A new race director for White Pine Stampede

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

New White Pine Stampede race director Ben Tarbutton will take over the position maintained by Beth McKaig after the passing of her husband Jack McKaig, the race's founder and longtime director. 


MANCELONA – The White Pine Stampede cross country ski race has a new race director, Mancelona High School teacher and athletic director Ben Tarbutton. Tarbutton takes over for Beth McKaig, who has served as director since the passing of her husband, race founder and longtime director Jack McKaig, The announcement was made earlier this week by WPS officials.

A WPS committee member and course director for several years, as well as a longtime participant, Tarbutton is very familiar with the annual cross country race.

He said earlier this week in a prepared statement that his main priority is to continue the White Pine’s tradition as the oldest point-to-point cross country ski race in the U.S.

“We plan to make some adjustments to the course this year in order to maintain as close to a 50K race as possible,” Tarbutton said. “We also hope to expand our promotion of the event to continue attracting new racers as we have for the past 43 years.”

Shanty Creek Resorts and Short’s Brewing Company will continue as major sponsors of the event, Tarbutton noted, adding that he and other committee members are working closely with both sponsors to finalize the race's route, which traditionally has begun in Mancelona and ended at the resort, with awards and an "after party" held in Shanty Creek's Summit Lodge.

“Right now, the committee is focused on recruiting additional sponsors for the event, so we can expand our promotional outreach and bring more people into Antrim County,” he said.

Tarbutton, a graduate of Mancelona High School, and his wife Alyse, an area attorney and White Pine Stampede committee member, have two small children.

New to the White Pine Stampede committee this year are Mancelona residents Steve Elder and Lindsey Southwell, after the departure of longtime committee members Joe Clark and Geri Jones.

According to the media release, Elder will work to coordinate approximately 200 volunteers who staff stations along the race route, while Southwell will maintain the White Pine Stampede website and design of registration forms and posters.

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