Bar Stool Races Bring Out the Competitive and Zany
DRUMMOND - The bars are a favorite hotspot for any sports fan.
In one Northland town, they've taken the idea of sitting down at the bar to watch your favorite team to a whole new level by taking the drinks and stools outside and in the process creating a new sport, making it one big northern Wisconsin tailgate party.
Drummond, Wisconsin is a small town of just over 500 people and some say that may be on a good day, but each year, on the Saturday of President's Day Weekend, one event increases that number by more than 10–times.
"You know, at the beginning it was just mainly us club members (SnoJacks Snowmobile Club) that were racing and now it's turned into this huge event," said Craig Manthey, the event's organizer.
Fourteen years ago, Manthey, a Drummond native, came up with the idea of a ski race on bar stools after seeing the event while living in Montana.
"All of a sudden I got talking with them and I said you know, maybe we should start doing the bar stool races. They all looked at me like I was crazy," said Manthey.
This is how it works: there are two people per team, one rider and one pusher. The first person to cross the finish line with their bottom still on their stool is the winner.
"The key is reckless abandonment. Really, that's all it is. If he can push me off the hill first I'll do everything to win," Jared Peahler, a two-time Drummond Bar Stool Race winner with his brother Paul.
Nathan Gall, of Drummond said, "The speed is all about the push and the good skis keeping it aerodynamic."
It may not look like it, but believe it or not there are rules for bar stool racing.
Manthey said, "They have to be a certain height, ski width, no steering and you can't have a third ski. So, there are some. I mean it's fairly sophisticated."
However, in order to maintain the event's excitement and quirkiness, organizers included an 'Open Class' that debuted last year.
"Last year, we were able to do a pinball machine. We like to put unique things that people can't normally get their hands on, on skis," said Gall.
But, whether competitors come to win or are just there for show, they all come because they can't get enough of the zany small town tradition.
"I talked to a couple when I was registering them today and I said gees you're here for another year? They said yeah, at least one more year. I don't think they can give it up," said Manthey.
The Bar Stool Races also serve as a fundraiser for the Drummond Snojacks, helping the local snowmobile club raise money for things like trail grooming, snowmobile safety classes and other community projects.