Ted Schultz and Amos the horse pull Sarah Dewey at a practice at Smokin True Ranch last weekend in preparation for the upcoming second annual Skijoring event, which takes place Feb. 16. Photo by Mikael Kjellstrom

Date set for second annual Skijoring event

Registration to take place from Feb. 11 to 14

The Wells Gray Riders Association (WGRA) is gearing up for its second annual Skijoring event, which will be held at Smokin True Ranch next month.

The event will offer prizes for fastest run, longest jump and fastest slalom with registration taking place from Feb. 11 to 14.

“The participants last year loved it and thought it was great. I also had positive feedback from all of the spectators,” said Christine Westerveld, president of WGRA, who’s also responsible for bringing the sport to Clearwater.

“This year we’ve got a bigger area to hold the event so we’re doing a few different things, we’ve got a few different prizes, (the event) is growing out of necessity and I think it’ll be a lot more fun this way.”

For those who don’t know, skijoring is an equestrian racing sport that has skiers pulled by horses and is up and coming in North America, with organized races, events and clinics in five American states and at least one Canadian province.

Westerveld said she had been watching skijoring videos online for a couple years, but it wasn’t until last year it occured to her to try out the sport locally.

“I thought it would be a good way to keep the horses fit for winter and a good event to attract people to Clearwater in the winter as well,” she said, adding last year’s event featured 15 skiers, eight riders and attracted roughly 100 spectators.

“This year we have a straight track so we’re going to do a slalom, the jumps are always optional, but last year we had some pretty awesome tricks over jumps.”

Westerveld added she’s confident the Skijoring event will grow each year as word spreads, but noted the biggest problem is getting enough horses because the animals get tired and can’t tow the skiers all day long.

If more people are willing to race their horses in the event, the more runs it can see throughout the day, she said.

This year the Skijoring event, which is sponsored by Volk Trans, will also have the Piglet food truck onsite to serve hungry participants and spectators.

Skijoring will take place on Feb. 16 and to register call Westerveld at 780-712-1659.

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