Second annual Meeker Skijor this weekend

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Skijoring combines two iconic Rocky Mountain cultures to create a highly watchable competitive racing event. Races are set for this Saturday and Sunday at the Fairgrounds beginning at 10 a.m., or you can watch live on Facebook @MeekerSkijor. (Left) Competitors during the 2020 event. |CAITLIN WALKER PHOTO

MEEKER | It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since Meeker took the leap into the world of competitive skijoring, but here we are — the second annual Meeker Skijor competition gets underway this weekend.

An event that blurs the lines between iconic Rocky Mountain cultures, skijoring brings together skiing enthusiasts and competitive horse and rider teams. Last year’s event drew a surprisingly large crowd for a first-time event in Meeker and this year the number of teams is nearly double, including a large contingent of local competitors as well as teams from out of state.

“We are super excited,” said Meeker Skijor board president and track boss Janelle Urista. “We have a wait list this year, and the support of the community coming out is amazing.”

Urista said she attended the first Colorado skijor event this season in Ridgway, and believes Meeker’s event is “right on the tip of the iceberg” to be the next big community event.

This year’s skijoring competition will be combined with a community celebration delayed by a local COVID-19 case spike. The annual Parade of Lights, usually held in December, will be held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in downtown Meeker, with festivities beginning at 3 p.m. Wear your best 1980s-themed costumes for a chance to win $50 in Chamber Bucks.

This year’s skijor event is dedicated to the memory of James Sizemore. Sizemore, a Meeker native, was killed in an avalanche on Feb. 20, 2011, while snowmobiling on the Flat Tops at the age of 19. The family established a scholarship fund and hosted a snowmobile poker run for several years with a focus on avalanche awareness and safety. Donations to the James Sizemore Memorial Scholarship fund can be made at Bank of the San Juans.

The opening ceremonies for the skijor races start at 9:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds in Meeker, with races beginning at 10 a.m. Tickets are $5 at the gate, 12 and under free. Dogs and drones are prohibited. As of press time, 175 spectators are allowed at outdoor events under the state’s current COVID recommendations. Temperatures will be taken at the gate and those attending are asked to stay within their own group and mask up around others. For those who would like to watch from home, tune in to the livestream on the Meeker Skijor Facebook page or at www.meekerskijor.com

Special thanks to this year’s event sponsors, including:

GOLD LEVEL
Town of Meeker, Rio Blanco County, Rio Blanco Herald Times, Alpine West Properties, Grant Family Dentistry, Rio Blanco Abstract Company, Pioneers Medical Center – Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, Step Beyond Media, Bank of the San Juans, Matt and Shana Holliday, White River Snowmobile Club

SILVER LEVEL
Mountain Valley Bank, White River Dental Hygiene, River’s Bend Outfitters

BRONZE LEVEL
Overton Recycling, Klim-Loc Medical-Care Flight Helicopter, Rio Blanco County Search and Rescue, White River Electric Association, White River Energy, Meeker General Mercantile, Streamline Realty, Haselden Construction, Noxious Weed Management, Miller Creek Cabins, Saratoga Skijor, Meeker Lion’s Club, McGuire Auto Parts, Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials, Meeker Coworking Community, Meeker Drug, Trail n’ Hitch

MEDALLION LEVEL
Rangely Conoco, Mike Seely, The Vet Clinic – Paul Neilson and Stacey Huddelson, White River Roasters, Ma Famiglia’s Restaurant


By NIKI TURNER | niki@ht1885.com

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