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WinterFest competition winners announced

SUN Columnist

Even though there was minimal snow, WinterFest activities went well and the crowds came out to support the events.

The weekend kicked off with the annual Chilly Bowl and Cribbage Tournament. Gallons of chili in a variety of colors and flavors along with some soups and cornbread were in abundance.

The winners of the chili contest were: green chili — Smoke n’ Moes; Red Chili — Pagosa Brewing; Posole — Kip’s Bar and Grill; and “other” was Peak Deli with their green chili chicken soup. The People’s Choice Award went to individual participant Martie Henderson for her red chili submission. The cornbread winner was Rick Santopietro with his moist, delicious cornbread.

Tim Sullivan and Narrow Gauge played a wide selection of western music and the dance floor was full. The winner of the cribbage tournament was Samantha Armistead.

All of these winners will be walking around spending Pagosa Perks dollars — so make sure you accept them at your business.

We had three dedicated teams that braved the sledding hill on Reservoir Hill on Saturday, Feb. 5.

First and foremost, many, many thanks to the volunteers of the Rail Jam, which followed the sled race. They brought in and spread at least seven truckloads of snow just so everyone could use the hill. It was a wonderful collaboration and we appreciate all their efforts in making the hill usable for the Sled Race and the Rail Jam.

The course was shorter, but we did have one good crash. Isaac Syverson in his wheelbarrow creation won the Best Crash award on his last run. Isaac, however, also won the Best Time Award with the best average time of 5.5 seconds.

Close behind Isaac with only one-second difference was the duo team of “Team Danger” back for their second year in their faster canoe. The Best Decorated Sled went again this year to the Quinn family — Tanya, Jeff and their son, Vander, with their “Bob” Sled Team. It is amazing the amount of time that they spend each year designing yet another creative sled. Congratulations to all the winners.

Rail Jam

Saturday activities continued with the first Rail Jam hosted by the Skaters’ Coalition. Proceeds from this event, over $1,200, will go towards Phase II of the skate park.

The winners of this event were: Adult Snowboarder Competition: first place, Daniel Roeder; second place, Mike Kissle; and third place, Steven Roberts. In the Junior Snowboarder Competition, Bradley Lamoreaux took first-place honors with Andrew Grant taking second place. From the Skier category, Ashley Tippetts was the first-place winner and Conner Aragon took second place.

A good time was had by all with great food, lots of high-flying activity and all for a great cause.

Penguin Plunge

Over $14,000 was raised for area agencies by hearty, brave souls that plunged into the frigid 31 degree waters of the San Juan River on Sunday, Feb. 16. Hundreds of people watched from both sides of the river as 18 people cavorted, swam and froze for the bragging rights and contributing financially to Pagosa’s various needs. We would like to thank this year’s participants — the most plungers we’ve had in five years.

GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) raised over $3,900 for their organization. They had six and one-half plungers: Maddy Stewart, Kat Green and Candace Wolf were the Filly Plungers, Michael and Mely Whiting were the Intentional Hypothermia plungers, and individual plungers Jacob Miskimens and Connie O’Donnell.

The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs had the three-person plunging team, the Humaniancs, consisting of Mindie Comer from Colorado Springs, Jason Aguilar and Arthur Luckhaus, raising $2,441.

Jan Santopietro, three-year plunge veteran, plunged on behalf of the Realtor Association’s Bucks for Bikes program, donating over $500 to that cause.

Mary Jo Coulehan plunged for the Pope John Paul II Food Bank, raising over $600 for this organization. Mary Jo is the longest-running Penguin Plunger, having attained her five-year pin.

Close behind Mary Jo is Merlin Wheeler, who has plunged for the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging organization for four years now. Merlin raised $435 for SJBAAA.

The Native Sons duo of Kevin Muirhead and Eli Stephons plunged for the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, with Kevin celebrating his second plunge. They donated over $2,000 to the Pregnancy Support Center.

New to the plunge this year was Anything Goes sled race veteran Jeff Quinn plunging for the Friends of the Pagosa Multi Purpose Pavilion. He raised close to $900 for this new building effort. Jeff sustained a broken ankle during the plunge and we wish him a very speedy recovery. As if the cold water wasn’t painful enough! Heal fast, Jeff. The other half person was Michael Whiting, who was also plunging for the Pagosa Springs Youth Center, which will receive over $500 from his efforts.

Balloon rally

We ended up with 14 balloons launching on Saturday and Sunday mornings downtown and on the west side of town, respectively. The balloonists were thrilled to return to Pagosa Springs during the winter season. The weather cooperated both days and we hope that many a photographic opportunity was garnered and that several pictures will be submitted for our calendar later this year. We particularly want to thank the lodgers and Bob’s LP, without whose sponsorship and support this portion of WinterFest would not occur.

Membership benefits

We have been talking about membership benefits and your knowledge of them the past few weeks. How many members actually went to the Chamber website and looked up their listing and description?

Start out your refresher course by looking for your listing and checking out your business description. If you cannot locate your listing by category, are you listed in the correct category?

Schedule an appointment with Jan Santopietro, membership coordinator, to find out how we can better place your business.

You can easily find out more about these topics and much more at the monthly Maximizing Your Membership class on Monday, Feb. 24, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Not only is there a lot of information, but a free lunch is also offered for attendees. Reserve your spot now by contacting the Chamber. Whether a new or old member, you will walk away with lots of information and new ways to market your business.

Membership news

Our new members this week are Papa Murphy’s and Side Street Sushi.

We would like to thank our members for renewing this week: Backroom Wine Bar and First Crush Olive Oil Tasting Room, Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship, Inc., Alpen Haus Ski Center, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Lobo Outfitters, Action Fire & Safety, Lee Riley, Scott Strategic Investments, Lisa Saunders and Records and Data Management.

Our non-profit agencies include GECKO and the Pagosa Area Trails Council.

We are grateful for a busy renewal week. Remember that you can pay your membership invoice online. Check with us if you need your login information and pass code.

Again, thanks to all our WinterFest sponsors. The Chamber has a bit of an event break, but will be hitting summer full force with the Car Show at Pagosa in May.

This story was posted on February 20, 2014.