Skiing meets Western at skijoring contest in Sundance

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Rapid City, SD Skiers were shredding up Main Street in Sundance, Wyoming - for the third annual Winter Festival.

And skijoring was the main event taking the spotlight, Saturday.

Shannon Gaylord, a skier, said "Well there's a lot more challenges. You're going over jumps and you have rings you have to grab and so just the thrill of pulled behind a horse."

This skier is taking her downhill skills to Main Street .

Gaylord said "You take off and you just hold on."

This is Shannon's second year competing in skijoring at the Sundance Winter Festival.

Athletes take the reigns behind a horse and rider, cutting between obstacles, and collecting rings along the way.

Ty Dean, the announcer, said "So as soon as they hit the ground after going over a jump, they're just sliding back and forth. Really athletic competitors here at Sundance."

About 40 skiers and their horseback riding sidekicks raced to the finish for the best time.

Top qualifiers skied the 800 foot course in just about 12 seconds.

Mac Erickson, the public works director, said "Last year, and of course this year, they're getting tougher and tougher. Harder to ski them and harder to make them work."

Organizers start collecting snow after winter's first storm in the end, totaling about 350 truck loads of powder to cover the street.

Erickson said "In the middle of February, everybody's got the winter blues. We're tired of the below zero temperatures. We want to get outside and do something. And what a better day? Sun's out, 50 some degrees."

Dean said "You know, it's a beautiful day in the middle of February. You can't ask for better weather."

And there was something for everyone, with several other events and vendors lining the street.

Organizers expected a record-breaking 2 thousand people to come out for Saturday's event.

Dorothy Greenwood, a chamber member, said "It brings a lot of people to town. And that's our goal. We love our lttle town and we want everybody to come and see it and enjoy it."

Skijoring competitions take place across the country, but it's still fairly new to the Black Hills area.