SANDPOINT — Plenty of snow and good weather conditions greeted snowshoe racers at the 4th Edition of the Western Pleasure Snowshoe Roundup recently, held at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch near Sandpoint. The event features 5K and 10K snowshoe races for adults and a short distance Buckaroo race for the youngsters.
In the adult races, a total of 60 racers from Washington, Montana, and Idaho participated. Both race courses are scenic, but challenging, and consist of hills, meadows, forests and open areas on machine and snowshoe packed trails. Soft snow on much of the course on race morning made the courses even more demanding.
Area racers claimed many of the top spots, led by Gwen LeTutour (28) and Katie Adams (28) of Sandpoint, who claimed first place male and female in the 10K races with times of 43:03 and 51:06, respectively.
Barbara Hume (60), also of Sandpoint, placed 3rd in the women’s event in 1:08:45. Other local finishers in the 10K race include Keith Hertel (54) 48:43, Vern Eastley (45) 52:25, Adam Kusler (42) 1:02:50, Jim Mellen (68) 1:12:33, Barbara Brown-Crockett (59) 1:12:54, Celeste Grace (53) 1:17:00, Katie Labier (56) 1:21:22, Deanna Vick (53) 1:31:40, Pam Hewitt (56) 1:35:00, Peggy Gaudet (47) 1:36:08 and Carol Wright (74) 1:36:10.
At 74, Wright of Sandpoint was the most senior finisher in any of the races. Last year, she qualified for and participated in the Boston Marathon for the first time. She has qualified once again this year and will be competing in Boston on April 17. Race Director Dennis Aslett wishes her luck in Boston.
In the 5K distance, Tim Douglas (58) of Priest River secured first place in the male division with a time of 36:31. The women’s 5K was a clean sweep by Sandpoint women. Maize Trempert (27) finished in first place in 41:01, followed by Debbie Van Dyk (58) second in 44:29 and Elisa Eastley (15), the youngest finisher, placed third with a time of 49:31 in her first snowshoe race.
Other local finishers in the 5k race included Tom Riggs (72) 48:02, Rolland Trempert (61) 51:06, Georgia York (66) 1:21:00, Catherine Ford (64) 1:21:00, Camille Belfanz (31) 1:27 and David Belfanz (32) 1:27:00.
The races are open to all ages and abilities. Adult racers ranged in age from 15 to 74 with nearly half of the adult racers over 50 years of age and three over 70. Seven youngsters signed up for the kid’s Buckaroo Race. This is a short distance race and is not timed. Racers ranged in age from 6 to 11.
The race has been a regional qualifier for the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships and is sanctioned by the U.S. Snowshoe Association. Several Western Pleasure racers have participated in the National Snowshoe Championships in the past.
The Nationals are held in different regions throughout the country on a rotating basis and this year will be held in Bend, Oregon on March 24-26. Races include 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon distances.