Wilhelm family named grand marshals

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Rick Wilhelm and family are the grand marshals for this year's Winter Carnival.

— Following in the footsteps of some of Steamboat Springs' greatest local legends - Billy Kidd, Hazie Werner and Moose Barrows - a longtime ranching family will serve as grand marshals for the 95th annual Winter Carnival.

Local rancher Rick Wilhelm, his sister Kim Gittleson, brother Lynn Wilhelm, and two daughters Chrissy and Heather will serve as the grand marshals for the festivities.

The Wilhelm family was chosen because of its longtime ties to the annual Winter Carnival, said Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club special events director Caroline Bohlmann.

The Wilhelm family has played a significant role in that tradition, providing some of the horses and riders for the Winter Carnival street events for the past 60 years. Patsy Wilhelm - the mother of Rick, Lynn and Kim - participated in every Winter Carnival since 1949. Patsy Wilhelm died in August 2007, at age 67.

In 2001, former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens proclaimed Feb. 5 to 11 "Winter Carnival Street Events Week Honoring Patsy Wilhelm," and she received the Winter Carnival Western Heritage Award.

Patsy may have served as grand marshal decades ago, but so much time has passed that no one is quite sure, Rick said.

Lynn is credited with unintentionally starting the shovel race, now one of the banner street events of Winter Carnival, when he rode a shovel while being towed by a horse down Lincoln Avenue to entertain a restless crowd during a gap between events in the late 1970s.

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