Some 400 snowriders were at Mt. Bachelor ski area over the weekend to take part in the 12th Dirksen Derby. Bluebird conditions greeted competitors Sunday on the final day of the annual snowboard and sit-ski event, staged on a banked, slalom-style course.
The Derby was originally organized to help generate support for Bend snowboarder Tyler Eklund, who was paralyzed as a teenager after a fall at a competition in California in 2007. Eklund, now 27, was among the sit-ski entries in this year’s Dirksen Derby.
Over the years, the Derby has expanded to raise funds for multiple causes and nonprofits, including Oregon Adaptive Sports, which enables people with disabilities such as Eklund to ride the mountain. Among other beneficiaries of the event is Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit led by winter-sports athletes that seeks solutions to climate change.
This year’s Derby included competition in 17 divisions and featured world-class riders in elite divisions. In the Elite Men’s division, Harry Kearney, of Telluride, Colorado, placed first with a two-run time of 54.11 seconds. The Elite Women’s division was topped by Desiree Melancon, of Riverside, California, whose time was 59.71 seconds.
— Bulletin staff report