The Winter Olympics always seem to get underway just in the nick of time for us winter-weary folks in the Flathead Valley, where it’s sometimes hard to remember the last sunny day, or that spring eventually will come. With the opening ceremonies getting underway tonight in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we can sit in the comfort of our easy chairs and cheer on our favorite U.S. athletes.
As the games unfold, all eyes will be on top-ranked slopestyle skier Maggie Voisin of Whitefish. A broken ankle dashed the skiing prodigy’s Olympic hopes in 2014, but she’s back and in top form to leave her mark on the world stage. The 19-year-old has had a stellar qualifying season, and just two weeks ago dominated at the winter X Games in Aspen, where she became the first American woman to win X Games gold in slopestyle skiing. Watch for her to fly through the air in Pyeongchang on Feb. 16.
We’ll be rooting for two other Montana skiers — Missoula’s Darian Stevens, who also is competing in women’s slopestyle, and Brady Wilson of Butte, who is making his second appearance at the Olympic games as a moguls skier.
The Olympic games are, of course, much more than the perfect diversion from our winter doldrums. They offer a kind of global unity shaped under the spotlight of these athletes’ finest moments. These performances thrill us and inspire us. Let the games begin.
Bigfork rodeo tied down!
Congratulations to the Bigfork community for going the distance to get Professional Cowboy Rodeo Association approval for a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo July 6-7. A formal objection from Flathead County fair officials derailed Bigfork’s rodeo plans temporarily, but at the insistence of Bigfork rodeo supporters, a compromise was worked out and fair officials withdrew the objection.
The biggest fear was that having two PRCA rodeos so close together could hurt ticket sales for the Northwest Montana Fair PRCA rodeo in mid-August. We heard from scores of rodeo fans that there’s plenty of room in the Flathead for two summer rodeos in different communities, and the Inter Lake said as much in a recent editorial.
Our Western heritage is a unique slice of life that is epitomized by events such as rodeo competitions. Rodeos are wonderfully entertaining for both locals and visitors. Lucky for us there will be double the PRCA action this summer. We encourage rodeo fans to support both events.