By Jim Stanford on March 6, 2012
The spring-like weather in recent days has athletes already looking forward to the 37th annual Pole Pedal Paddle race on March 31.
Snake River Brewing Co. has stepped forward to put more fun into the fun class. The brewery is offering a $250 party at the pub to the winning fun class team, the costumed group judged to be having the most fun at the event. Second place gets a 15-gallon keg, and third place a 5-gallon barrel.
The Jackson Hole Ski Club also has lowered the entry fee for fun class to $80 per team. Looking to draw more p-p-participants from out of town, the club is offering a cash purse of $3,500, including $500 to the men’s and women’s racing class winners (individuals and teams).
Register before March 27 to avoid paying a $15 late fee, either online or at the ski club office in Snow King Center.
The bounty for fun class is stirring interest among the storied teams of yore. Dave Ellerstein, captain of the famed Studio 55 party barge, quelled speculation about his team and instead challenged newcomers to step up. Ellerstein and some of his crew will be out of town, meaning the seven-raft flotilla rigged with scaffolding, DJ sound system, smoke machine, barbecue grill and dance floors will not set sail this year.
“Someday, yes,” Ellerstein said. “There was no competition after a while, so we throttled back. When we see something else coming down the river that rivals it, we’ll consider getting back in the game.”
The ski club also has reduced the entry fee for families to $65. Lost Creek Ranch is offering a “Modern Family” prize with a full day of horseback riding, lunch, lounging by the pool and campfire cookout.
Instead of the traditional caps, winners of the various classes will receive PPP belt buckles this year, in keeping with the latest fashion.
Entry fee is $55 for individuals and $40 per person for teams before March 27. Participants receive a commemorative T-shirt, half-day lift ticket to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and entry into a raffle for prizes such as a Dagger kayak and cruiser bicycle.
The PPP begins with a downhill ski race at the resort, followed by 10 kilometers of cross-country skiing. Participants then transition to bikes and ride 20 miles to the Snake River and paddle 10 miles to the finish at Astoria Hot Springs.
In the past, the event has drawn Olympic champions like Tommy Moe and Todd Lodwick, competing alongside beer-guzzling Vikings and the Dukes of Hazzard.
(Viking photo by Andrew Wyatt)