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Whistler cheese roller causes concern

Men’s winner skips awards ceremony after hard finish-line landing



There were a few tense moments at the Whistler Cheese Rolling Race when men’s winner Clayton Tinkley went down hard at the finish line and stayed on the ground for a few minutes while first aid attendants made sure he didn’t suffer a serious injury.

Once it was determined Tinkley was just shaken up by his ambitious bid to win a roll of cheese the 2013 cheese-rolling champ spoke briefly before being taken to the Whistler Medical Clinic to be checked over as a precautionary measure.

He announced that he planned to preserve the prized five-kilogram (11 lbs) wheel of cheese by mounting it in his house like a trophy animal then he indicated he might eat the wheel he chased down the hill at Blackcomb instead. He made the pronouncement strapped to a spine board as an ambulance was on the way to take him to the clinic.

Tinkley was first across the cheese rolling finish line with a lunging head first slide at the finish. In confirming his first place finish he hit so hard that he was unresponsive for a moment. Event officials and a first aid attendant at the competition put him onto a spine board and moved him to a tent to assess his condition. Tinkley missed the award ceremony because of his precautionary trip to the clinic. He was interviewed just before his departure and he said he felt fine.

Women’s winner Danya Meakins took the podium to accepter her Whistler Blackcomb seasons pass and the wheel of Pacific Pepper from Natural Pastures as Tinkley awaited his ride to the clinic. She said she didn’t really have a strategy heading into the cheese chase and she didn’t really do any special training.

“I just really like cheese,” said Meakins. “I did Google how to downhill run.”

She said the online advice indicated she should lean forward on the way down. At the bottom of the course she slid across the finish line to claim the women’s cheese rolling championship.

The cheese-rolling race has been a Whistler tradition for six years now. Edgar Smith and his team at Natural Pastures Cheese Co. in Courtenay started the event. Smith said the competitors chased after Pacific Pepper Verdelait.

“Verdelait is a unique creation from Natural Pastures,” said Smith. “It’s a combination of cheddar, Gruyère and gouda.”

Dairy Farmers of Canada president Wally Smith said it was a great day in Whistler for the Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival.

“The rain held off, it wasn’t super, super hot,” he said. “I think the crowd loved it and we had great participation from the contestants.”

The event was held just above Blackcomb’s Base 2 between noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 17.

Check back on Thursday for more.

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