The White Pine Stampede Committee announced a new director and committee members as they kick off official preparations for the 44th annual race to be held Feb. 1, 2020.
Ben Tarbutton served as a committee member and course director for several years, so he is well equipped to take over as Race Director for Beth McKaig, who served in this capacity last year after the death of her husband and race founder, Jack McKaig.
Tarbutton said his main priority is to continue the White Pine’s tradition as the oldest point-to-point cross country ski race, so the course layout and promotion will be the focus of the committee this fall.
“We plan to make some adjustments to the course this year in order to maintain as close to a 50K race as possible,” Tarbutton said. “We also hope to expand our promotion of the event to continue attracting new racers as we have for the past 43 years.”
Tarbutton added that Shanty Creek and Short’s Brewing Company will continue to be major sponsors of the event, and he and other committee members are working closely with officials from both organizations to finalize the course and the race day schedule.
“Right now, the committee is focused on recruiting additional sponsors for the event, so we can expand our promotional outreach and bring more people into Antrim County,” Tarbutton said.
With the departure of long-time committee members Geri Jones and Joe Clark, new members were recruited to take over their responsibilities.
Steven Elder, of Mancelona, will step in to help coordinate the volunteers on race day. Approximately 200 people from Antrim County come out each year to make sure the event is successful, and Elder will make sure every station along the three courses are filled as well as all of the finish line and timing duties.
Lindsey Southwell, also of Mancelona, will maintain the White Pine Stampede website and take over the design of the registration forms and posters.
“Although we were sad to see Geri and Joe leave the committee, they have committed to volunteering for the race still, so they will still be a part of the volunteer family that makes this race successful year after year,” Tarbutton said. “We are also excited to have Steve and Lindsey on board to bring their talents to the committee. We have some great things in store this year.”
Along with Tarbutton, Southwell, and Elder, the White Pine Committee includes Rebecca Kendall, Alyse Tarbutton, Beth McKaig, Laurie Allison, and Stacey Hicks.