Lake Cushing Classic draws largest crowd ever |

Lake Cushing Classic draws largest crowd ever

What do a Viking, Evel Knievel, SpongeBob SquarePants and a flower pot have in common?

They all tried to cross Lake Cushing during the 14th annual Lake Cushing Classic at Squaw Valley USA on Saturday, April 24.

More than 300 people circled the greenish pond at the base of Mountain Run to get a glimpse of the 50 contestants daring enough to participate in what some regard as the area’s wackiest pond crossing.

The goal for each contestant was to get enough speed down the snow ramp to cross the pond on skis or snowboard and reach the other side. Some failed. Some succeeded. But, regardless of their result, each participant found a way to entertain the crowd, which, according to Squaw spokeswoman Katja Dahl, was the largest in the event’s history.

This year’s event included the traditional array of innovative costumes. Local psychiatrist and Matchstick Production film star Dr. Robb Gaffney donned a bear suit for his crossing as Rudy Bear; Chad Delong, 48, from Palo Alto, filled the role of the standard hula girl and Larry Rutledge tried to cross in a homemade SpongeBob SquarePants costume.

“At least he was smiling the whole way down,” the master of the ceremonies, Eric Brandt, said, as Rutledge struggled to pull off his water-weighted cardboard costume.

The top prize went to Rudy Bear, who won a mid-week season pass for 2004-5 by crossing the pond successfully and then giving the audience a belly rub dance to celebrate.

Other awards went to Chad Delong, who won the men’s ski competition, Adolf Busch (Jason Kositch), who claimed the men’s snowboard division, Sleezy Rider (Britt Flanigan), who took the women’s ski crown and Whitney Gayer, who wound up with the ladies’ snowboard title.

The highlight of the day came when Kyle Crezee, who was decked out in a white Evel Knievel suit, crossed the pond mono-ski style and saluted the judges as he finished. The trick earned him the unlimited title for the most unique contraption.

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