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Barnebirkie Race Tradition Continues For Almena Students In Spite Of Covid Pandemic

The Barnebirkie, or “Children’s Birkie,” is one of the several cross country ski events that comprise the three-day Hayward American Birkebeiner celebration of Nordic skiing. It is the kick-off event that jump-starts the festivities leading up to the big daddy of cross country ski marathons, the 51-kilometer American Birkebeiner.
The Barron Area Montessori School has been bringing students ages 3-11 to Hayward for the Barnebirkie since 2008. This year, due to Covid restrictions, Hayward offered the race virtually. This opportunity sparked a committee of staff and volunteers, led by Bente Moe and Tawnee Keller, to create this event in Almena.
Both Barron Area Montessori School and Almena Elementary participated this year. “If we continue this tradition here in Almena, we’d like to invite more schools next year,” Tawnee Keller, BAMS Administrator explained.
Race distances were consistent with the Hayward Barnebirkei ­– 500meters, 1K, and 3K. The race tracks were marked out on the east side of Hwy. P on property owned by Steve and Alice Welter, in the Village of Almena. With winds howling at a sustained 25-mph or better, with gusts reportedly topping the 35-mph mark, the students were sent off on staggered times. There were volunteers along the ski trail to assist the students when needed.
Following the races the Barron Kiwanis Club served cookies (donated by Kwik Trip) and hot chocolate (donated by Viking Coca Cola). The Almena Fire Department and Turtle Lake Police were there for safety. The event was also live streamed onto the WE ARE BARRON website. Randy Linsmeyer provided music and announcements.

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