The genesis and purpose for the Birchleggings Club is from a letter that was written by John Kotar, one of the Birkie Founders, to the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Board of Directors on November 8, 1992. Using the Founders Group as a nucleus the idea was to create an organization that would remain after all the original founders were gone or no longer participating in the American Birkebeiner ski race by recognizing all those skiers who completed 20 Birkebeiner races (not necessarily in consecutive order).
The Founders felt that the Birchleggings Club would be a strong promoter of continued participation in the American Birkebeiner and would contribute toward enhancement of the rich traditions that mark the Birkie as a unique skiing event in not only North America but the world! As an incentive to continue skiing the Birkie and become a member of the Birchleggings Club the following benefits were extended to club members:
- 1. A special Award Upon Completion of 20 American Birkebeiner Races
- 2. A Distinct Purple and Gold Bib To Be Worn in The 20th and Subsequent Races (30th Year Birchleggings Members will Now Wear a Gold and Purple
- Reverse Color Bib)
John's proposal was accepted by the Birkebeiner Foundation Board in 1992 and to this day he has served as the coordinator of the Birchleggings Club! Thank you John and all the Birkebeiner Founders for keeping Tony Wise's vision alive!
The Birchleggings Logo and the Award were designed by Jeanne Kosfeld, wife of Birchlegger Bill Kosfeld. Bill and Jeanne have also handled the production of the awards since the Birchleggings Club inception.
The Birchleggings Club Website was started in 2007 as a way to provide a place for all those skiers that have completed twenty American Birkebeiner® Ski Races to have a place to obtain information about Birchleggings Club activities, network with other Birchleggings skiers, and celebrate their accomplishment.