PINEDALE — Main Street Pinedale’s biggest fundraiser of the year is nearly here! The 2024 Pinedale Winter Carnival, held from Feb. 9-11, is a family-friendly event that dates back to the 1950s and features plenty of winter weather festivities, including skijoring, SnoCross races, a snow sculpture contest and the Cardboard Classic downhill sledding competition, among numerous others.
Volunteers and the agencies involved have made quite a push to make the winter carnival happen this year amid unseasonably warm days with little snow accumulation. Main Street Pinedale Managing Director Kaddy Fyfe-Shivers said, “The lack of snow and the melting of the available snow the last couple of weeks has made it very difficult to pull enough snow together for the Winter Carnival.” She noted that between “the town public works crew and the county boys, we have had to do some relocation and scaling of snow to get enough to have the events this weekend.”
Snowmobile trail ride and show
Jason Riedel’s snowmobile trail ride on Friday, Feb. 9, and the Snowmobile Show on Saturday, Feb. 10. The trail ride takes place in the Upper Green, with a 10 a.m. meetup planned at the trailhead in Kendall Valley. Hot chocolate will be served.
Riedel hosts the “hugely popular” Snowmobile Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 210 W. Pine St. in Pinedale. This is the second consecutive year for the snowmachine show and Fyfe-Shivers said Main Street Pinedale is “thrilled to have him back!”
All types and styles of snowmobiles are welcome to participate, including vintage and new sleds.
The top five snowmobiles voted for People’s Choice will receive trophies. Contact Jason Riedel for more information at 605-321-9553.
Hotdog eating contest
New this year is the hotdog eating contest. The event takes place during the welcome party and check-in on Friday, Feb. 9, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room, 155 S. Tyler Ave. The contest is open to the first 10 people who register in each division. All hot dog eating contest competitors must be registered and checked in by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8. Contestants must be 16 years of age or older. If the competitor is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must also sign the registration from.
Contestants will be split into three divisions where they’ll compete for cash and trophies. The goal is to eat as many hotdogs and buns within 10 minutes. Water will be provided. Condiments will be provided upon request.
First-place finishers in all three divisions will receive checks for $250. People who complete the contest in second place will each receive a check for $100. Third-place finishers will receive checks for $50. For more information or to sign up, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScGR0Uzt81CSoa_s5MYO2euzcA5lRuL8iTl88TqKIooIcVPCg/viewform.
Around 50 teams have already registered for skijoring this year. Fyfe-shivers said Tuesday that “it is still touch and go on skijoring and we should know by Wednesday if we can still have that event. We are doing all we can to try and build a track for this event.”
Folks can register for skijoring between 4 and 7 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 9, during the Hot Dog Eating Contest at the Lovatt Room. Skijoring begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, at the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds, 9886 HWY 191. Mandatory competitor meetings are planned at 8:50 a.m., both mornings.
More than 120 teams registered to skijor in the 2023 Pinedale Winter Carnival, with folks traveling from all over Wyoming and the Mountain West to compete at the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds. During the timed, Skijor USA-sanctioned event, a skier is pulled by a horse and rider over a 700-foot-long course, navigating moguls and collecting rings to avoid penalties.
To register for skijoring online in advance, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdrYIpo20SKOfvE2_RuOV0QeBSNHChNEr9SbZr5qVYJwevauw/viewform.
As part of the snow sculpture contest, teams use hand tools such as trowels, saws, buckets and picks to manipulate 4’ x 4’ x 8’ blocks of hardpacked snow into works of art. Artists began carving their blocks on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and may continue through Friday, Feb. 9. There are five snow sculptures this year.
The final works will be judged through a public poll beginning on Friday and the winner will be announced at Saturday’s Snow Ball.
“Shout out to the Town of Pinedale public works department, Kevin Mitchell and his crew for finding us enough snow for those five sculptures,” Fyfe-Shivers said Tuesday.
The Cardboard Classic starts Saturday at the Burzlander Sledding Hill at the bottom of Fremont Lake Road and features contraptions of all sizes and complexities in three categories of competition: Junior, age 12 and under, Teen/Adult, age 13 and up, and Family, plus Most Creative Craft.
The Town of Pinedale has been grooming the track for a couple of weeks and adding snow as it becomes available. Sleds used by competitors in this event must be constructed solely of cardboard, duct tape, glue and paint. All other materials are prohibited.
Participants are encouraged to dress in costumes to complement the themes of their cardboard crafts.
Registration is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, with a 2 p.m. start time for sledding. Admission is free. Trophies will be awarded to the fastest family, fastest adult, fastest youth and the people’s choice. Participants and spectators alike should park up by the Museum of the Mountain Man, as parking on the side of Fremont Lake Road is prohibited.
The Wind River Brew Pub hosts the Snow Ball, with live music provided by The Man in Tan, dancing and delicious food from 7-11:30 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Fyfe-Shivers said The Man in Tan is “a phenomenal entertainer who takes the stage with a mix of your favorite covers and original songs, spanning the genres of rock, blues and country.”
The Kids’ 120CC and 200CC SnoCross snowmobile races follow Sunday’s skijoring. The event continues to grow in popularity amongst area youth. Tiny tots navigate child-sized snowmobiles over a makeshift course with age-appropriate ramps at the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds.
“The kids put on a great show and really know how to have a great time,” Fyfe-Shivers said.
Participants will earn Season Points towards Wind River Youth Snowcross. For more information, contact Kendra at 702-830-1742.
A heavy lift
For Main Street Pinedale, pulling off the annual Winter Carnival, involves months of preparation and planning. The Pinedale Winter Carnival could not happen without the local businesses and organizations who step up and sponsor a weekend of fun-filled activities. Fyfe-Shivers gave a “huge shoutout to all the guys in Pinedale Public Works and the county crews who have worked really hard to get us snow where it needs to be and packing it down to where we can use it.”
Fyfe-Shivers said the Pinedale Travel and Tourism Commission, Town of Pinedale, Sublette County and the Recreation Board each play a pivotal role in bringing the Winter Carnival to fruition. Volunteers from the Pinedale Lions Club are also heavily involved in the Winter Carnival weekend.
“Sublette County and Pinedale’s people come together to make a Winter Carnival that is hard to match,” Fyfe-Shivers added.
For a good cause
Main Street Pinedale, a nonprofit organization run by volunteers, took over the winter carnival in 2016 and the event now provides an economic boost to the community and local businesses. Money raised at the event is used to fund economic development and operate the farmers markets, downtown beautification, business façade grants and historic preservation.
A complete schedule of events, registration forms, rules, information about horse boarding for skijoring, vendor forms and additional information about our favorite winter weekend can be found at www.mainstreetpinedale.com/winter-carnival.