Posted: Jan 20, 2013 9:26 AM by Brin Merkley - MTN News
SEELEY LAKE - It was all smiles Saturday during the fourth annual winter biathlon, which brought out first timers, national champions and spectators alike.
Friends Andrew Gonzales and Caleb George traveled nearly two hours Saturday morning to try their luck in the Seeley Lake Challenge Biathlon.
Despite having only four days of Nordic skiing under his belt, Gonzales says he borrowed a friends clothes, boots and ski's and hit the track.
"It just sounded like a good idea. A good way to spend a Saturday," he said.
The sport involves skiing loops and shooting accuracy, so it's no wonder why so many Montanans like George are eager to try it.
"Well, I like to ski, and also I like to shoot. So I kinda grew up shooting here in Montana, and I also like to ski...my family kind of got me into both of them young and so I decided to come out and see what I had in it."
The race offered categories for both classic and skate skiers of all ages with shorter length courses for youth, kids and children. The race was not only challenging but physically demanding.
Finishing his first 9K biathlon in sixth place, George says the challenge took more effort than he expected.
"I was going pretty hard all they way. I'm pretty beat down right now. [I] could use a refreshment," he told us.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez finished in seventh place. "Smoked the competition. [I] Left it all out over the course. I'm ready for a beer now," he said.
Competitors paid $30 to participate in the race, which began at 10:30 a.m and wrapped up at around 2 p.m