornton | Daily file photo |

If you go ...

What: RMX Skijoring.

Where: Downtown Minturn.

When: noon to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Cost: Free to watch

More information: Visit www.rmxskijoring.com.

MINTURN — The town of Minturn and Skijor International announce that the fourth annual skijoring event will be held on Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. with awards, cash prizes and entertainment to follow at 5 p.m. at The Minturn Saloon.

Exhibition and practice runs will be held Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. with a party and entertainment at The Minturn Saloon at 7:30 p.m.

Skijoring has been the undisputed top winter attraction in Minturn for the past three years. This year in particular, RMX Skijoring will deliver an unparalleled, one-of-a-kind experience in the Vail Valley during the highly publicized and widely anticipated FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

LANDMARK EVENT

Teams of riders, horses and skiers will be traveling more than 500 miles to represent states throughout the Rocky Mountain region such as Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico and South Dakota and compete in what will be a landmark event.

Imagine a horse rearing up, and then suddenly accelerating from zero to 40 mph in just three strides right before your eyes. Image a skier grasping a 30-foot hemp rope and being towed over a snow-covered course, landing 6- to 8-foot jumps and capturing rings with a lance made from a sawed off ski pole. Imagine the 800-foot straightaway lined with thousands of cheering spectators as the snow and ice fly.

Welcome to RMX Skijoring, the glorious clash of two counter cultures: extreme skiing and Western rodeo.

The town of Minturn and Skijor International invite news correspondents, television crews, sports organizations, business owners, community groups and individuals to attend one of the most thrilling, action packed, “down home” Colorado-style events on the 2015 FIS calendar. Show your support for not only the athletes, but also for the charities affiliated with the event: Vail Veterans Program and Mountain Valley Horse Rescue.

Skijoring has existed in various forms for centuries, but in the Rocky Mountain West, skijoring had its start with men who had served in World War II, most notably in the famous 10th Mountain Division. These men missed skiing, and, as there were no ski resorts or lifts in those days, they simply had their cowboy friends attach a long rope to their saddle horn. Then, they had them ride their horses at high speeds while towing their buddies behind.

The first American skijoring races were held more than 50 years ago in Steamboat Springs, Leadville and Whitefish, Montana.

In 2015, there are 15 equine skijoring events in the race circuit, as well as events in Quebec and British Columbia, Canada.

The 2015 RMX Skijoring event will be the first race to acknowledge the horses as athletes in their own right and reward their performance by including them in the prize purse.