Cutting to the chase

By Jim Stanford on February 17, 2013

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Presidents’ Day weekend has brought crowds, sunshine and a host of festivities to Jackson Hole. After a couple of spectacular days on the slopes, a snow squall is sprinkling dust on crust, making today ideal for kicking back at the track.

The Shrine Club’s Cutter Races at Melody Ranch are one of the biggest parties of the winter. Day two of the 42nd annual running of the chariots is about to get underway. Gates open to tailgaters at 11 a.m., and the horses run at 12:30.

David Stubbs made this video from the races in 2011, when the Shriners raised nearly $50,000 for the children’s hospital in Salt Lake City.

For a complete list of WinterFest activities, click here.

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Posted under Entertainment, Holidays, Sports

12 Comments so far

  1. Tater February 18, 2013 8:35 am

    To each their own, but I’m hoping all the horses make it through the weekend on all four legs. You would never catch me hitching my horse’s to a chariot and then make them run hell bent down a slipper track.

  2. Sue February 19, 2013 6:53 am

    It’s a nice event but it can be hard on a horse. How many have died so that a child may walk? It seems we have had a few.

    The crowd was pretty nice on Saturday. I’m always surprised they can milk the event for 2 days.

  3. Shiner Fan February 19, 2013 1:52 pm

    Thanks JS for posting on this event! I hear from early reports that attendance was up for 2013’s event by as much as 15%…Which is wonderful news for the Shrine’s charity.

    Cutter races have been a part of Jackson’s history since the 1930’s, a Shriner Club’s fund raiser since the early 1970’s; and it continues to be a favorite winter event.

    No one wants to see an animal hurt as a result of this event. As with any competitive activity, there are associated risks. To focus on the worst-possible outcome–dimishes the activity’s benefits to the community, the history of Wyoming and mostly- the charity for which the event is held.

    To Tater & Sue– My bet is that if one of your children, or a child of someone you know were to benefit from any number of Shiner’s hospital’s services– your words would be that of a horse of a different color.

  4. Brad February 20, 2013 2:13 am

    It “seems” we had a few? When? Or do you not know, Sue. The Shriners Club and the teams take great pride in making sure the track at the airstrip has plenty of snow and is packed properly before the Cutter races are OK’d to be held. Twice that I know of, the races have been cancelled due to poor track conditions. In the 30+ years I’ve been here and attended most of these events, I know of no death or serious injury to a horse (but I’ve been wrong before). What Shriner Fan said. Sorry for your cynicism.

  5. Tater February 20, 2013 8:28 am

    Brad-Cynicism?!?! Shriners Hospital does many wonderful things for children. Another fact is many horses die every year on tracks while racing in various forms. I’m not a fan of subjecting animals to dangerous situations for my ammusement. I just donate to the shriners on line.

  6. PS February 20, 2013 4:29 pm

    @Tater,
    Then I recommend that you don’t drive a vehicle for your ammusement.
    You must be a vegan, right?

  7. Brad February 20, 2013 5:39 pm

    Tater – more directed at Sue than you. BUT, I stand corrected here. I had a discussion today with a Shriner and other Cutter Race fans, and yes, there have been horses put down as a result of Cutter Race injuries. Not often, and the last one was about seven years ago. The organizers are required to be trained and prepared for it. You’re right Tater, horse racing in any form is dangerous. But I’ll always support the Cutters and the Shriners.

  8. Seen it first hand February 21, 2013 7:13 am

    Horses have been put down due to injuries sustained at Jackson’s cutter races. It usually goes unreported in the paper but most spectators know what’s happening.

  9. Tater February 22, 2013 8:42 am

    @PS-following your logic “you must be one of those sick twisted folk who enjoy touturing innocent animals”. Actually I hunt, fish and own and slaughter my own cows. Just because someone does not enjoy exposing animals to dangerous situations doesn’t make them a tree hugging hippie. I don’t take joy from it, but I have no problem putting down an animal to feed my family.

  10. js February 22, 2013 1:25 pm

    I did not see this discussion coming.
    Let me only add that the Shriners are bringing back the horses to run at Melody this weekend for skijoring, in which skiers are towed behind the steeds and often hit jumps or complete an obstacle course. The action starts at noon Saturday. More info here: http://www.jhshriners.org/

    They used to have skijoring races at the village years ago, and they were pretty fun, teaming horsemanship and skiing.

  11. PS February 22, 2013 2:03 pm

    Tater,
    Good to here that you hunt, fish, and raise your own cows for consumption. But how can you then write a statement like this,”I’m not a fan of subjecting animals to dangerous situations for my ammusement.” Then do you kill every fish you catch for consumption or do you C&R. If you C&R, then you are contradicting your own statement.

    Just like you, I don’t like to see any type of livestock get hurt for our enjoyment, but things happen and occasionally a horse may have to be put down. It is for a good cause you know. It’s all for the children. ;)

  12. tater February 22, 2013 3:07 pm

    @PS I agree it is for a good cause and i hope they raise a ton-o-money. I just grew up in rural Idaho where some of our neighbors did the charriot racing thing and it seemed every other weekend a horse was put down at the track. If anything goes wrong, horses being a prey animal will completely loose it and seriously hurt themselves typically on the charriot attached to them
    I do very little C&R fishing and only with my fly pole and un-barbed hooks.
    As I said to each their own…I was not trying to villify cutter racing…I was just hoping all the hooved hay burners make it through safe.
    I hope you enjoy the skijoring this weekend. I went to the event over the hill last month and had a great time.

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