Community event

Popular U.S. National Toboggan Championships on horizon

Event scheduled for Feb. 8-10 at Camden Snow Bowl
By Mark Haskell | Jan 08, 2013

Camden — The 23rd annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships are a few weeks away, with anticipation building among competitors and spectators for the popular wintertime event.

The weekend-long event, which will feature many different activities, will kick off Friday through Sunday, Feb. 8-10.

As of Jan. 15, 93 of the 100 two-person team slots had been filled, along with 92 of the 100 three-person team slots and 118 of the 200 four-person team slots. There are also 22 spots remaining in the experimental division.

Racers from all over the country and beyond — ranging from Maine to California and outwards to Prince Edward Island — have signed up for the even, which will include several trips down the 400-foot wooden chute.

Andrew Dailey, marketing director for the Camden Snow Bowl, said roughly 6,000 to 8,000 people attended last year's event, which brought in roughly $425,000 to area businesses.

Dailey said The First is the gold sponsor among banks for the event. He said the Snow Bowl is "always looking for more sponsors to sponsor the event," which vary from gold, silver, bronze and copper.

VIP parking for the full weekend is $125, while it is $8 for daily parking. There also will be a shuttle from Washington Street (across from the Camden Town Office) to the Camden Snow Bowl — a $2 round-trip ride.

The following is a preview of events throughout the weekend:

On Friday Feb. 8, the toboggan chute will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for those wishing to take practice runs. The price is $5 per person.

Registration for competitors also begins at 10 a.m., while registration for ice encampments is $20. There is no preregistration for ice encampments, which must be registered upon arrival.

Vendors also will open Friday, while the West Bay Rotary Club will host the "Down the Chute Beer and Wine Challenge" from 3 to 7 p.m. in the chili tent.

On Saturday, Feb. 9, the opening ceremonies are slated to begin at 7:30 a.m., while the two-person races will begin at 8 a.m., with the three-person races to follow. All two- and three-person teams will race twice before noon.

At noon, there will be a memorial sled run for three prominent people involved in the event over the years. Those people are Jeff Kuller, Ken Bailey and Don Gross, all of whom died in the last year.

Dailey called the men "three great individuals connected to both the toboggan event and the Snow Bowl."

Kuller, the director of Camden Parks and Recreation (and the Snow Bowl), died Nov. 4, while Bailey, who spawned the idea for the initial toboggan event and a well-known member of the community, died July 10. Bailey was a longtime timer of the races and the timing shed near the chute is named after him.

Gross, also affiliated with the Snow Bowl and the toboggan championships, was a member of the redevelopment committee to help build a new lodge. He died March 15.

Following the memorial sled run, the experimental division will run its races, followed by the first round of four-person races, which will run through the rest of the day.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, the second round of four-person races will commence at 9 a.m., while the finals for all divisions will begin in the early afternoon. The awards ceremony in mid-afternoon in the chili ten will conclude the event.

To register for the toboggan championships, visit online at camdensnowbowl.com or download the form online and either fax or mail in an application.

Correction — An earlier version of this story listed the wrong bank as gold sponsor of the event. The correct gold sponsor is The First.

Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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