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Encampment Hosts 34th Annual Sierra Madre Winter Carnival

in Travel

A plethora of unusual winter activities awaits those who travel to Encampment this weekend for the town’s annual Sierra Madre Winter Carnival.

The carnival on Friday and Saturday, entering its 34th year, features activities ranging from the artistic to the athletic, including a snowman painting contest , “human saucer bowling”, and snow-golf.

The event was launched to give area residents something to do during the winter months, said Doreen Harvey, Encampment’s clerk-treasurer.

“And to get people to our local businesses during the winter,” she said. “I would say we usually have more than 100 entrants (for different events), which is pretty good for a small town mid-winter event.”

People wishing to compete in “snowman painting” must register at Encampment’s Town Hall by noon Friday so judges know where around Encampment the various snowmen will be built.

Once built, the snowmen can be decorated in any way, but the decoration must involve paint, Harvey said — most often colored water. Competitors will have until noon Saturday to finish their entries.

“We’re looking for creativity,” she said. “We’re looking for things that are unusual.”

Also on Friday will be a “treasure hunt,” where participants will be given clues to solve and challenges to complete to claim the treasure.

On Saturday, after a pancake breakfast served by members of Encampment’s Veterans of Foreign Wars, sled races will begin at 10 a.m.

The races are open to preschool and grade school students, but a “build your own sled” competition, where homemade sleds will face off in a downhill race, will be open to anyone, Harvey said.

“We’ve seen some interesting things come down this hill over the years,” she said.

Likewise, the “human saucer bowling” will be open to preschool and elementary school students, although an open class will also be available for adults.

Each competitor will be given two runs to knock down as many pins — 2-liter pop bottles filled with sand — as possible.

“Kids just sit on that saucer and we have pins set up,” Harvey said. “Bowling rules apply. All the sledders will get two chances.”

Lunchtime will feature chili and bread cook-offs.

A snowmobile “sprint” will begin at 1:45 p.m., where snowmobilers will try to post the best time  traveling a city block. “Snow golf,” where golfers bring one club and try negotiate a snow-covered course, will begin at 2:15 p.m.

Activities wrap up at 7 p.m. with a casino night, open to adults only, at the Grand Encampment Opera House.

Admission to most events is free, although there is a charge for the pancake breakfast. For more information, visit the Carbon County Visitors Council

Chips will fly in Encampment during Woodchoppers Jamboree

in Travel/Community

By Cowboy State Daily

The chips will fly in Encampment this weekend as competitors from around the region gather for the town’s annual Woodchoppers Jamboree and Rodeo.

Participants will face off in a number of competitions based on skills common to the timber industry, such as sawing through logs using hand saws and power saws, wood splitting and axe throwing during the event.

Celebrating its 59th year, the celebration to be held Saturday and Sunday got its start when lumberjacks, unable to get into wooded areas because of wet conditions, would get together to compare skills, said Doreen Harvey, who organizes the woodchopping events with her husband Ron.

“When they were unable to work in the springtime … they thought it would be fun to get together for a competition,” she said.

Events such as the handsaw competitions grew from skills lumberjacks had to possess to bring lumber out of the forest, Harvey said.

“A lot of the competitions are based on what the timber industry used to be,” she said. “Handsawing and chainsawing are no longer the predominant way that they log.”

But competition by both men and women remains brisk, even though a number of participants are not involved in the timber industry.

“Some of them are just sportsmen who like to compete in things they are good at,” Harvey said.

Competitors come from a number of states, such as Colorado, South Dakota and Utah, in addition to Wyoming, she added.

Woodchopping events will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will feature contests such as tree felling, using a handsaw, a team handsaw competition, using a chainsaw, axe throwing and pole throwing, where contestants are tasked with throwing a large piece of timber as far as they can.

Points are awarded in each competition and the man or woman with the highest point total at the end of the weekend will be named the Rocky Mountain Championship Lumberjack or Jumberjill.

Several events will also be held just for fun, Harvey said, such as the “Mad Loggers Chainsaw Throw,” where competitors attempt to throw a heavy replica of a chainsaw as far as they can — just as frustrated loggers do when their chainsaws won’t start. Plenty of activities will also be available for children, Harvey said, such as a greased pole climb, a sawdust pit and axe and pole throwing competitions for youngsters.

“We’re trying to keep it a family-friendly event,” she said.Wyoming Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeos will also be held Saturday and Sunday.

“(The Woodchopper’s Jamboree) is a good side-by-side event for the rodeo,” Harvey said. “Rodeo is also a big thing in this town.”

Other event during the weekend include a pancake feed and parade on Saturday and a melodrama on both Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on the Woodchoppers Jamboree and Rodeo, visit https://www.wyomingcarboncounty.com/events/event-list/34-woodchoppers-jamboree-and-rodeo

In the Platte Valley, ice fishing derby a community affair

in Uncategorized/Recreation
Video courtesy of Mike McCrimmon.

Ice anglers from several states are on Saratoga Lake this weekend for the annual Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby. The weekend, always the third in January, includes a special Small Fry Derby for children under age 14.

Last weekend Platte Valley kids took to Treasure Island Pond on the Silver Spur Ranch to learn all the basics. And catch fish. Our report is from Cowboy State Daily videographer Mike McCrimmon.

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