Warriors & Inga Contest
Each year, the Birkie selects a trio of skiers to portray Birkebeiner warriors, Torstein & Skjervald, and Inga, mother of Prince Haakon. The three characters played a pivotal role in Norwegian history when in 1206, amid civil war, the two Birkebeiner warriors, skied through the mountains and rugged forests of Norway smuggling Prince Haakon, the Norwegian King’s son, to safety, the very legacy of the Birkie race.
The selected skiers reenact the historic flight on wooden skis and in full period costume along the entire Birkie 55K classic cross-country race course, serving as Birkie Ambassadors, engaging with skiers and spectators along the way. The dramatic journey culminates when Inga, the baby Prince, Torstein, and Skervald, ski up Hayward’s snow-covered Main Street amidst cheers from spectators and skiers alike as they make their way to the finish line. It is a true celebration of the legacy and tradition of the race.
For more information, email email@example.com or call 715-634-5025
How to Apply
Gather your family or friends and apply as a trio – Inga, Torstein, and Skjervald.
We’ll supply the baby-doll Prince Haakon.
The contest application includes a chance for you to explain what the Birkie means to you, your previous Birkie experience, and why you’d like to appear as “Birkie Royalty.”
The contest opens on November 1 and closes on December 1.
The ABSF will supply the warrior and Inga costumes, though winners can provide their own historically accurate costuming.
Testimonials From Past Winners
“Portraying Skjervald at the Birkie was a wonderful way to celebrate this spectacular race, this beautiful sport, and my Norwegian heritage. The warm response and connection with fellow skiers and spectators was far more than I expected. I highly recommend others submit their applications to become warriors and Inga – it’s an unforgettable, joyful experience!”
– Steve Long, Duluth, MN (Skjervald)
“The energy and enthusiasm I received throughout the weekend was amazing. Standing at the top of the bridge, with the adorable “Baby Haakon” on my back, looking down Main Street with people cheering and toasts being raised, will forever stand hairs up on my arms. It was a magical moment.”
– Jen Pearson, Duluth, MN (Inga)
“I felt honored to portray Torstein and I loved sharing my enthusiasm for the American Birkebeiner. Skiing up Main Street with the prince, Skjervald and Inga, made for a very memorable day. It was an unforgettable experience.”
– Bruce Derauf, Duluth, MN (Torstein)
Past Birkie Warriors and Ingas
David Kettula, International Falls, MN and Vergil Pincknery, Rochester, MN
David Andresen, Ironwood, MI and William Andresen, Ironwood, MI
Grant Moos, St.Paul, MN and Marcus Magnuson, Champlin, MN
Scott Smith, Hayward, WI and Jeremy Smith, Salt Lake City, UT
Bruce Derauf and Steve Long, both from Duluth, MN
Jeremiah Menk, St. Paul, MN and Ben Menk, Minneapolis, MN
Erik Julsrud, Duluth, MN and Ryan Harden, Carlton, MN
Chris Lawn, Madison, WI, and Tom Lawn, Plymouth, WI
Darald Bothun and Barry Knapp, both from Rochester, MN
Gale Otterholt and Marv Franson, both from Eau Claire, WI
Brothers David Nelson, Medicine Lake, MN, and Grant Nelson, Duluth, MN
Jeff Cummisford, Waukesha, WI, and best friend, Richard Pierce, Verona, WI
Brothers Thom Gerst, Coon Rapids, MN, and Gary Gerst, Maple Grove, MN
Tasha Pinckney, Rochester, MN
Carolyn Andresen Warren, Ironwood, MI
Eleanor Bacso, Duluth, MN, and baby Finn Greeson
Rebecca Ireland, Minneapolis, MN, and baby Reagan Aleksandr
Jen Pearson, Duluth, MN, and baby Aspen Jo
Alison Menk, Minneapolis, MN, and baby Menk
Jennifer Julsrud, Duluth, MN.
Lori House, Madison, WI, and baby Keirsten Lawn (Chris’s daughter)
Kristin Bothun, Mankato, MN, daughter of Warrior Bothun, and Nikolai Fornear
Gretchen Lindgren, St. Cloud, MN, and her grandchild Finnley
Josie Nelson, Medicine Lake, MN, and son Karl
Lyndsey Lewis, Fort Collins, CO, and son Piercen
Gail Moede Rogall, Madison, WI, and son Bjorn