Skijoring rides storm into Kalispell

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Richard Weber, of Skijoring America, builds the skijoring course at Rebecca Farm on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Skijoring will make its debut this Saturday and Sunday at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, the first time the renowned equestrian venue has hosted a winter event.

The races were moved to Rebecca Farm after being held for one year in Lakeside. When the Lakeside venue was put up for sale this summer, organizers agreed it would be best to move the event to a new location that could accommodate more visitors. Last yearís Flathead Lake Skijoring Championships had nearly 100 competitors and spectators numbered in the thousands.

Skijoring is a distinctly Western sport where a horse and rider pulls a skier through an obstacle course that features jumps, some up to 9 feet high. Competitors are timed on how fast they complete the circuit without error.

Organizers have been working on constructing the course at Rebecca Farm all week and are readying the facility for visitors, said Nathan Sprunger, spokesperson for the event.

The course at Rebecca Farm will measure about 850 feet in length.

Rebecca Farm is well equipped to hold an event like this ó having hosted The Event at Rebecca Farm equestrian triathlon since 2002 ó so no major changes to the facility itself had to be made in preparation.

Skijoring competitors will vie for a $25,000 purse, which was raised via sponsorships in the weeks leading up to the event. A portion of the funds raised will be contributed to Halt Cancer at X, a breast cancer initiative started by event organizer Sarah Broussard.

Rebecca Farm is located just west of Kalispell, at 1010 West Spring Creek Road. From the junction of U.S. 93 and U.S. 2 in Kalispell, drive two miles north on U.S. 93 to Reserve Loop then turn left and head west for 2 miles. Take Springcreek Road south, and the entrance to the facility is three-quarters of a mile down on the right.

The races take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is $5 per person, and kids 12 and under are free. Free parking on site is available.

More information on the skijoring competition can be found at http://www.rebeccafarm.org/other-events/.

Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake.com.

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