Results from a great WinterFest 2013

SUN Columnist

WinterFest 2013 started off with the inaugural Chilly Bowl. There were more than 30 entries of various types of chili and cornbread. Pagosa showed off some great cooks — from homes and restaurants.

The winners were:

• Green Chili: Justin Landry and Don Pastin, chefs at Farrago Market Cafe.

• Red Chili: Dan McCabe of Smoke N Moe’s.

• Posole: Joe Maloney, co-owner of Kip’s Grill & Cantina.

• Vegetarian Chili: Keith Gillihan, new chef at Alley House.

• The “Other” category: Lisa Hayes with a venison stew.

The cornbread winner was Nello’s Bistro.

For the People’s Choice award, the popular vote was tied between Greg Pilgrim serving up a red chili, and Stacy Kirby serving a white chili.

We would like to send a grateful thank you to our co-hosts, the Ross Aragon Community Center, and to all the volunteers who assisted with the event — especially those from the Community United Methodist Church, Pope John Paul II Catholic Church and St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. We would also like to thank Kip’s Grill & Cantina for their sponsorship, providing all the bowl inserts for the tasting. Lively music was provided by Caitlin Cannon + the Artillery and the evening was very festive.

Plans are already being made for the 2014 Chilly Bowl and Cribbage Tournament.

The winner of the Cribbage Tournament was Mike McDowell, with Rod Pepper coming in second and the youngest player of the tournament, John Gustafson, coming in third.

The Snow Sculpting Contest was cancelled due to lack of participation.

The sled race brought out five creative participants, and enthusiastic spectators, despite the snow and wind conditions.

Posting the fastest average time and coming in second in creativity, thereby giving them top honors, was the Team Danger Zone with head cheerleader Ian Weerstra.

A three-man team in a canoe entertained the crowd by “going aground” several times.

Second was the Mighty Quinns with their delightful bed on skis, complete with a menagerie of stuffed animals. Their creation garnered them the most creative, and with the second best time, they made it into the final top selections.

Best crash was tied between Chris Brown and his built-in kneeling pad on a snowboard and Ian Lewis and his “soapbox” style bullet. Great effort also goes out to Mark and Finley Jeansonne.

The Snowman Stomp Snowshoe Romp on Saturday attracted twice the participants as last year, with 44 people competing in a 1.5 mile loop in blowing snow and deep powder conditions.

The overall winner was Jurgen Montgomery with a time of 13 minutes, 12 seconds, followed by Pat Flynn at 16:12 and Andrew Baros at 17:45.

The Nordic Club will present a list of winners and results for their events in a separate article.

Finishing up the weekend was our Sunday extravaganza — the Hot Toddy for the Body Contest and the Penguin Plunge.

The River Walk was lined with cheering spectators as they watched 14 individuals brave the 31 degree waters of the San Juan River.

Plungers jumped for the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, Seeds of Learning, the Humane Society, Pope John Paul II food bank, the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, the Pagosa Springs Youth Center, the Life Teens at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church and the Senior Center.

Over $9,000 was raised on behalf of community nonprofits — an increase over 2012. The plungers raising the most money did so on behalf of the Pagosa Springs Youth Center.

As crazy antics occurred in the river, Boss Hogg’s garnered first place on the shore with their Hogg Chocolate Toddy and Pagosa Brewing Company came in second with their Grog-Cranberry Hot Toddy in the Hot Toddy Contest.

None of these events could take place without a tremendous amount of volunteer work, so we thank everyone who helped throughout the weekend, whether you were warm inside or braving the outside elements. Special thanks goes to Mike Hayward, DJ Dude, for providing sound and music during the Penguin Plunge in winter conditions. Haven’t seen speakers on sleds before. We also want to thank our fire and EMS departments for being on hand in case there were any emergencies. They were there in full regalia to assist the plungers out of the river and aided us with encouragement as well. Thank goodness there were no mishaps again this year.

Another WinterFest special thank you and congratulations goes out to Melissa Buckley, producer of Outlaw Snowdown. Even in the face of personal tragedy, this Pagosa native didn’t miss a beat and produced a first-class concert on Friday and Saturday nights.

This was a busy WinterFest weekend, which doesn’t happen without lots of hard work, volunteers, support from businesses and individuals, and participation. We hope we will continue to boost participation at the various events, so Pagosa’s WinterFest weekend continues for years to come.

Ride the Rockies grant

Ride the Rockies and the Denver Post Community Foundation awards $5,000 every year in each community that hosts the Ride the Rockies tour. This year, qualifying non-profit organizations in Pagosa Springs can compete for this grant.

In order to apply for the grant, organizations must meet the following criteria. They must provide services for low-income children and youth through recreation, education or the arts and/or agencies that offer direct-service literacy programs. They must be a 501(c)3 agency that has been in operation for more than one year. The funding cannot be used for capital projects, individual schools, individual persons, religious organizations for religious purposes, or by an organization with an annual budget lower than $35,000.

Grant applications are due by mail by Friday, March 15, 2013, at the Denver Post Community offices. Applications can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce in hard copy or a grant application can be e-mailed to your organization.

This grant award will be a wonderful opportunity for one worthy nonprofit in Pagosa Springs this year. The grant will be awarded during the June ride through Pagosa.

Contact Mary Jo Coulehan for more information, or Ride the Rockies contact information listed on the application.

The Chamber will also put out information about vendor booths to non-profit agencies this week. The due date for a response is Feb. 25.

Women’s conference

Only one week left to register for the first in the three-part Women’s Conference Series.

The first session, “Dancing With Stress/Managing Overwhelm” will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20, at The Springs Resort and Spa in the EcoLuxe from 4-7 p.m. The late-afternoon/evening session will include two guest speakers, a social hour with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and some energizing networking opportunities.

The guest speakers are Puja Parsons, co-owner of Growing Spaces and wellness advocate. The opening speaker will be Dr. Nicola St. Mary, owner of Pura Vida Natural Health in Durango.

Both women will give tips on taking small or first steps to balance your life, how to handle stressful situations, and even foods that could aid your mood stability. The speakers will provide simple, logical steps that you can enact in your life now.

If you are an employer, we encourage you to give some of your female employees a wellness afternoon for only $7 per person. Is this small fee not a great reward to the employee, while improving your work environment with a healthier staff?

Seating for the conference is limited, so book your space now by calling the Chamber at 264-2360, or by going online at


We have one new business to welcome to the Chamber this week. Jeff Dodds is the new owner of Farmers Insurance. Located at 46 Eaton Dr., Suite 7, Farmers Insurance offers home, auto, life and business insurance options. Jeff’s goal is to exceed his customer’s satisfaction. Stop in, shop your current policy and try out Farmers Insurance.

Renewing this week are Dale construction with Eddie Dale; Third Generation Outfitters with Forest Bramwell; DJ Dude; Larry Holthus, Attorney at Law; and the San Juan Outdoor Club.

Don’t forget to attend the next Imagine Downtown public meeting that will be held Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center. We will discuss items such as a clean-up downtown event to coincide with Clean-Up week or a Reservoir Hill clean-up. The Time Bank will make a presentation and there will be discussion about a structure at the Overlook. All are invited and encouraged to let their voices be heard.

This story was posted on February 14, 2013.