The Topsham Fair Association is preparing to host the first skijoring racing event at the fairgrounds in the city on February 12th.
A traditional Scandinavian competition that combines horsemanship and skiing, skiing is a racing sport where a skier hangs on a rope attached to a horse and glides across the snow. It’s a team time trial.
Marie Brillant, vice president of Topsham Fair Association, said they have been thinking for a long time about hosting the city’s racing competition, given that Skowhegan is the only city to host ski year races in Maine for many years.
“My daughter attended the Skowhegan event last year and it seemed like a great thing to have in Topsham,” Brillant said. “When I approached the board of the fair to make this event at the fair, they thought it was a good idea to get the sport going.”
Brilliant said they plan to get as many people as possible to attend.
Although the total cost of the event has not been determined, Brillant said they would like to keep it around $ 5,000, excluding the prize money that will be decided later based on the number of entries they receive.
She added that they are raising funds through various sources and hope to be able to cover the expenses.
At least 21 volunteers are working to prepare the racetracks at the fairgrounds.
“The volunteers will shape these jumps and prepare them,” Brillant said. “We want Topsham trail riders who will take care of the track so that the horses have a foothold. We want a vet, a blacksmith and a food salesman on site.”
Brilliant said they only wanted one food vendor as they do not know how many people would attend the event.
“We do not want to have too many food vendors and then not make it worthwhile to come,” Brillant said. “They do us a huge favor by coming out in the winter.”
Topsham resident Caitline Rice, who participated in the skijoring competition for the first time in Skowhegan last year, said she is excited that the racing competition will be held in the city.
“I’m incredibly excited,” Rice said. “My horse (LeeRoy) and I usually ride endurance in the summer months, sometimes we ride 25-50 miles in one day. Typically, we travel several hours to get to a competition, so it’s great to have the competition right in town. ”
Rice added that having the event in Topsham is a great opportunity for the community to get out and have fun during the winter.
“I think everyone is pretty beaten down with COVID-19, and what another great event the area has to look forward to at this time of year,” Rice said. “It’s nice to have a reason to sit in the saddle during these cold, sad winter months.”
Brilliantly hopes that enough snow falls before the day of the event.
“We pray that Mother Nature will give us enough snow,” Brillant said. “We stack the snow so it can last longer. We have had a snowmobile to build the jumps, and we also have a large snow thrower to put snow where we need to. ”
Hand sanitizer and masks will be available for visitors attending the event. But given that it is an outdoor event, Brillant said they would not enforce mandatory masking.
Registration for the event starts on January 15th. Admission costs $ 5 for a single person, $ 15 for a family and $ 50 for a team of skiers and a rider.
For more details, visit topshamfair.net.