Man of the Mountain
The Tremonton man is well on his way to achieving that goal. He recently revved his Polaris snowmobile up the side of Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole to place third at the 39th Annual World Championship Hill Climbs, an event that draws racers from all ends of the earth.
Rupp is a member of the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hill Climbs Association (RMSHA) and from January through April, follows the circuit, competing in events all over the western states. He participates as part of the official Polaris racing team, proudly donning its logo for each contest. Rupp is also partnered with fellow snowmobile enthusiast Travis Spencer of Collinston, in T&T Racing. Rupp said Spencer continues to be a valuable teacher as he grows in the sport.
He got his first taste of mountain mastery in 2002, when his father, Brent Rupp, took him to Jackson to watch snowmobiles climb competitively. He was hooked.
By the time he was 14, he was entered up in his first competition. His racing skills quickly improved and he was soon climbing – literally – his way to the top of the standings.
In order to be invited to the World Championships, a snowmobiler must end up in the top 15 of his circuit. Rupp has qualified every year through RMSHA since he began racing. As a junior competitor, he placed twice at the Jackson Hole event – third in 2009 and fifth in 2010.
His impressive record allowed him to petition to advance to the semi-pro rank at the age of 17, a year earlier than normal.
Racing as a semi-professional on the world stage this year, he battled against top riders in three classes, stock, improved stock and modified, qualifying with just four others for the final run in modified.
While the competition is tough, the effort is a solo one. “This is a sport that’s just you and the course,” Rupp said. “It’s a timed event you do by yourself. There is a series of 30 gates on an uphill course with jumps, rocks, stumps or whatever and you go as fast as you can go.”
The full story is in this week’s Leader. Watch of video of the race on this website.