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Our History and Purpose



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 (30 and Subsequent Year Birchleggings Members will have a Black Uberlegger Bib and Open Track Skiers will have similar but slightly different colored bibs.)
John's proposal was accepted by the Birkebeiner Foundation Board in 1992, and he initially served as the coordinator of the Birchleggings Club until incorporation! Thank you, John, and all the Birkebeiner Founders for keeping Tony Wise's vision alive!

The Birchleggings Club Website was started in 2007 by Edward Eroe 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. Edward has added the social media sites of Facebook, X, and LinkedIn for the club, and he continues to serve as Webmaster and Social Media Coordinator.
 
The Birchleggings Club was Incorporated as a Nonstock Corporation Under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes on November 5, 2012. The first president was Gale Otterholt, who held the position until 2021. Paul Thompson is the current president.

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