Kelsey Hilton rides Acadia as she pulls skier Charlie Simpson around the final corner and over the last jump during a February 2019 skijoring competition at Eaton Mountain during Somerset SnowFest in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file photo.

The Topsham Fair Association will host the first skijoring racing competition at the Topsham fairgrounds on Feb. 12.

A traditional Scandinavian competition melding horsemanship and skiing, skijoring is a racing sport where a skier hangs on to a rope attached to a horse and glides across the snow. It is a team time-trial race.

Marie Brillant, the Topsham Fair Association vice president, said Skowhegan had been the only town to host skijoring races for many years in Maine.

“My daughter attended the event in Skowhegan last year, and it seemed like an awesome thing to have in Topsham,” said Brillant. “When I approached the fair’s board of directors about doing this event at the fairgrounds, they thought it was a great idea to get the sport going.”

Brillant said they plan to get as many people as possible to participate.

While the total cost of the event is not determined, Brillant said they would like to keep it around $5,000, excluding the prize money that will be decided later based on the number of registrations they receive.


She added that they are raising funds through various sources and hopes to meet the expenses.

At least 21 volunteers are working on preparing the racetracks at the fairgrounds.

“The volunteers will shape those jumps and get those prepared,” said Brillant. “We will have Topsham trail riders that will groom the track so the horses will have the footing. We will have a veterinarian, a blacksmith and a food vendor at the venue.”

Brillant said they would only have one food vendor as they do not know how many people would attend the event.

“We do not want to have too many food vendors and then not make it worth their while to come,” said Brillant. “They are doing us a huge favor by coming out in the winter.”

Topsham resident Caitline Rice, who participated in a skijoring competition for the first time in Skowhegan last year, said she is excited that the racing competition will be held in the town.


“I am incredibly excited,” Rice said. “My horse (LeeRoy) and I usually do endurance riding during the summer months, sometimes riding 25-50 miles in one day. Typically, we travel several hours to get to a competition, so having the competition right in town is great.”

Rice added that having the event in Topsham is a great opportunity for the community to get out and have some fun during the winter.

“I think everyone is pretty beat down with COVID-19, and what other big event does the area have to look forward to this time of the year,” said Rice. “It is nice to have a reason to get in the saddle during these cold, dreary winter months.”

Brillant hopes that there is enough snowfall by the event day.

“We are praying that mother nature will provide us with enough snow,” said Brillant. “We are stacking the snow so it could last longer. We have had a snow truck to build the jumps, and we also have a large snowblower to put snow where we need.”

Hand sanitizers and masks will be available for visitors attending the event. However, considering it is an outdoor event, Brillant said they would not enforce mandatory masking.

The registration for the event will start Jan. 15. The entry ticket is priced $5 for a single person, $15 for a family and $50 for a team of skiers and a horse rider.

For more details, visit

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.