RED CLIFF, Colorado – Even though axes and sledge hammers were thrown in the general vicinity of beer drinking and fun having, no one lost any appendages or even sacrificed much dignity at last weekend’s Man of the Cliff, Red Cliff’s version of … well, Man of the Cliff.
But lots of kegs of beer were victimized; not too many. Just the right number, and whatever that number was, it was exactly the right number, said event coordinator Adam Williams.
Ray Sallee was crowned the 2010 Man of the Cliff, winning the actual competition, and there was lots of actual competition. It’s his second straight crown, which means Sallee has won all the Man of the Cliff competitions there have ever been.
“I practiced; I had to. I was the oldest and the shortest guy out there,” Sallee said.
The weather was just cool enough that almost everyone kept their shirts on all day, Williams said, except for a couple notable exceptions.
One guy lost his shirt during the keg toss, tossing his keg in just his overalls. Another guy lost his shirt while arm wrestling for a pitcher of beer, late in the day Sunday.
“Arm wresting for beer is not actually an officially sanctioned man of the cliff event, but nevertheless everyone enjoyed it,” Williams said.
For those keeping score at home, Man of the Cliff has six scoring events – ax throwing, archery, keg toss, caber toss, sledge hammer toss and speed wood chopping. Each competitor can drop their lowest score. The winner gets 100 points, and it goes down from there. Everyone gets at least 20 points for each event they enter.
“I’ve been a bow hunter, and that helped,” Sallee said. “On the other hand, I’ve never really thrown axes before, so I guess I have hidden talents.
Sallee scored well in each event, but he, too, struggled in the caber toss and did not make the finals.
“I’m getting too old to do that one,” Sallee said.
He won a Husquavarna chain saw, an engraved throwing ax, an etched trophy beer mug, a bunch of gift certificates, some SWAG, a couple nights stay at the Green Bridge Inn.
Winning is nice, but raising a bunch of money for First Descents is better, Sallee said.
“It’s not about winning, it’s about the cause and First Descents,” Sallee said.
First Descents provides adventure trips for young people battling cancer and life-threatening diseases.
Williams said Man of the Cliff will probably double the amount of money they’d projected to raise for First Descents.
Mango’s and the Green Bridge Inn came up with some big donations. Tred Barta, star of the outdoor television show “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta,” auctioned off archery lessons, which were good for hundreds of dollars.
As for Sallee, stardom is fleeting and he was back to work Monday morning at Alpine Lumber.