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Adopt some balls and support USA Luge

November 15, 2019
Editorial , Lake Placid News

There is still time to adopt lacrosse balls for USA Luge's fifth annual Running of the Balls benefit race when the Viessmann Luge World Cup comes to town Thanksgiving week.

As the official newspaper of Running of the Balls, the News staff is excited to once again be part of this unique event. It's the biggest fundraiser of the year for the U.S. luge team.

"The prize money is up, and everybody (with a winning ball) is going to be winning cash and gear," USA Luge Director of Marketing and Sponsorships Gordy Sheer said, adding that the Duluth Trading Company is the main sponsor of the event this year.

The luge team will compete in World Cup races at the Mount Van Hoevenberg track on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and Running of the Balls will be held on the first day. Lake Placid is the second stop of the season on the Viessmann circuit. The season opener is scheduled for Nov. 23-24 in Igls and Innsbruck, Austria.

Running of the Balls will be held immediately following the conclusion of Saturday's racing - the women's second run - which will air live on NBC at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. Sheer said the balls will most likely be released around 3:35 p.m., before the medal ceremony at Morgan Park.

More than 1,000 lacrosse balls make about a 1-mile run from near the top of the Olympic Sports Complex sliding track to Curve 19, one curve shy of the track's finish line. The balls are being donated by Summit Lacrosse Ventures.

The Running of the Balls is similar to the Lake Placid Rotary Club's Dam Duck Race on the Chubb River. People adopt rubber ducks that race over the Mill Pond dam and into the river, and they are collected a short distance downstream. With Running of the Balls, people adopt lacrosse balls in the chance one of their balls will cross the finish line first (or last). People don't actually keep the balls they adopt, as they are used at local lacrosse tournaments.

At the inaugural event in March 2016, 960 lacrosse balls negotiated the Mount Van Hoevenberg course, raising more than $12,000 for USA Luge in the process. During the second event, the organization raised more than $17,000 with 1,280 lacrosse balls. In year three, USA Luge raised more than $10,000 with about 1,000 balls. Last year, 1,047 balls were let go, and about $13,000 was raised.

The proceeds are used to support the athletes and programs of USA Luge. As Sheer reminded us last year, "People sometimes forget that we have to recruit, train, develop and support athletes from day one in this sport. There's no collegiate or little league for luge, so it's incumbent upon us to assume the development of the entire pipeline."

Fans may enter as many balls as they'd like. The cost is $10 per ball or three balls for $25. USA Luge will sell tickets at its team headquarters in Lake Placid, currently located at the village Beach House while a new facility is under construction on Church Street. To purchase tickets, please call 518-523-2071, ext. 107, or log on to

Cash and prizes from USA Luge sponsors will be offered for the top five balls, as well as the last place ball. Cash prizes will be awarded as follows: first place, $1,000; second place, $500; third place, $300; fourth place, $200; fifth place, $100; and last place, $100.

As a bonus, the race within the race will return with a collection of blue-colored lacrosse balls sliding down the track simultaneously with the yellow and white ones. The fastest blue ball will win a free trip to the luge 2019 World Championships (Feb. 15-16) in Sochi, Russia, courtesy of Bucket List Events, the official hospitality partner of USA Luge.

On-site fans will be treated to coverage on large screens thanks to the International Luge Federation, Carr-Hughes Productions and the state Olympic Regional Development Authority. In addition, there are good places to watch the live action at the track: the Curve 19 finish line; and the Chicane, two small rolling curves - 15 and 16 - and a long straightaway before Curve 17.

Participating in this event is a great way to support USA Luge athletes as they prepare for and compete in World Cup events on their way to another Olympic Winter Games just over two years away in Beijing.

Please consider helping out.



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