Saratoga chariot races set for February 16-18
The 27th Annual Donald E. Erickson Memorial Chariot Races are scheduled for Feb. 16-18, 2007, in Saratoga, Wyo. Chariot races are one great answer for anyone looking for excitement and an opportunity to get outdoors to enjoy a winter weekend.
The event, held during Presidents’ Day weekend, is put on in cooperation with the Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga Lions Club. The races also serve as the Interstate Championships.
On Friday, Feb. 16, the gathering place will be the Wolf Hotel. There will be people to meet the racers to help with directions or other questions.
There will be a no host cocktail party at the Wolf Hotel for all the racers starting at 6 p.m. with appetizers provided by Rawlins National Bank of Saratoga. Other guests are also welcome. The Calcutta will follow at 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday night, Feb. 17, the banquet and Calcutta will be held at the Platte Valley Community Center Multi-Purpose room. Happy Hour will start at 6 p.m., followed by the Wolf Hotel’s great prime rib dinner. Dinner tickets are $30 per couple.
The Calcutta will start at 8 p.m. following the banquet. There will also be Calcutta betting at the track both days.
Post Time for the races at the Buck Springs Arena northeast of Saratoga will be 1p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, and 11a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18. A small admission is charged for spectators and non-team members.
Only members of Interstate will be eligible for the “Dave Pennock Good Times Trophy,” sponsored by Rosemary Erickson-Hobbs and the Interstate Racing Association Traveling Trophy, both given for the weekend’s best individual combined time. Drivers also have to be a member to qualify for the first place awards in each division sponsored by Teton Distributing, and cash prizes sponsored by the Saratoga Lions Club and local sponsors.
Any person or club can become a member of Interstate by sending $25 for a club membership or $20 for an individual membership to Nora Jewell, Box 423, Saratoga, Wyo., 82331. Each team will also receive a gate pass for two and two banquet tickets donated by Platte Valley sponsors.
On Saturday, a race will be picked at random to be the Norm Epler Memorial Race. The winner will receive a hand blown glass chariot team, donated by Patty Lufkin. To add a little humor, Turtle Awards are also given to the slowest team each day.
The American Legion Auxiliary and Odd Fellows, as well as local restaurants, will be serving breakfasts each morning downtown. Lunch and concessions, sponsored by the local Boy Scouts, will be available at the track both days, with proceeds going to support Scout activities.
Official chariot races feature three chariots per race pulled by two-horse teams. Racers originally used horse-drawn sleds with razor sharp runners, called cutters, for racing on snow packed tracks during winter months. Today, for the safety of the horses and the lack of dependable snow conditions, wheeled chariots are used.
The Saratoga Lions Club, sponsors of the event, have adopted written Cutter and Chariot Racing Rules as of December, 1997. The rules are specifically designed for safety as well as clarifications including which infractions could disqualify a team or driver.
Drivers must be at least 17 years of age or older, must be a member of their own association and have driven in three races. Other rules include: drivers shall not be fastened or attached to the chariot in any manner and teams shall not move out of their lane in a manner that interferes with or impedes another team. Disqualification for infractions may be made by the stewards and judges per the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) rules.
Barn space will be the same as last year. When teams are called in, barn space assignments will be given. Anyone who was here last year will be placed where they were last year, if possible.
Teams should be called in as soon as possible, and no later than Wednesday, Feb. 14 to Nora Jewell, (307) 326-8357, or email@example.com. Please advise her of any special problems or needs, such as sharing of harness, headers, etc.
For more information or help in finding lodging, call Nora Jewell or the Saratoga-Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce at 1 (866) 828-8855. A complete list of lodging facilities can be found online at: http://www.saratogachamber.info.
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.