Kicking up dirt |

Kicking up dirt

GOWD brings chariot races for first time

Hooves thump the dirt as horses leave the starting chutes in their dust, literally.

Racers couldn’t have seen much if they’d turned around, which they didn’t. They kept their focus on one thing: the finish line.

“The adrenaline rush is incredible,” Steamboat Springs chariot racer Kathy Duncan said Sunday. “I love it.”

This was the first year the event has been held in Craig in conjunction with Grand Olde West Days. Two days of racing brought out a few teams from the Yampa Valley Chariot Racing Association, based in Steamboat.

Duncan and her husband, Ed, have been racing for about 30 years. Neither like to ski, and this sport keeps them active in the winter.

The race here in late May is rare, Duncan said, because the circuit season runs from November to March. But she enjoys not having to bundle up in a coat and mittens to race.

Plus, she said, the track at the Moffat County Fairgrounds is uncommon; there are only a few fairgrounds tracks left in the state.

From the start block to the finish, the track run is 410 yards, whereas races usually go 440 yards. But she said the Craig track is one that needs to be kept.

Organizer Jackie Roberts agreed and said maintaining the track will be good for the community.

“I know (chariot racing is) starting to drop off a little bit, and I wanted to help pick it up,” she said.

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