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Wood River Extreme Skijoring Association
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Competitors range from youth to adults. PHOTO: Mark Larowe
   
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Fast horses will team up with brave skiers and snowboarders for an action-packed weekend at the annual Wood River Extreme Skijoring Association races in Bellevue Saturday and Sunday.

Skiers and boarders will navigate a 600- to 900-foot course behind a horse and its rider. Not only will they have to jump jumps but they will have to grab between three to nine rings hanging from posts set up along the course. The rider must also grab a ring.

Points are deducted for missed or dropped rings and missed jumps. Speed, which has reached 40 miles per hour in the past, also counts. At one point, the jumps grew to six feet, but they have since been  pared for safety reasons.

Both Saturday and Sunday races start at noon at 81 Browning Lane south of Bellevue.

Event organizers have renamed the Open Class to the Kurtis Stutz Open in honor of Kurtis Stutz, who passed away in 2021. A skier/cowboy, Stutz sold Fairfield locals on the idea of holding a skijoring competition like he enjoyed in his hometown of Red Lodge, Mont. The event was held in Fairfield for three years in the 1990s before moving to the Wood River Valley.

Even after he stopped competing, Stutz continued to help make ring stands, set up timing gates and lay out the course.

Winners of this weekend’s races will receive cash and other prizes—the race sports a $10,000 added purse.

There will be food for sale, as well as a beer garden. Admission is $10 per person, with kids 12 and under free. A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Wood River High School Rodeo Team.

Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, but no dogs.

A Saturday night team auction will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Mahoney’s in Bellevue. Sunday night’s award ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m. at Fuego Restaurant in Gannett.

Want to compete? Signups will take place Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. at Mahoney’s Bar & Grill. Those who need a partner to compete with should go to the team-up page at www.facebook.com/groups/wresja.teamup/

Questions? Call Bill Bobbitt at 208-720-7798.

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