The Blackfoot Valley Dispatch is the only newspaper devoted to Lincoln, Montana and the upper Blackfoot Valley and has been the best source for local news from Lincoln, Ovando, Helmville and Canyon Creek since 1980. With a circulation of more than 650 in 37 towns across Montana and in 25 states, we reach an estimated 1500 readers each week. We are member of Montana Newspaper Association and are working hard to provide our readers with the best possible local news and advertising. We appreciate feedback, so let us know what you think and how we can improve.You can contact us at 406-362-4131 of by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Check our new ' Recent stories' page for selected stories from recent editions
Jan. 12 Headlines
The Road Ahead: Blackfoot Non-winter Travel Plan signed
Lincoln's f irst skijoring event expected to draw large crowd, national media
Op/Ed: Lincoln's collaborative groups looking ahead to productive 2017 The Greatest Good: Signed Travel Plan, upcoming events mean exciting times at Lincoln Ranger District
Obit: Patsy Martin
Lady Lynx battle thru tough weekend games
Lynx sting Hornets in Saturday nail-biter Intros, updates and Sucker Creek snowplowing dominate packed Government Day meeting Geary: Adventures in give and take at Garulhos Donations boost flagging efforts to re-establish Outdoor Club for kids
Lincoln's first skijoring event expected to draw large crowd, national media Hope Quay In just a couple of weeks Lincoln will host two days of daredevil winter-time fun, drawing national media and crowds of competitors and spectators for an event uniquely suited to the town’s location, personality and interests.The Lincoln Valley Chamber of Commerce, working with Ski Joring America, Wild Horse Stables Skijoring of Helena and the Lincoln Rodeo Club, is helping to organize the debut of skijoring in Lincoln. Reputedly the oldest horse sport in the world, equestrian skijoring originated in Scandinavia as a mode of travel, and was promoted in the 1928 winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Ski Joring America holds western-style equine ski joring competitions in which a horse and rider tow a skier who navigates a series of jumps and obstacles in a timed event. LVCC Treasurer Erin Dey said the idea to bring skijoring to Lincoln was born a couple of years ago, when the chamber received an e-mail from a person involved in skijoring who thought Lincoln might be an ideal site. Although nothing came of it initially, idea was revisited in 2016 and Kurt Algard, owner of Wild Horse Stables Skijoring in Helena, secured Lincoln as the site for the January race. Dey said the LVCC thought skijoring would be a good fit for Lincoln because of the comparatively few community events scheduled during winter months. The LVCC contracted with the Lincoln Rodeo Club to provide the venue for the event, scheduled for Jan. 20 – 22. Algard said he was surprised no one else had already taken that slot, since it is one of the best weekends on the circuit. Though Algard was involved in a serious automobile accident in December, Ski Joring America board member Matt Crossett, based in Colorado, collaborated with other board members to bring the Lincoln event together. The Lincoln race will be the third member race in Montana on Skijoring America’s 2017 calendar. In addition to up to 85 two-person teams, it is estimated the event could bring up to 1000 spectators per day to Lincoln. “If as many people show up as are expected, Lincoln should be on par with rodeo weekend,” Dey said. “At the event a couple of weekends ago in Lakeside, they had about 68 teams and about 2000 spectators.” The event kicks off with Friday night registration held at a local business, followed by about four hours of races beginning at noon on Saturday. Saturday night’s Calcutta auction at the Lincoln Community Hall, where teams will be auctioned off, will raise money for a local non-profit. The winning bidder can win back part of the Calcutta money based on how the team performs Sunday. Money raised during the Calcutta is shared between the non-profit and the winning bidders for the top three fastest teams in each division. Following Sunday’s races, there will be an awards ceremony and payout for Calcutta and event winners. Crossett said Montana has the most Ski Joring America member races, but races take place from New Mexico to Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota and, most recently, Wisconsin. He expects at least eight new sanctioned races next year. “It’s really grown quite a bit, just in this last year, and I have a feeling it’s going to maybe even double next year,” he said. “When people see it, they want to do it, and when towns see it they say ‘that’s a great way for us to get some money in our shoulder season and bring people to town,’ and that’s generally what happens,” Crossett told the BVD. “This usually ends up being in pretty small towns.” Looking toward the future, the LVCC hopes this year’s fledgling event will help secure Lincoln as a permanent stop on the circuit for this fast-growing, adrenaline-filled winter sport with a distinctly western feel. “Lincoln is a central location for many Montana skijoring competitors so that puts us in a great spot for future events,” Dey said. As far as attendance, Crossett said, this first year will set the stage for future expectations. “It’s pretty hard to say until we see the first-time event…and how well it’s marketed. In terms of competitors, it’s all about the money. If you have a big prize pot, you get a lot of competitors,” he said. “I would say you could probably expect maybe 1500 people, if they know about it.” Ski Joring America assists in everything from marketing to track design, race registration and organization, and attracts competitors and food and beverage vendors. Crossett said said the Today Show will be present for the Lincoln race, something he made widely known to competitors and which he expects will be a draw for both teams and spectators. “I think we’ll have some vendors out there with food and drink, and we plan on having a bunch of fire pits around there because it always gets really cold,” Crossett said. “It’s a very exciting time, it’s a lot of fun for spectators.” Crossett noted their biggest priority is safety, with an emphasis on horse safety and making sure track conditions are right for the animals. “We clearly mark all of the jumps, because we’ve learned through experience that if things aren’t clearly marked, horses will come down that course and we’ve had horses go over jumps before…every once in a while a horse will get bucking…It’s like a rodeo, you know, but it’s the winter,” he said. “It’s a great event. People have a lot of fun.” Dey said everything is coming together, though she expects that, as with any new event, there will inevitably be hiccups. “Everyone that is volunteering, it’s a new event to them,” she said. “We now have a great team with Ski Joring America and Matt Crossett, and with Kurt Algard with Wild Horse Skijoring. Even if everything doesn’t go smoothly this first year, we all will know how to improve on it for following years.” “Our biggest concern is lack of lodging for spectators and competitors,” she said. “Hopefully every available room will be taken. We want spectators to be able to spend the night so they don’t have to drive the winter roads. I’m excited for a new event, with huge potential to boost the economy of Lincoln.” Dey said volunteers are needed as always, and the LVCC’s main job is to have between 20 and 25 volunteers for both days. “The more the better, if you want to help please contact the Chamber,” Dey said. Volunteers can email the LVCC at email@example.com, call 362-4949, or stop by and visit Laurie Richards at The Wheel Inn, Jill Frisbee at the Pit Stop or Erin Dey at the BVD.
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