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Sport: Ready, set and get that Milkman Trophy

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Submitted Photo At last year's Milkman Triathlon, female winner Terry Casey on the bike. Three people can form a relay, with each doing one leg of the triathlon. One needs to be of the opposite gender.

Honoring the dairy industry, the 35th annual Milkman Triathlon returns to Dexter

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

Dexter’s 35th annual Milkman Triathlon registration is now open. This is a USA Triathlon sanctioned event and all competitive rules apply. Beyond that, it’s also about fun, friendship, keeping fit and active.

The triathlon takes place June 1 in Dexter and includes a 0.5K swim at Lake Van, a 20K bicycle race and a 5K run. Registrations can be made online at active.com by May 29.

Participants under the age of 18 are required to have a parent’s or legal guardian’s permission. One person in the mixed relay of three must be of the opposite sex. No relay substitutions after entry deadline of May 29, by 3 p.m.

This sports event calls on athletes, amateurs or anyone with a clean bill of health. Last year, 180 people competed for the awards that are shaped in the form of milk jugs.

Larry Marshall is the spokesperson for the triathlon. Asked about the event and the awards the participants compete for, he said on the phone, “We give a huge amount of awards. We give three places in all age groups, then four or five, depending on how many individuals there are, and then we also give top 10 awards all over to males and females. There are even awards for Athenas and Clydesdales. It has to be 110 awards or so.”

This is one of the few triathlons in the region. Other organizations have runs, bike races or swimming competitions individually. “A couple of Dexter citizens went to Bottomless Lakes and watched the New Mexico Military Institute put on a triathlon,” Marshall said. “They did it more like an organizational challenge for their cadets than for any other reason. We also had going at the same time, Chaves County Dairy Day, which the Roswell Redcoats had started, celebrating the contribution our dairy industry was making to our communities. We put the two together, triathlon on Dairy Day and called it the Milkman.”

This was in 1984 and it has been a popular event ever since. Asked why it is still so popular, Marshall said, “Ours is a sprint triathlon, so it’s a short one. Anybody who is physically fit, knows how to swim and has a bicycle can complete the event in a fairly reasonable time — if they pace themselves correctly. That’s the challenge of doing all three events with the clock running, just to finish. Then it becomes a challenge to go faster and faster, so we have first-timers all the way to top amateurs in the nation that will come.”

According to Marshall, most of the participants come from the area and West Texas, including El Paso. “We pick up a lot from El Paso and Albuquerque, Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland and Odessa,” he said.

Marshall said that the entry is still going on, and that they are anticipating participants somewhere in the 180 to 200 range. “It’s our 35th year, so we are making a little extra effort in the benefits. We are having a spaghetti dinner the night before, and we are giving a finish medallion. Everybody who is crossing the finishing line gets a ceramic award. We welcome beginners all the way to skillful triathletes,” Marshall said. Also, all participants will receive the 35th anniversary T-shirt.

A Milkman Triathlon practice happens on May 18 at 9 a.m. at Lake Van. This is the only time the lake will be open for practice.

Race packets will be available at Lake Van, May 31, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. On race day, June 1, the distribution continues at 6:15 a.m. when the bike corral opens. At 7:30 a.m., there will be a pre-race orientation.

For more information, visit milkmantriathlon.com, like them on Facebook or call 575-734-5415.