Son and Father Quednow take the top two spots at a very fast and competitive Athens Snowshoe Race, Wisconsin’s most Udder Fun. What a beautiful snowshoe day for a fast race: sunny and mid 20’s temps providing the back drop for the cream of the crop for this version of the celebration of things white, like snow AND milk!
Jeffrey Quednow, a very fast 18-year-old snowshoe racer, led dad, Mike, at the finish by 44 seconds, giving him no break at all with a 23:25 time, the only person to finish under 24 minutes. With these fast exploits on snow, the Quednow Duo is renaming their hometown from Westboro, Wisconsin to Fastboro.
And a big day to perform, too, with a record 185 entered to feast in these fast times. This race is definitely a Wisconsin event as only two snowshoers — the sixth overall finish, Jim ‘Braveheart’ McDonell and the 153rd finisher, Kelsy Rnafranz-Fisher , both from Minnesota — kept it from being a cloistered affair.
John Brylski followed Mike by a few seconds, next was Jay “C.J. Snowshoe” Punke another handful of seconds to finish in 24 minutes, or so, followed by a few ticks by Bill Bellendorf of Chelsea.
Kristi Speer of Phillips won the women’s class and was 14th overall, a terrific finish with this level of competition. Following a minute later, Ashley Woest took second edging by a few ticks Brittney Coehoorn. Lori Spotte of Medford took fourth by seven seconds from the first over-50 women’s finisher, Mary Lucas of Rhinelander. “Whew, finally a not-20 something year old,” noted RD Chris Kepner,
The most senior snowshoers of the day included National USSSA Medalist, Roddie Larson, Menasha, and Ron Brylski, from Lake Tomahawk. On the other end of the age classes comes the first under-10 finisher, Samual Hallgren, another prodigy from Medford, finishing in mid-pack, and this was a big pack, with a 42 minute time. The future of snowshoeing is big if evidenced by the group of young under-10 finishers, girls and boys, at the Udder, such as: Carley Lipinski, brother / sister teams Porter and Lorissa Thorpe, and Tanner Wagner-Durr edging out six year old sister, Madison Wagner-Durr, followed by Beth Wilson whose mom, Kim, ducked the finish line to officially record a DNF. Race Director, Chris Kepner, said, “We had a total of 19 under the age of 12 doing the entire race! We really encourage families.”
And it works; Jim McDonell commented how the whole race was a family affair, “There had to be 30 or 40 families snowshoeing this event.” Jim turned some eyes racing in his Braveheart kilt at the start (see picture). “He made eyes turn in Athens,” quipped Chris, “Jay Punke also wore a kilt!” There is talk of an all-kilt mountaineering division in that tough class (five-foot snowshoes and a weighted backpack) for 2011.
“The 3.25 mile Trail was perfect! Start and finish was at the Black Creek for a 1/4 mile heading into the single track for about 50 meters. Then onto double wide ski trail. Rolling to flat terrain, all trees and meandering along the scenic Black Creek.”
The awards celebration included 40 (!) door prizes given away, including two pair of snowshoes from Rib Mountain Cycles of Wausau and the Silent Glide Canoe and Kayak of Medford.
The ever popular “Udder Plunge” hooked 25 deranged souls including the required leap by the Queen. Horse drawn sleighs were nearby giving rides, providing protection if anyone needed help getting out of the frigid flow.
The Kepners are professional artists with the photography company, Kepner Photography, which has a huge gallery of pictures from this race. Go to the website, www.kepnerphotography.com and click ‘the online store.’ The gallery has a suspense date, so don’t tarry about this, check it out now.
Chris wanted to express gratitude, “I’m sure as in any race, but I have so much appreciation to my workers and volunteers. They go above and beyond for this race. I have such great community support and great friends to come help.” The Udder is Utterly a fun, fun time.
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United States Snowshoe Association www.snowshoeracing.com