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44th Pole, Pedal Paddle race set for Jackson this weekend

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Jackson Hole Pole Pedal Paddle Race in Jackson

By Cowboy State Daily

An unusual race that sees competitors — often in costume — ski, bike, run and float more than 34 miles from the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to a spot south of Jackson is being held for the 44th time this weekend.

Jackson’s famous “Pole, Pedal, Paddle” contest will be held Saturday, drawing more than 200 competitors including both serious and not-so-serious racers.

“We’ve got everybody on the spectrum,” said Jeff Moran, chief marketing officer for the Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club, the organizer of the annual race. “So we get a good mix of people doing all five legs trying to go as fast as they can, then a group of people who do it just for fun. It’s both a fundraiser and a fun-raiser.”

People celebrate after the Jackson Hole Pole Pedal Paddle Race in Jackson
March 24, 2018 – Hoback, WY: The party and awards at Astoria Hot Springs Park in the Snake River Canyon for the finish of the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club Pole Pedal, Paddle event. (Courtesy: Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club)

The race is a fundraiser for the JHSSC, which supports various skiing programs for Jackson’s youth. Last year, it raised more than $45,000 for such programs.

The race will begin this year at 8 a.m. Saturday with a giant slalom run of more than 2 miles from the top of the resort’s new Teton Lift to the Village Commons at Teton Village. From there, racers will run 1.2 miles to the Shooting Star Golf Course, where a 4-mile groomed cross-country skiing track will be waiting for them.

After the cross-country skiing, racers will take to bicycles for an 18-mile ride to the Snake River, where they will paddle for 9 miles to the finish line at Astoria Hot Springs Park for an awards presentation and celebration.

Competitive racers finish the path in a little more than two hours, while those more interested in fun may take five to six hours, Moran said.“There are people who just make a day of it,” he said. “People who do it on tandem bikes. Some people have big party barges. There are a lot of people who make it a huge celebration.”

There are two divisions for the race, one for competitive racers and another for “fun” racers. Racers can compete individually or in teams for ether division.

Racers in the “fun” division often wear costumes, such as the “Golden Girls” team Moran said competed last year using canes and walkers. Boats seen in the fun division have included a double-decker raft, complete with sound system.

Moran said in recent years, a pink theme has surfaced in some of the costumes in honor of Karen Oatey, a competitor who died during the race in 2015. The race has been officially named the “Karen Oatey Pole, Pedal, Paddle” in her memory.

This year’s awards ceremony will feature a special event — groundbreaking for the restoration of the Astoria Hot Springs Park. The Astoria Park Conservancy has raised $6 million to restore the park that was closed in 1999.

The most popular stretch of the race for viewing is along the Snake River and at the finish line, Moran said.

“Most people tend to congregate at the awards ceremony at the finish line,” he said. “The big thing about the awards ceremony is it is open to everybody.”

#TravelTuesday: Celtic music, food and fun on tap in Evanston this weekend

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Evanston Wyoming Celtic Festival

By Cowboy State Daily

Anyone with a taste for Celtic music, food and fun or a fake Scottish accent they want to show off should head for Evanston this weekend to take part in the city’s Ceili at the Roundhouse Celtic Festival.

The two-day festival, now in its 11th year, features traditional Irish music by bands from Ireland and Scotland, along with performances by regional bands, workshops on Celtic crafts and music and the opportunity to sample Celtic food and drink.

The Ceili (the Gaelic word for “party”) focuses on all Celtic cultures, not just the Irish or Scottish, said Carolee Bowen, executive director of The Arts Inc., the group organizing the celebration.

“Celtic is much more than Irish,” she said. “It’s really diversified Celtic, not just Irish or Scottish.”

The event was launched in 2009 as a way to draw visitors to Evanston and Bowen said it has succeeded, largely because of the broad variety of events offered.

“We have a lot going on at the festival,” she said. “You can bring the family and everyone’s going to be entertained.”

Headline musical acts include Realta, a Belfast-based band, Imar, a band from Glasgow and Irish supergroup The High Kings, a quartet referred to as the male version of “Celtic Woman.”

Bands from Colorado and Utah will also be performing throughout the weekend.

“I think you have to have a solid lineup of music if it’s going to be a Celtic festival,” Bowen said.

Unique workshops include Celtic craft sessions for children, a Great Norse shield-making workshop, musical workshops for the guitar, fiddle, Irish flute and fiddle a mead tasting session and many more.

Musicians who have attended workshops through the day can get a chance to apply what they’ve learned during a traditional musical session after Friday night’s concert by Realta.

For those with an urge to try exotic accents, a Fake Scottish Accent contest will be held Friday evening. The contest will feature a “real Scottish judge,” according to the event’s schedule.

The event takes place inside the Evanston Roundhouse, a tourist attraction itself. The roundhouse, formerly used by Union Pacific, was built in 1871 and restored in 2009. By holding the Ceili in the roundhouse, organizers can avoid problems caused by unpredictable Wyoming weather, Bowen said.

The Ceili is just one of the many events organized by The Arts Inc. during the year. Others include the MAT (music, arts and theater) Camp and the Young Musicians Festival.

The festival opens at 3 p.m. Friday and continues until 11 p.m. Saturday. For more details, visit the Chili’s website at

In the market for an airplane? Great Lakes has 16 for sale

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By Cowboy State Daily

Sixteen airplanes parked at the old Cheyenne Regional Airport are being stored for Great Lakes Airlines while the company tries to sell them.

Great Lakes stopped its flights in and out of Cheyenne in March of 2018 and is trying to wind down its business, said Nathan Banton, general manager of aviation for the Cheyenne Regional Airport.

The bank that holds the company’s loans is working with Great Lakes sell the airline’s assets, Banton said.

“As part of that process, they agreed to move out of the building they’ve been in for a lot of years …” he said. “In order to facilitate that happening, we allowed them to take over other space in order to store the aircraft and such while they work on selling it off.”

Great Lakes owes the airport back rent for space, Banton said, but he added the bank holding the notes for the company has been working with the airport.

“The bank has been working in good faith with us, so we’re working in good faith with them,” he said.

#TravelTuesday: Fundraiser for 4-H puts filly up for raffle

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Wyoming 4-H fundraiser

By Cowboy State Daily

A unique fundraiser by a Casper-based horse riding group this weekend will see a filly put up for raffle and people get a shot at $1,000 just for dancing.

The Casper Stampede’s second annual Country Fling on Saturday will also feature a 4-hour concert by celebrated Wyoming band Sean Curtis and the Divide and both live and silent auctions.

The event, held at “The Hangar” near Casper, is designed to raise money for both the Wyoming 4-H and for 4-H clubs at the county level, said event spokeswoman Paula Thoroughman.

“We just want to encourage the younger crowd to get involved with horses,” she said.

Last year’s Country Fling raised $4,600 for the state 4-H organization and for the 4-H in Natrona County and the Stampede hopes to double that number this year, said Thoroughman, who is also a board member for the group.

One of the high points of the evening will be the raffle of Remi, a filly born in May of 2017. Only 100 tickets will be available at a cost of $50 each.

“We’ll make sure that the winners are vetted, that she has a proper facility to go to,” Thoroughman said.

The raffle for the $1,000 sponsored by Crushco of Casper, will be awarded in a unique way. During the concert, every time someone dances through the end of a song, they will receive a raffle ticket. The winning ticket for the $1,000 prize will be drawn at the end of the evening.

“We had close to 100 people (last year), but people were kind of shy,” Thoroughman said. “We decided we needed something to get people up there and having fun.”

Tickets for the event cost $65 each and include a barbecue dinner and the concert. Tickets are available from the Stampede’s website ( and at Service First Insurance, Moss Saddles, Boot and Tack, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Uncorked, all in Casper.

The doors for the evening will open at 5 p.m., dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m.

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