I spent the day after Jab #2 last week fortifying the platform and painting yellow bricks onto it, as well as securing a pair of homemade ruby slippers to the surface. Later I built a skeleton out of PVC pipe and spent the rest of the week stuffing her with towels and dressing her while Wayne worked on her face.
It was a perfect day for the event; warm, the snow was soft, and the sky was a bluebird. We parked on the southern edge of the parking lot, facing Mt. Shasta in the distance – my favorite spot where I’ve taken my breaks this past winter, your car being the “lodge.” It’s been an odd year, but they had wi-fi all over the mountain and I saved a lot of money I would normally have spent on beer at the bar, and Sweet Potato Waffle Fries. Lordy, how I missed those! Still, it was remarkable how they managed to keep the mountain – aka my Happy Place – open in spite of the pandemic. Shutdowns and face coverings don’t faze the outdoor sports enthusiast. Due to the lodge being closed, the parking lot at Mt. Ashland became a socially-distanced outdoor party this year.
Wayne carried the yellow brick road base up to the staging area and after I glued Dorothy’s head on, I carried her body up there, along with my tool bag. We set her in her ruby slippers and glued her ankles, took some pictures, anchored her to the snow and went back to the car for snacks.
A while later we went back up to watch the design-judging and see the other entries. Nearly twenty of them, including all sorts of outlandish designs. We got our launching positions and began lining up our entries. By this time, it had become a party atmosphere with all of us chatting about our dummies, hanging with friends and marveling at the great weather. The spectator area was filling up, as people brought chairs to set in the snow by the ramp.
The launching of dummies began at 2 p.m. A drone hovered over the jump taking pictures. The general manager, Hiram Towle, was the DJ of the day under an EZ-Up tent, supplying a steady stream of humorous banter between launchings as he described each dummy. There were a few crashes, but most everyone’s dummy made it over the jump at the end.
Then it was our turn. “I’ve got this,” Wayne assured me. I surrendered the pull-rope to Wayne, then went down the hill and positioned myself to shoot the video.
After her introduction by Hiram, Wayne gave Dorothy a good push. She went straight down the middle of the ramp and got to the jump, nearly pausing at the top, then took a tiny jump and went over. Whew! Wayne rushed down the hill to meet me and we cheered on the rest of the entries.
The winner of the day was “The Flying Ace,” aka Snoopy atop his house. He got the best air of any of them, which is interesting as there were more projectile-shaped entries (one of which hit Dorothy in the demolition pile straight on, decapitating her). Snoopy really did win the day, though, and his house seemed to explode in mid-air after sailing over the jump. A season pass for next year went to his creator.
We collected our awards and a few stickers, got our pictures taken with our Yetis, then went back to the parking lot where a snowmobile had arrived, hauling a flatbed with all the wrecked dummies. We salvaged the ski-sled base/yellow brick road, and most of her mangled skeleton. The scratchy dress survived somehow, as did her wig. We put the wreckage back in the car and ordered a take-and-bake from The Great American Pizza Company on the way home.
Later the event aired on KOBI-5 News, including Dorothy! It was a hoot! The next morning we opened the local Medford Mail Tribune to see a picture of Dorothy headed down the hill with Wayne standing at the top.
I must add, that considering my recent publication of Meteor Falls which includes a fictitious "Barrel Shoot" over a river, how could I not participate in the Dummy Downhill?