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“Elephant Races” at 10,000ft.

Margot’s grandmother had a famously dry wit. Margot writes,

My dad, Jack, grew up in a very tiny rural town, where nothing exciting ever really happened. Once, Grandma and her equally crazy friend Ag were picking up their kids from school and taking them to the city park down the street. The traveling circus – including a few elephants – had just come and gone, which laid the foundation for the following:

As they were walking to the park that day, Grandma and Ag start looking into the distance, through the trees in the park, exclaiming “Oh, look, there are the elephants, I bet they’re going to race! Kids, do you see them? This is going to be great!” The kids start craning their necks, looking around, befuddled, “We dont’ see them! Where are they?” Grandma & Ag: “There they are! They’re lining up, there they go! Now they’re running behind the tennis courts! Here they come around the bend!” All the while the kids are crestfallen because they don’t see anything, and keep moaning “But we didn’t see them! Where are they?” Cut to Grandma and Ag laughing hysterically.*

So, you might readily imagine that when Jack told me that Leadville featured teams of horses that pull skiers down Main Street, flying over jumps and collecting rings on their arms, I gave him a long & skeptical gaze. “What’s next,” I thought, “he’s gonna tell me that the word ‘naive’ isn’t in the dictionary?” And yet, dang if it wasn’t true! Behold the bizarre, obscure, and thrillingly dangerous sport of skijoring! Here’s a little gallery plus some video of the goings-on.

*The second half of the “elephant race” story happened about 25 years later when Margot’s Grandpa had a car dealership near main street. Again, a circus was in town with their elephants, but this time they were legitimately advertising elephant races “downtown” (which was all of about 4 blocks long). On the big day, Crazy Ag and her husband Les grabbed their lawn chairs, set up next to my Grandpa’s dealership garage, and waited and waited and WAITED for elephant race, which they never saw. Turns out, the race was on a different street and they had missed the whole thing!

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