Entry fee for the Billy Taylor 5K Citizen’s Ski Race. 5K (3.4 mile) ski race that crosses Willow Lake and makes a lollipop loop on Shirley Lake before returning. The trail allows for skate skiing except for a few narrower sections.
According to John (Andy) Anderson, this annual event began in 1979 with himself and Bill Taylor, a “city slicker” from Sydney, Australia and who settled in Willow. Anderson, a fresh import from Colorado and Taylor were forced by circumstances to rely on their own two feet for transportation that winter. Rather than walk, they donned skis.
As Anderson describes it, they skied everywhere, to visit friends, to the post office, to the hardware store and even WACO meetings. As Carnival approached, they began thinking it would be nice to include a ski race for “everyday” folks like themselves, in addition to the longer, more intimidating Sven Eriksson 25K Ski Tour. So Taylor and Anderson set a 5K trail through the trees and around Willow Lake with the help of Mark Merrill’s snowmobile. Anderson recalls some controversy over the crossing of ski and dog trails but, fortunately for all, “not one skier was eaten by a dog or vice versa.”
The first winner, by the way, was a character named Anderson, J. Detractors (many of them Anderson’s buddies) claim he knew the trail and thus had an advantage. In any case, neither of them are doing much skiing now as Taylor moved to Hawaii in 1982 and Anderson moved to Arizona recently.