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World Shovel Races to Highlight Winterfest

LAS CRUCES--Imagine racing down a snow-covered mountain on a shovel. Participants will get a chance to do just that during the World Shovel Race Championship held in Angel Fire, Feb. 5-7.

"The World Shovel Race Championships are a lot of fun, whether you are participating or watching," said Mike Cook with New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) project. "There just aren't too many events in New Mexico or anywhere else where you get to watch people race down a mountain on a shovel."

REDTT, a program of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, promotes agriculture through tourism.

According to race officials, shovels used by racers have evolved from "the standard 10 scoop shovel with ski wax as the only modification, to racers that have more in common with a stealth fighter."

The modified speed class, for example, allows racers to add a host of aerodynamic contraptions to their shovels to increase their speed. The modified unique class recognizes shovels built not for speed, but for their unique appearance. Participants in the past have made their way down the course in an entire living room, a re-creation of the Taj Mahal, a beach scene and a chicken sandwich.

The races are part of the Winterfest '99 and the World Shovel Race Championships, contact Angel Fire Resort at (505) 377-4237 or check out the resort's World Wide Web site at http://www.angelfireresort.com/shovels.html.

You can also contact REDTT at (505) 646-8009, or check out its web site at www.nmsu.edu/~redtt.