Welcome to White Pine Stampede 2017. After all these years this is like the biggest family reunion on the planet. I have spoken often about the relationship between our volunteers and the competitors. One of the reasons I have hung around for the entire 41 years is the pleasure I get from hearing about the volunteer preparation and observing the interaction on race day.
When this event first began, and I somehow became involved, the two villages of Bellaire and Mancelona were not the best of friends. (I am not suggesting they are great friends today, by the way). However, one day a year we all get together to help our guests enjoy a day of great skiing in the hills and woods of Antrim County, followed by a great social gathering sponsored by Short’s Brewing and Shanty Creek Resort.
We will be saying goodbye to two members of the Organizing Committee this year.
Pug Sliger, after 39 years has declared himself too old to any longer organize and lobby on behalf of the volunteer group. Maybe before there was such a thing as an Organizing Committee I was able to convince Pug that it was fun standing at the 50 Kilometer finish for several hours. He and I spent a year or two working together before he assumed the job of Volunteer Coordinator upon the departure of Kathy Jabara. As a friend, I certainly hope Pug hangs around the race for years to come, if for no other reason because he misses all of us still working.
Joanie Fleet has also announced 2017 as her last year. Like so many others on the committee or as volunteers Joannie has been working with us in various capacities for over three decades. She began by working on the trail, at a checkpoint, with her husband Bill in 1986. Soon thereafter Bill took the reins of Chief of Course and Joannie became the race secretary. Joannie later joined Bill, on the committee, as the Social Coordinator charged with organizing the post race gatherings including the volunteer party. With the passing of Bill to Cancer Joannie hopes to spend more time with her children. We again are hopeful Joannie elects to hang out with us on future race days.
This year Short’s Brewing Co. and Shanty Creek, in conjunction with the White Pine Stampede are sponsoring the First Annual King/Queen of the Hill Uphill/Downhill Race. This uphill/downhill/uphill and downhill (with gates), utilizing the non motorized equipment of your choice, begins at 10:00 AM at Schuss Village. The race will be accompanied by the Short’s Starcut Ciders Brunch at Ivan’s Café, located in the Schuss Village complex.
Because of the overwhelming crowd at the post race party last year we are installing a new system for this year. Each entrant will be given two blue wristbands which will be necessary to obtain entrance to the food line. The wristbands will be in your participant bag. There will be a charge of TEN DOLLARS for all other individuals wishing to eat. The Short’s beer will remain at TWO DOLLARS per pint.
I believe I can speak for the Race Committee, the over 200 volunteers and the residents of Mancelona and Bellaire who look forward to welcoming our guests to the 2017 White Pine Stampede.
I look forward to seeing you February 4, 2017.