By Ashley Lodato
Two-time Olympian, Liberty Bell High School graduate and Methow Valley Nordic Team alumnus Sadie Bjornsen frequently tells a story from her childhood. In this formative memory, Sadie recalls seeing Methow Olympian Laura McCabe returning from the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. “When Laura came back … the whole valley arranged a surprise ‘welcome home’ party for her. We all lined the streets as she rode in on a fire truck. I remember recognizing how much honor there must be competing in the Olympics during that time. From then on, I was convinced I wanted to be an Olympic ski racer.”
Sadie will have her own fire truck moment this Thursday (April 12) at 4 p.m., when she will ride through Winthrop in a horse-drawn carriage. Anyone who is available and interested should line the streets downtown at 3:45 p.m. (“real time, not Methow time,” says event organizer Rita Kenny) to wave Sadie through town.
Depending on the wardrobe options available to you, you can wear a red ski team jacket or other Winthrop-related apparel; you could sport USA colors; and/or you could bring a cowbell, kazoo, homemade “welcome home Sadie” sign, or an American flag. Bring or wear whatever accoutrements you need to give Sadie a festive, all-American reception, Winthrop-style.
The plan is to cheer Sadie as she rides through town and then follow her to Mack Lloyd Park to celebrate our hometown girl’s impressive representation of women’s Nordic skiing at the recent PyeongChang Olympics. At the park, Sadie will say a few words and then be available for some questions, before heading off to spend time with her family.
Perhaps Sadie’s parade will motivate and inspire another future Olympian from the valley, just as she was inspired years ago.
If the spring weather and the presence of athletic greatness inspire you to get all sporty and competitive, you may want to run in the Riser Rendezvous race this Saturday (April 14) at 9 a.m. Organized by Cascade Endurance, the race offers 4-mile and half-marathon options, utilizing the Riser Lake and Lewis Butte trails, as well as some lesser-known trails and country roads. Registration closes on Thursday (April 12) so don’t delay; find out more information at www.cascadeendurance.com/riserrace/.
Whether or not you run on Saturday, you’ll want to stop by the Winthrop Barn from 3-6 p.m. for major fun at Little Star’s Barn Bash fundraiser to support the school’s expansion. St. Claire (Liberty Bell graduate John Sinclair) and Luc and the Lovingtons will provide live music, and there will be delicious finger food and fine local brews available. You’ll also hear more about how the school is growing to accommodate all the little stars being raised in this valley.