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Sunday, February 10, 2002 -- Champion, PA
WPSC Ski Rally/Ski Dummy Race (iPO Event Id#: 4732)
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]
[2001 Event Coverage]

Ski Dummy
Even the dummies had a tough time
The Western Pennsylvania Ski Council (WPSC) was at it again on Sunday. That would be having fun on the slopes in every way imaginable. While the weather didn't want to cooperate (some tough conditions out there), it was no match for the enthusiasm and smiles brought to 7 Springs by the Ski Dummy crews and the Ski Rally racers.

This day began with pushing dummies (as in a mannequin built on skis) around the slopes. From there it was on to some sort of scavenger hunt/poker run with clever clues thrown in. In the end it was a party with numerous awards for everything including luck, style, and speed... and throw in a little card playing skills, as well.

Back to where it all began, and that's the dummies. The "official" rules are simple, dummies must be at least 4 feet tall and have four or more limbs. They also must be no more than 150 pounds, and we're sure there's a few other rules thrown in for sportsmanship (and probably safety). Then again, you know what they say about rules.

The awards this year were in three categories, each worth a not too shabby $100.00 for first. Each dummy had a chance at Most Creative, Fastest Run, and Best Crash to earn a winner's check.

Ski Dummies
The cast included Uncle Sam, Harry Potter, Hero Fireman & Statue of Liberty
With a distinguished panel of judges on hand, the Most Creative award went to the "Statue of Liberty" on skis. It was a creation by the Milcarzyk family, members of the Mon Valley Ski Club, and was quite a work of art. It was a tough decision, but only one could be awarded first.

The Fastest Run award was a little easier to determine. A short downhill course was set up with each dummy sent down on a mission to get to the finish line as fast as gravity would take them. The finish line was actually a safety rope that was lifted to stop the dummies from careening off into the 7 Springs lodge.

Keeping with a common patriotic theme, "Uncle Sam", complete with sparklers glittering from his tall hat, made the quickest go of it. And again it was representatives from Mon Valley - Deb, Jim, Erin and Angelo - who padded their wallets.

The final category, and often getting the biggest cheers from the crowd, was another judgment call for the "Best Crash". As it turns out all the dummies made it safely down the hill, until they hit the finishing rope. Getting the worst of the clothesline was the "TFT Doll" created by the folks from Lionsville.

Ski Rally
Let the adventure begin
With the weather holding for the morning dummy race, things got ugly by the 2:00pm start of the Ski Rally. The rain was on and off, sometimes it was a soaking downpour. Then came a heavy fog that engulfed the entire mountain. Never-the-less, over 50 fun-hogs formed into 14 teams of families and friends ready to weather whatever the weather.

Each team was given an initial clue that would lead them to one of four "clue masters" somewhere on the slopes. Once they found the first, they were given another clue to find a second, and so on until they had successfully found all four and returned to the lodge. And there was a roughly 2 hour time limit. If you succeeded, you were eligible for a poker hand (or poker game is more like it) to determine another $100.00 winner.

The weather did little to dampen the spirits of the teams. Actually, it appeared many folks thrived in the strange conditions that covered the mountain. In the end, almost every team completed the task with Bill Lever and crew finishing the fastest in just an hour and twenty minutes.

Even though your time means nothing, Bill's teammate John Matisko commanded him to "Tuck it in, tuck it in!" It seems their team wanted to be first to finish. Realizing they were in second after getting the last clue, Bill accepted John's request and took off for the finish. "It was his fastest run the whole weekend," said John with a big grin.

Gabriel
Just five, playin' outside...
and loving it
The real prize went to lucky Team #13. George Tarazzi, president of the Greater Johnstown Ski Club, played his cards right and took home top dollar for his team. It was the largest team, six members of both the Tarazzi and Perl families, including the youngest rallier of the day, 5-year-old Gabriel.

But the prizes didn't stop there as numerous random awards where handed out late into the evening. Even Team #5, whose team member Katie declared, "We're the coolest team, we should be champs," got their due. Mom agreed they should be champs, but had another reason, "because Katie's the goofiest."

Champ, goof, kid, poker player... it didn't matter. It was a fun day for everyone and all the smilies couldn't hide it.

A big thanks are in order for those that made it possible, and we'll start with the fine folks at Yuengling. Then there's the wonderful hospitality of 7 Springs Resort along with the hard work put in by the organizers, Paul Shade, the Westmoreland Ski Club, and the Greater Johnstown Ski Club. Finally, how about the volunteers who sat out the storms as "Clue Masters"? That would be Donna Mallory, Sam Pollak, Dave & Darlene Yutzy, Bob Snoby, Tony Garaventa, John Klemenix and Karen Martin.