THE HISTORY OF THE CUTTERS
The Jackson Hole Cutter Races have long been a valley tradition, with the 47th annual event originally scheduled for February 17-18, 2018 on Melody Ranch. Since 2012, Jackson Hole Skijoring has joined the Cutter Races in providing visitors and residents alike with a great winter spectator sport. Skijoring is scheduled for February 10-11, 2018 on the Snake River Ranch, east side of WY Highway 390, across from Teton Village.
Cutter Racing — a quarter mile race between two wheeled chariots pulled by teams of two thoroughbred horses and driven by a single driver — dates back to the 1920s in northwestern Wyoming. The first organized races in Jackson Hole began in the 1940s, running down Glenwood St. past the Wort Hotel. By the mid-1960s, the event had outgrown Jackson’s capacity to host and moved to Afton. In 1972 the Jackson Hole Shrine Club raised the necessary funds to build a starting gate and bring the Cutter Races back to Jackson. With the support of Paul Von Gontard, the Shriners have built a staple winter event in Jackson Hole.
After several event cancellations in past several years due to unsafe track conditions because of warm weather, and a growing hesitation to run cutters teams on snow, the Jackson Hole Shrine Club was faced with an incredibly difficult decision at the end of 2017. It was determined that the Cutter Races would be cancelled indefinitely, as the Club did not feel that they could deliver a high quality event with significantly fewer teams planning to attend and race, and the looming threat of last-minute cancellation.
In 2018 the Shrine Club has opted to host a Winter Carnival - the concept behind this event to to still provide the Jackson Hole community and the many visitors who have traditionally come to the valley to attend the Cutter Races with a fun, outdoor weekend event. Plans for the Carnival are underway, and attendees can expect fun-class completions for skijorers with dogs, fat bikers, and sledders, along with a variety of family and childrens' activities, food and beverage, music, and fantastic raffle and competition prizes. All proceeds will, as always, benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah.
THE CUTTERS MAY NOT RUN, BUT THE SHRINERS ARE DETERMINED THAT A CHILD STILL MAY WALK