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A royal pain on the ice

Reid Williams

DILLON – Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wrist; wipe a tear, and blow a kiss.

That’s how Ice Princess nominee Jacquelyn Lies described the perfect pageant wave, and most of the 60 people gathered for the kick-off of Summit County Rotary’s 17th annual Ice Melt Contest and first-ever royal coronation were practicing the polite gesture as if they’d won themselves.

“I’ve got the wave down,” said Dillon Mayor-elect Barb Davis. “I’m disappointed that I wasn’t nominated. I can do the smile, too, although it makes my face feel like it’s going to crack.”

Rotarians have been offering anyone the chance to guess when the lake ice will melt for many years. The money collected from the guesses funds Rotary scholarships to Summit High School graduates. But the story circulating among the crowd of monarchists outside Dillon’s town hall Saturday was that a few Rotarians came up with an idea to spice up the event – with the help of a dinner party and a bottle of Scotch.

“This is a very important moment in the history of Colorado,” Rotarian J. Bauer proclaimed before announcing the winner. “This is the only coronation in the state – this month. Leave it to Rotarians: We’re nuts, and we have no sense of propriety.”

Citizens nominated 60 people for the title of Ice Princess. Although the qualifications were a bit vague, people suggested everyone from the sheriff to ski resort employees. The field narrowed to four candidates Saturday: Lies, of Keystone Travel; Jo McDonald, of Arapahoe Basin; Jim Lamb, Breckenridge town council member and Colorado Mountain College administrator; Shelly Kroger, real estate broker; Maria Kjeldtoft, an assistant in the district attorney’s office; and Koleen Brooks, recently ousted mayor of Georgetown.

The four finalists who made it Saturday (Lamb is on vacation; attendees wondered if Brooks’ recent photo shoot for Playboy.com had elevated her above such silly events) were decked out in gowns galore. In the end, though, it was Kroger who received the honorary tiara and scepter. Bauer carefully noted the princess received more votes than any of the mayors in the recent town elections.

“Am I supposed to cry?” Kroger asked. “I’m just thrilled.”

The crowd then hoisted Kroger onto her throne – a reclining chair on a flat-bed trailer. The princess then led a processional – the runners-up following on four-wheelers provided by Summit Motor Sports, a group of children on bicycles, riders from the High Country Horsemanship School and the Sheriff’s Office towing its hovercraft – down Lake Dillon Drive to the marina.

From the boat launch, sheriff’s deputies used the hovercraft to haul the Ice Melt time clock out to the middle of the lake. Rotarians reminded everyone that guesses can be made as late as April 26, and there are at least 3 feet of ice under the clock. They also said they hoped to see the Ice Princess event grow each year as a celebration of the end of winter. For one local official, it reaffirmed his decision to not seek re-election.

“Oh, boy,” said outgoing Dillon Mayor Roger Pelot, decked out in his shorts and Hawaiian shirt. “I think I picked a good time to step down.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.


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