Support USA Luge at Running of the Balls

USA Luge Marketing Director Gordy Sheer, left, and Sport Program Director Mark Grimmette get ready to release 960 lacrosse balls at the Mount Van Hoevenberg sliding track for the first-ever Running of the Balls fundraiser in March 2016. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

It’s time once again to support one of our local sliding teams, USA Luge, during its big fundraiser of the year — the ninth annual Running of the Balls.

The race down the Mount Van Hoevenberg sliding track is set for Saturday, April 6. More than 1,000 lacrosse balls will be set free and captured in a curve before the uphill finish line. Proceeds will support athletes and programs of USA Luge, which is headquartered on Church Street.

Olympic luge silver medalist Gordy Sheer, USA Luge director of marketing and sponsorship, came up with the idea, launching the first-ever event in March 2016. He teamed up with Tri-Lakes Lacrosse to supply the balls. They raised more than $12,000 in 2016, and Sheer hopes he will raise over $40,000 this year.

“This marks the first fundraising event in Lake Placid since the passing of Dmitry Feld (USA Luge marketing manager), who was key to making ROTB the success that it has become,” Sheer said earlier this month. “USA Luge does four things: We recruit, develop, train and support athletes to represent our nation at luge races around the world, including the Olympic Games. All funds raised go to support those core activities. We will carry Dmitry’s spirit with us for this and all future events.”

The Running of the Balls is similar to the Lake Placid Rotary Club’s annual Dam Duck Race, which has numbered yellow rubber ducks race a short distance down the Chubb River from the Mill Pond Dam behind Lisa G’s restaurant. But the lacrosse balls race much faster down the Mount Van Hoevenberg ice.

We encourage you to adopt some lacrosse balls this year. This is the biggest fundraiser for the U.S. luge team, and it is crucial to finding and grooming athletes before they head to international competitions, such as the Winter Olympics.

The ROTB race on April 6 will take place after the Norton Youth National Championships. Entrants can purchase as many balls as they want, with the chance to win cash and USA Luge prizes. The top 10 finishers and last-place finisher will receive prizes in the running of yellow and white balls, priced at $10 each or three for $25. Blue lacrosse balls will race down the track simultaneously, which cost $30 each. The winner of the blue race will win a trip to the luge World Championship event in Whistler, British Columbia, in January 2025, including airfare, lodging and ground transportation.

To enter, visit the Running of the Balls page on the USA Luge website. The deadline to purchase balls is noon Thursday, April 4. The running will be aired and winners will be announced online at usaluge.org on April 7.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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