Skijor International® honors and pays tribute to the 2016 Skijor Overall Team Champions:
Open Overall Team Champions: Joe Scanlon, Mud D Duck, Toby McIntosh
Sport Overall Team Champions: Dan Burggraff, River, Aaron Griffen
"The Skijor Overall 2016: A Post Script"
We remain optimistic that The Skijor Overall will ultimately serve to unify our community, build awareness and support for skijoring, encourage community and teamwork and above all reward excellence, but in its initial stages, The Skijor Overall has also served to unearth valid concerns within our sport.
In our last email, it was explained why we felt points for two horses (and their riders) should be eliminated from the Sport division. Statistics were included to illustrate this point. Since we have had no negative feedback as a result of our announcement, we take this as a sign that the community at large is in agreement with our assessment and decision. If not, please speak up and share your thoughts.
Now, because the result sheets from a single race were difficult to interpret correctly, the points have changed once again. Skijor International® wishes to thank Matthew Smeltzer at Competitive Timing in Whitefish for responding to our email promptly and explaining why the combined results from Whitefish showed four Open teams as being DQ'd. This has been corrected, and we apologize for any inadvertent errors which resulted. Awarding points has proven more involved and complex than anticipated.
As a result of this conversation, Skijor International® inquired as to why the runs were not timed to the thousandth of a second. Matt explained that, indeed, they had been, and that he still had this data. We immediately asked for him to break five ties, two in Open and three in Sport. This changed the 2016 Skijor Overall points even more! Next year, hopefully, all races will be able to eliminate tie breaks.
Clearly, The Skijor Overall remains a work in progress, and 2016 has proven very instructive. While points may have shifted a bit in the past week, the "Champions", as announced in the initial email blast and on Facebook, remain the same in our mind and the order of names in 1st, 2nd & 3rd Places should not matter that much. The closeness of the point spread distinguishes these three skiers, riders and horses as the "Leaders" of the 2016 circuit so the "Mission" of the Overall has been accomplished.
Thus, let us applaud those who in 2016 consistently upheld the values and standards which all of us in equine skijoring should strive to uphold: sportsmanlike conduct, fairness in competition, mutual respect for our fellow competitors, organizers and officials and above all a dedication to teamwork, not self-glorification. Those riders who have trained and bonded with their ranch horses and, together with their noble equine counterparts, have been tested on a variety of tracks, skiers who have been pulled to victory also over multiple courses and in a variety of conditions and all of whom have maintained a humble and quiet approach on the road to success have earned everyone's respect and should be honored.
Accordingly, Skijor International® wishes to recognize two outstanding Teams for The 2016 Skijor Overall:
Open Team Overall Champions: Joe Scanlon, Mud D Duck, Toby McIntosh
Sport Team Overall Champions: Dan Burggraff, River, Aaron Griffen
In the Open Division, Joe Scanlon relied entirely on his trusty companion, Mud D Duck, a horse which he rescued and trained to skijor many moons ago, for yet another skijoring season. In time, Mud D Duck will be a skijoring legend like Dana Stiles', Merlin and Erica Hutching's, Elliot. Together, this rugged pair competed in four races, proving their combined skills on both straight and curved tracks and pulling their two "go-to" skiers to multiple first place wins. Toby McIntosh was one of Joe's skiers, but Toby also proved his "metal" behind at least five other riders/horses this season on four different race courses, one which was the season's most challenging courses for skiers and riders alike, Jackson Hole. He had 18 top 10 finishes to Tyler Smedsrud's 25 top 10 and Greg Dahl's 20 top 10 finishes! Wow!
In the Sport Division, Dan Burggraff showed his skill on a horse new to skijoring named River, owned by Russ & Kelli Kaufman of Helena, Montana, and on which he earned 47 of his 63 points. His only other Sport horse was Doce. While Dan pulled a variety of skiers including Connor Buckley and veteran skier, Rob Poirier, Aaron Griffen emerged as Dan and River's "go to" teammate and Aaron had the "right stuff" to win the Sport Division Overall skiing to victory behind two other horses as well (one of which happened to pull him faster than most Open Division horses). Aaron competed in more races than any other Sport skier, racking up a total of 20 top 10 finishes, and mastered a variety of course designs and conditions.
Thank you One and All, for competing in 2016. We look forward to a successful season in 2017.
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