8-year-old flies 35 feet to win donkey jump at Winter Carnival Street Events | SteamboatToday.com

8-year-old flies 35 feet to win donkey jump at Winter Carnival Street Events

Eight-year-old Zach Hiatt uses his “tuck and pop” strategy to fly 35 feet, 11 inches to win the Donkey Jump at the Street Events as part of Winter Carnival on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Eight-year-old Zach Hiatt flew 35 feet 11 inches about halfway through the Donkey Jump competition during the 110th Winter Carnival Street Events on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Event announcers John Shipley and Tom Whiddon were impressed with the jump, but knew it could be beat.

“You got to be around 35 (feet) to win it,” Shipley told the crowd shortly after Hiatt landed. “Someone’s going to need 36 (feet).”

But as the skiers and a few snowboarders kept flying, no one delivered a jump to knock Hiatt out of the top spot and he claimed the blue ribbon.

He may have had a slight advantage over his peers, as Hiatt said after the competition he has been practicing for the event with a friend who has a snowmobile. Together they have been homing in on the right technique to maximize the distance they could fly.

Still, he didn’t expect to win Saturday’s competition.

“Tuck and pop,” Hiatt said, explaining his strategy. “You tuck when you’re coming in and then you pop at the top of the jump. And then you let go.”

Find a photo gallery of the street events here and a full schedule of the remaining events here.

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