CLE ELUM — The goal was to have fun. Consider the mission accomplished.
Despite a temperature that hovered somewhere under 20 degrees, by the time the 2017 Dummy Downhill event at Suncadia resort was finished on Sunday, a crowd of 300-plus had found plenty to laugh and cheer about.
The event, held annually when the weather cooperates and there’s snow on the ground, features downhill competition between “dummies” mounted on skis or snowboards.
Entries have be at least 3 feet high, no taller than 6 feet and at least 3 feet wide at the base. Entries are pushed one-by-one out of a starting gate at the top of the hill, go down the hill and off of a ramp that leaves most of them in some degree of destruction.
Per tradition, this year’s event was a test of both creativity and design that had Dummy Downhill fans smiling.
“I think it’s a hoot. It’s wonderful, creative and just fun,” Jennifer Heckman of Normandy Park said as she waited for the event to begin. Heckman, there with her husband and daughter, said the family has visited Suncadia before but this was her first time at the Dummy Downhill.
Her favorite entry? One dubbed “From Russia With Love.” It featured life-size dummies of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Putin wore a “Trump for President” pin.
“I hope it crashes gloriously,” Heckman said, drawing a high five from India Briggs, a local teenager.
Heckman wasn’t disappointed. When that entry went down the chute and up off the ramp, Putin’s and Trump’s heads both fell off. The crowd laughed and cheered.
Another popular entry, dubbed “Mardi Gras Gramma” held a tray of Jello shots, offered up to those who were over 21.
The idea for the dummy was “kind of spur of the moment,” Rob Merkel said.
Dru Ernst, owner of the Dru Bru brewery at Snoqualmie Pass, which helped sponsor the event, was there with an entry. It was the first time his business has entered the contest and he was clearly having fun.
His entry featured a dummy dubbed Stu sitting on a keg of beer and holding a plastic beer glass.
“This is Stu, from Dru Bru,” he said grinning. “There’s actually water in the keg. We’re going to put beer in his glass when he goes down the hill.”
Stu spilled his beer — and lost his head — after coming off the ramp.
A “Game of Thrones”-themed entry, featuring a female dummy on a kayak mounted on skis, didn’t make it to the ramp but scored lots of laughter. An entry from the Tumble Creek community honored a groundskeeper and featured a dummy on a broadcast spreader mounted on skis.
This year’s event featured a dozen entries. Prizes were awarded for Best Name (“Let’s Make Suncadia Great Again” dummy by the Suncadia Real Estate Team); Best Air (Dru Bru Brewery and Taproom); Best Crash (“Mardi Gras Gramma” by Rob Merkel) and Best Dressed (“Crouching Tiger, Angry Clown” by Jim Becker). Prizes were awarded at an after-party at the Prospector Inn.