Winner of the Professonal Category
Snowmobile Fun & Games
Softball Games in the Snow...and Cold.
A Bonfire to warm the spirits.
by Gary Noland
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
January 8, 1998
Seeley Lake hosts probably the largest winter celebration for any town its size, or larger, this coming weekend.
It's been deliberately planned to include everyone of all ages, sizes and varied interests with spectator events as well as a host of events designed for your participation.
Sponsored by the Seeley Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, the three-day weekend begins Friday with judging of the featured snow-sculpting contest, a Christmas tree bonfire, an awards gathering and auction.
Everyone's up and around early Saturday with softball games in the snow, cross-country ski races and clinics, a parade, sled dog rides and mutt pulls, snowmobile games, kid games, and early evening fireworks on the lake.
Sunday softball games continue and there's soccer for young and old as well as the every-popular snowmobile poker run. Saturday and Sunday mornings, special pancake breakfasts at the Elk Horn Cafe are on the agenda.
According to Gary Miller, chamber president, everything is falling in line for another spectacular Winterfest, and some snow falling earlier this week has helped. Businesses have donated monies for advertising and promotion. Prize money of around $1,200 alone has been set aside for snow sculpture winners.
Following is a brief description of what you can expect:
Wetherell and Kim Bezanson co-chair the snow sculpture contest committee,
and piles of snow around town were attacked by amateurs and professionals
alike early this week as it takes several days to transform the snow piles
into inspired creations.
Contestants must have entry cards for the committee no later than 5 p.m Thursday. These are available at Wold's Valley Market, Rovero's, or the Clearwater River Realty office. The entry cards are needed to compile a list for judges to make the rounds, starting at 11 a.m. Friday, and choose winners for the $1,200 in prize money.
Categories are adult professional, adult amateur, under-18 groups (3 or more people), and a new category this year for under-18 snowmansubmit your entry, build it, and the judges will come byanywhere in town.
Special awards are made for the People's Choice. Drop your vote at voting boxes in Rovero's or Wold's Valley Market. Vote all weekend. The award will be announced in next week's Pathfinder.
Alpine Artisans also offer a special award in addition to the regular judging.
Christmas Tree Bonfirea fun way to dispose of your Christmas tree is to join scores of others and toss it on a bonfire at the Filling Station parking lot in front of the Laundromat. Should make a good-sized warming fire for cooler temperatures expected. This starts at 5 p.m.bring a tree.
Awards & AuctionThe Double Arrow Lodge is the place to head to after the Christmas tree bonfire. Because of a shortage of wild game from this fall's hunt, there is no traditional "wild game feed" as in past years, but the Four Seasons Restaurant at the Double arrow is offering wild game dinners, as well as seafood, for sit-down dinners starting at 5 p.m. But, the action starts at 7 p.m. with the Snow Sculpture Contest winners being announced, followed by a chamber fund-raising auction inside the lodge. Outside the lodge, kids and families are welcome to enjoy another bonfire and hot chocolate. Ed Bezanson said more auction items can always be used, "...the more the better," so call him at 677-2777 if you have something for the auction.
Snow Soft Ball TournamentLast year this was an amazing event as 10 teams played softball in 20-degree-below-zero weather. Joe Moderie, chairman of this event, said "...last year's weather may have scared a few away," but he still has six teams lined up with a good chance at least two more will come through. There will be at least one local team, with the rest from Kalispell and Missoula. Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday (as well as Sunday), spectators can watch this action at the Seeley Elementary ball field where two different games will be underway at one time.
Nordic Ski Races & ClinicLast year was a first for this event, and interest is high again as members from local businesses and organizations compete in the Biz-Org Nordic race, begining at 9 a.m. at the Seeley Lake Nordic Trail System northeast of town on the Cottonwood Lakes Road.
Lynn Carey heads up the Seeley Lake Ski Club's effort here. The Biz-Org race features three-man teams running the timed course. The races will continue all day, but starting around noon, or later (see inside story for more), Nordic ski lessons will be offered for all ages the rest of the day. Rental equipment, provided by Seeley Lake Fun Center, the Tamaracks, and Garth Sports of Missoula, will be available for would-be participants to try out.
Carey says the trails are "groomed and in relatively good condition" for your enjoyment.
Parade: 11 a.m.Similar to the Fourth of July, but shorter in duration, is the annual Winterfest Parade, which will start at 11 a.m. Saturday. Entries should gather on the Cottonwood Lakes road off Highway 83 prior to the start. The parade will run south on Highway 83 to School Lane (the car wash area) where it will pull off the highway.
Bruce Johnson and Larry Marx head up this committee. Johnson said this is a "fun" parade, with "no judging" and "no categories." "Just come on down and have a good time," he said, adding that entries can show up at the last minute. There will be band group from Seeley Elementary under the direction of Tom Larson, as well as the fire truck retinue and other entries.
Lunch, Dog Sled Rides & Mutt PullDog Sled rides have been one of the more popular events in past years and will probably draw a crowd again. This year's event is hosted at the Wapiti Resort (at the north edge of town behind the Elkhorn) by Ramona and Bill Holt with help from Sue Heagy and Norman Lee.
Lunch will be served, starting at noon, in the Golden Garter Saloon. Free Sled Dog rides for adults and kids (though donations are appreciated) will start at 1 p.m., as well as the Kid Mutt Pulls.
Lee, last year's Race to the Sky chairman, has lined up three or four sled dog teams for the rides.
For the Mutt Pulls, kids are encouraged to bring a dog, a sled or toboggan, and a rope line and harness (some harnesses will be available). The kids and their "mutt" will be timed over a short distance, with prizes for winners. These events will continue throughout the afternoon.
Snowmobile GamesThese spectator-pleasing games return to the downtown area at the Filling Station parking lot this year and get underway at 2 p.m. Saturday. Events include an inner tube obstacle course race, a team hot-dog race where the driver is blindfolded and directed by a passenger to steer underneath a hanging hot dog where one big bite must be taken, a mini Snowcross course race on Kitty Kats for kids, and a popular "bra & skirt" race with the adults riding Kitty Kat machines.
Gary Guse of Seeley Lake Fun Center heads up these games and requests entries by 1:45 a.m. before the 2 p.m. start. "Bring a machine, show up and have fun," Guse said. Several Kitty Kat machines will be available, but anyone who owns one can also contribute, he said.
Kid GamesMostly for the younger ones, but anyone from pre-school through eighth grade, according to Sally Johnson.
There will be snow volleyball and leg races and any other games that might be dreamed up, she said. These will be held at the One-Stop field along Highway 83 and get underway at 2:30 p.m.
Fireworks on the LakeArno Puluci again heads up this committee and sets off a spectacular 20-30 minute display of three-inch mortars. He will be assisted by Frank Paxton and Bryan Wieder.
Head down C Street off Highway 83 to the shoreline. The $700 fireworks display starts promptly at 7 p.m.
Pinochle Tournament"We're just going to play pinochle," said John Burt, head of this entertainment at the Seeley Lake Senior Citizen Center, just off Highway 83 and Locust Lane.
Game playing starts at 7 p.m. with a $2.00 entry fee. Payback is 80% of the pot, Burt said. So, just show up. There will be plenty of tables.
things wind down on Sunday, but snowmobilers are just starting. Registration
for a poker run starts at 9 a.m. at the Community Hall. The run will be
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Snow Softball Tournament continues through Sunday, starting at 9 a.m.
Snow SoccerTheresa Friede heads up this event, which will take place at the High School football field Sunday, starting at 11 a.m.
There are 47 kids in the soccer program here, but Friede is not sure how many will show up.
There will be a kids' game starting at 11 a.m. and an adult game starting at 12 noon.