Gale Otterholt, Birchleggings Club President, Tom Rowley, Vice President, and John Kotar, Board Member and Birkie Founder present ABSF Executive Director Ben Popp with a check for $2,000 for exhibits at the Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner. The Club has joined forces with ABSF to raise money for the Museum in a unique way that will help the Club grow and build support for the museum.
For more than 15 years the Birchleggings Club has worked with the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation to honor skiers at the Birchleggers Sunday Breakfast with awards for 20, 30 and 40 years of racing. Additionally, the Club provides the Tony Wise Award in recognition of contributions to the growth and success of the race, and has provided the funds for the warming hut at Mosquito Brook Road. Now the Club has another feather in its (ski) cap: a $2,000 gift to the Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner, scheduled to open in 2016. “I am proud and excited that the Birchleggings Club can be part of this project,” said Gale Otterholt, Club President. “It meshes with our mission so well, which in part is to enhance the race traditions of the American Birkebeiner.”
In addition to the Club’s gift, the Club’s Board of Directors has been involved in an effort to seek individual gifts for the Museum from all skiers who have skied twenty or more Birkebeiners. As an incentive, donors of $100 or more – called Museum Founders – will receive a one-year complimentary membership in the Club. “This is a win-win for all of us,” continued Otterholt. “Our Club is growing with a significant number of new members, Club members are renewing their membership early, and we’re getting in on the ground floor of something big – a museum that will honor our race and its legacy.”
Those who took advantage of the complimentary membership offer will be included in the Club’s own membership drive incentives, which includes drawings for prizes, including race-day parking passes. In early November, letters were sent to all skiers who’ve completed 20 or more Birkebeiners. Please contact the ABSF (715-634-5025) if you did not receive a letter, or need a replacement or other information. Contributions may be made at www.birkie.com/museum. In addition to the aforementioned perks, Museum Founders will be permanently recognized in the Museum, and receive a nifty plaque, a nice addition to those twenty, thirty, and forty year awards in one’s trophy case.