Renaming the Open Class to the Kurtis Stutz Open
We would like to take a moment to honor and recognize one of our own we lost this past year. Kurtis Stutz was the crazy skier/cowboy who brought the idea to a few locals in Fairfield about some far-fetched idea, called ski-joking. Kurtis was an accomplished skier and also happened to be a pretty good hand as a cowboy.
In the 1990’s Kurtis brought his experience of skijoring from his hometown of Red Lodge Montana where the skijoring finals were held. What we are experiencing here today started as a small group of local cowboys and skiers holding the first local skijoring competition. The event was held in Fairfield for 3 years and then moved over to the valley. The popularity of the sport grew, along with the size of the jumps, which at one point were almost 6’ high. For obvious reasons, the jumps came back down to what we see today.
Even after Kurtis stopped competing he was instrumental in continuing to ensure that the sport thrived in the Wood River Valley. From making the ring stands, setting up the timing gates, laying out the course, he could do anything on the track and he was sure to make it safe but exciting for not only the skiers and horses but the crowds as well.
Kurtis passed away in 2021 at the age of 55. We would like to take this time to honor Kurtis and know he would be proud that we are continuing this sport, still today.
A successful run of this race means crossing the finish line of the 600-900 foot course with the skier having executed one to three jumps ranging from three to six feet high and grabbing from three to nine rings. The rider must also grab a ring. Points are deducted for missed or dropped rings and missed jumps. Speed – which often reaches 40 miles per hour – is a factor. Winners are based on the combined overall score for both days. All skiers are required to hit the jumps. Some organizations run an oval track which presents a whole new twist to the already wild race. While most compete for the thrills, winners will receive cash and other great prizes.
Bellevue’s family-friendly weekend event will feature food booths, music, and a beer garden. Tailgaters are welcome! There is a gate fee of $10 per person. Kids 12 and under are free.
Friday – Sign Up
Sign-up will kick off the weekend at Mahoney’s on Main Street in Bellevue from 6-9pm on Friday.
Saturday races start at noon.
Food & drinks provided by TBD
Coffee & hot chocolate provided by the Crisis Hotline.
Saturday Night – Team Auction
Saturday night’s party at Mahoney’s is one not to be missed!
Sunday races start at noon.
Food & Drinks by KBs and More
Coffee & hot chocolate provided by Pony Club.
Sunday Night – Awards
Sunday night the festivities will conclude with the award ceremony at Fuego in Gannet (NEW LOCATION) starting at 5pm.
For more information, call Bill Bobbitt at 208.720.7798. If you want to race and have not found a partner, call, and we will find one for you. Or, check out the Team Up page on Facebook. Volunteers may also call for more info.