Horsing around

Snowdown got a jumpstart last weekend when the National Ski Joring Association brought its second sanctioned event of the season to Vallecito Reservoir on Saturday. Riders on horseback pulled skiers through an extremely fast course consisting of two jumps and two sets of rings. More than 35 teams competed in the open division Saturday. The National Ski Joring Champion will be crowned later this winter in Red Lodge, Mont.

(mouse over photos for captions)

Rider Kelby Decker digs his heels in as he prepares to cross the finish line.

Melinda Ellison enjoys the event from atop the scorers' table.

Rider Brad Krelkemer and his horse Cocoa pull skier Ryan Dee through the first jump on the race course.

Skier Dave Connors steadies himself as he passes the second set of rings.

Auctioneer and event announcer Tim Craig takes bets from the crowd on which team will win the event.  More than $1000 was awarded to the lucky bidder who chose the winning team.

Skier Aaron Cisco concentrates on holding onto his rings as he exits the first jump.

5-year-old Evatt Salinger and 4-year-old Ellie Duke, both of Durango, watch the action from the sidelines.

Jason Dahl goes airborned as he flies by the scorers' table.





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