SILVERTON - Long after the horses had been fed and the skiers and cowboys had moved on to the Silverton red light
district, one lone resident stood alongside historic Blair Street.
Glancing out at a freshly groomed skijoring course through his whiskey-glazed eyes, he summarized what many had
expressed earlier: Sure is a shame there's no cowboys left in this town. I wish these boys and their horses could
The feeling swept across Silverton last weekend as the first Silverton Skijoring Festival came to town. Bringing a
mixture of cowboys, cowgirls, horses, skiers and spectators across snowy mountain passes, Silverton skijoring didn't
let down a soul.
It feels like a movie," Silverton resident Carolyn Wilcox said.
We've got cowboys riding around in Silverton. I just get so excited when we get that Old West feel back. We've got the
steam engine in the summer, and now we've got cowboys in the winter. I get so excited about Silverton in the winter,it's a winter wonderland."
Amid national attention for hosting Shaun White's personal superpipe last winter, Silverton has added another winter
attraction. An impressive turnout of skiers and horses, despite winter storm activity throughout the weekend, may have
secured a place for skijoring in Silverton's future.
More than 300 spectators turned out in Silverton over the weekend to watch the unusual sporting event.
Skijoring pits a horse, its rider, and a skier against a time clock on a course that includes three jumps and six rings
that must be collected to avoid point deductions.
The competition is split into kids, novice, and professional
It went really well for the first annual," said Pete Maisel, an event organizer. We've got a few bugs to work out,but that's how it goes when you're doing things for the first time.
It's certainly in the plans for the next year. We don't want to overstep it, but I think we can promote it better, get
a few bigger sponsors and increase the number of entries, which means the purse will increase as well. And that should
attract more people."
Basically, we said let's do skijoring in Silverton. And let's do it next month," said Rob Conaty, another organizer.
So I think it worked out really well, considering."
This year's event was relatively low-key in terms of crashes and injuries. R.J. Ferrell, a participant from Durango,was part of two wrecks on Sunday, but escaped unscathed.
That first crash was a good crash," said Ferrell, who noted he'd be back next year.
It's penned in. No pencils, pens. I'll be here. And we need to start something back in
Durango. We've got plenty of horses, plenty of skiers, and plenty of people willing to do crazy things."
The lone injury in the event was suffered by Tyler Anderson, who dislocated his shoulder. His horse ran the slack out
of the line on the course's second jump, jolting Anderson's arm from its shoulder socket.
It's intimidating," Anderson said. I typically snowboard. This was only my third time on skis. It was awesome. I
don't blame anybody for my injury. I wouldn't take anything back. It was a lot of fun."
The event was won by a father-and-son combo from Leadville.
Jeff Dahl and his father, Greg Dahl, finished with a best time of 16.90 seconds.
Younger sibling, Jason, who took second place, considered the event a huge success.
No horses went down, no skiers went down too bad, and the town of Silverton did a great job," said the youngest Dahl.
We'll definitely be back."
Novice champion and Durango resident Molly Marquez was a first time skijoring participant.
Once you get to the finish line, it's a great adrenaline rush for the rest of the day. But you have to get to the
finish line first."
On Sunday evening, amid more snowfall, the cowboys and cowgirls loaded their horses back in their trailers for
another ride over another snowy mountain pass, taking that Old West feel with them.
Oh, those cowboys," Wilcox said. Us Silverton girls love when those cowboys come to town. Those men are welcome in
Silverton any time they want."