Here’s what you call Wintertime Fun. It combines all things fun — horses, snow and ice, fast sleds and a race. And what is now a world-wide phenomenon, was conceived right here in Wyoming. Cutter Races first took place in the picturesque town of Thayne, Wyoming, in the 1920’s. Thayne is located in western Wyoming, very near the Idaho border, and on the western edge of the Bridger–Teton National Forest. This is Star Valley, where patches of flat countryside make for a perfect track for Cutter Races.
Oh, back to the very first race. It took place on Thayne’s iced-over main street. And the victory went to a Mormon Bishop who would best a local rancher in that historical first race. Cutter Racing really was a common practice of the day when local ranchers and dairy farmers would deliver their goods by horsedrawn sleigh. Hotly-contested races would evolve, to see who could get to the cremery first, to avoid waiting in line.
And from those early beginnings, Cutter Racing has grown into a very popular wintertime sport. It’s only fitting that the All-American Cutter Racing Association was organized in Thayne, Wyoming, in 1948. The first World Cutter and Chariot Racing Championship was held in Thayne, in 1965. Today, there are organized and sanctioned Cutter Races held in 7 western states.
Cutter Races are still a wintertime tradition in the Star Valley. The racegrounds northwest of Afton are a favorite Saturday night destination during the winter months. Jackson, Wyoming, plays host to a number of Cutter Races in February.