Leadville Ski Joring Championships

This weekend was the 2010 Annual Leadville Ski Joring Competition. The Leadville ski joring event has been going on in since 1949 and is considered the premier event of its kind in the country.

The sport it is a timed race with skiers being pulled by horses on a track with large jumps and flat landings. In between the jumps the skier must try to spear small circular rings while swinging from one side of the track to the other – at speeds in excess of 40 mile per hour. Missed rings add 2 seconds each to your time. With average times of less than twenty seconds a single missed ring, with skiers of this caliber, will cost you the event. The winner will have the most rings and fastest time. Ski joring is no simple feat – particularly the Leadville race.

Last year, for the 60th annual race, I had the good fortune of making the draw and was able to compete. I wiped out on the first jump. My apologies to the rider and the man who wagered $250 on me. Video evidence below.

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My wipe out was nothing compared to Chris Anthony’s (former Alaskan Extreme Skiing Champion, veteran of 9 World Extreme Skiing Championships and 20 Warren Miller films) fall in the 2007 races. He didn’t walk away from his. Video evidence below.

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To get a real idea of the sense of speed, tradition, and community this ski joring event brings to Leadville watch this documentary by Foresight Multimedia. To get a sense of what the skier is seeing watch this first person video on youtube. To get a sense of my attitude before the race, read my interview in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Devil May Care

Mike’s entry on the Advocacy of the Devil is excellent. He brings up a great point:

Nothing is more infuriating that to be on the verge of an intellectual victory with a worthy opponent and then hear them say, “I was just playing Devil’s Advocate.” The correct usage of the Devil’s Advocate does not involve just the countering an argument. The advocate of the devil is there to sharpen an idea, and therefore is actually on the same side as her “opponent”. Additionally, the use of the Devil’s Advocate needs to be invoked before it is used. To invoke the Devil’s Advocate after it has been applied is to use it to cloak mean-spirited or useless argument.

I had never thought of this before. I have used the “oh, I was just playing devil’s advocate” excuse to back my way out of a losing argument tons of times and never realized how much of an asshole I was for doing so, until I read this.

I apologize to anyone I may have ever pulled this crap on.

Back In Black

Despite my earlier experiences I participated in a karaoke night again. This time is wasn’t nearly as much of a disaster as last time. Not to say it wasn’t a disaster though. I rocked out AC/DC’s (I wish my keyboard had a lighting bolt symbol on it) “Back In Black”. It’s a great song for karaoke because you can basically scream the whole thing. I had always thought that I had wanted this song as my theme tune. A theme tune, in my ideal world, is the song that plays behind me anytime I enter a room full of friends, family, or strangers. It doesn’t play when I enter toilets, funerals, or hospitals.

I haven’t decided if it’s necessary for one to be able to at least sing along to the entire song before it is allowed to become your theme tune. Or maybe just knowing the words should be enough. If either of those requirements are put into place, I have some work to do before I can claim “Back In Black” as my theme song.

I think I brought the house down though, despite my screwing up what I thought was the “daddy loose mama goose” line. My apologies go out to the old man in the front row who was so horrified by my performance, and his experience, that he refused to look me in the eye during the entire song.

On a not-so-completely different subject, I have a new book review up.