Wesley Chapman, 18, of Craig gets air off a jump. Chapman will be one of many Craig Snocross riders on display at the Wyman Winter Festival Feb. 16.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Wesley Chapman, 18, of Craig gets air off a jump. Chapman will be one of many Craig Snocross riders on display at the Wyman Winter Festival Feb. 16.

Snocross to headline Wyman Winter Festival

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This ramp at Wyman Museum is part of the work being done to prepare for Feb. 16's Winter Festival. There will be XMR Snocross races, a vintage snowmobile race and freestyle snowmobiling throughout the day.

Quotable...

“There will be great competition in the Snocross, but also you’ll see how many good riders Craig has. There’s nowhere else around here with as many good riders as we have.”

— Jay Wagner, of Craig, about the strong presence of Snocross in Craig

One of Craig’s best winter activities is back next weekend, and returns at full strength for 2013.

A lackluster winter coupled with little snowfall forced staff at the Wyman Living History Museum to come up with new activities for last year’s winter festival.

But snow has fallen in plentiful supply and has stuck around through February, meaning this year’s festival will be everything it has bees been in the past.

And it is a significant spread Wyman’s has planned. There will be a flurry of activities to entertain guests from the time gates open at 9 a.m. until the event’s culmination Saturday night with freestyle snowmobiling and fireworks, said Wyman Museum’s Nicky Boulger.

Among one of the activities slated during the daytime hours is a cardboard sledding competition with winners for the best decorated sled, fastest sled and people’s choice. The event also will feature a chili cook-off, draft-horse pulls, and the fishing derby.

But one of the bigger draws throughout the day will be what wasn’t available last year — Snocross.

City and county employees have been diverting plowed snow to Wyman’s all winter and two Snocross tracks are currently being constructed for the event.

The morning will kick off with races for Xtreme Mountain Racing — a Snocross racing league for Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Several Craig riders are defending champions in various divisions from last year, and will be on display in Craig for the first time since the 2011 festival.

“We did it two years ago, and it was a hit,” Boulger said. “Everybody really seemed to enjoy it. They do put on a really good show.”

Craig has defending champions returning to the event, including Tallyn Wagner, 7, and Wesley Chapman, 18, as well as numerous riders of every age in between.

“There will be a lot of great Snocross riders there, it will be fun to watch,” said AJ Stoffle, 14, an XMR 2012 champion.

The best part of getting to host a race in Craig, according to Wagner’s father, Jay, is that it gives the community a chance to see how strong Craig is in the sport.

“There will be great competition in the Snocross, but also you’ll see how many good riders Craig has,” Jay said. “There’s nowhere else around here with as many good riders as we have.”

For the first time there also will be races on an oval track featuring vintage sleds, 1986 and earlier, that will showcase an old school racing style similar to Craig’s dirt track car races at Thunder Ridge Motorsports Park.

At the end of the day riders from Warrior Freestyle and 2013 Winter X Games Snowmobile Freestyle bronze medalist will put on a freestyle show.

“It’s kind of neat this year that we actually do have somebody who performed in the X Games and placed,” Boulger said.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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