Cowboys swapped boots for bindings Saturday at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., for the track's first Extreme Horse Skijoring competition.
Whipping down the stretch of track at speeds of up to 40 mph, skiers hold on to a rope attached to a galloping horse. In between grabbing plastic rings placed along the track on one arm, skiers catch big air — and sometimes face plant — off more than six-foot-tall snow jumps.
Rider Ryan Wolosyn said, "it's a whole different animal," compared to the skiing he did growing up in Wyoming.
Skijoring originated in Scandinavia and typically uses dogs to pull skiers. Racing behind horses caught on in the American West in the 1940s and the world championship was held in Whitefish, Montana on Jan. 27 this year.
The weather cooperated for Minnesota's first Extreme Horse Skijoring competition. The company that hosted the event, Extreme Events MN, also puts on local rodeos and bull soccer.
On Saturday, the sun was shining, Canterbury Park's stands were nearly filled — and no one went to the hospital.
The winning teams of horse, rider and skier won small cash prizes in the events for snowboarders and skiers. The riders and skiers got belt buckles as well.