The Garden City Telegram
2/23/2013
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Winter playground

Becky Malewitz/Telegram Seth Burnett and Steven Dye enjoy some time in the snow by pulling a mattress with a four-wheeler in the Arkansas Riverbed.
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Youth, young adults enjoy some fun in southwest Kansas snow.

By ANGIE HAFLICH
ahaflich@gctelegram.com

While some chose to shovel, or maybe even stayed inside, some local youth opted to play in the snow that blanketed the area on Wednesday and Thursday.

Oscar Varela, 11, and his 7-year-old cousin, Luis Varela, found their way to a hill located near Campus Drive and the U.S. Highway 50 Bypass to do some sledding.

When asked what the best part was, Oscar said, "Mostly everything because you can go different speeds. It depends on where you are."

"You get to slide and go fast," Luis said, explaining why he thought that sledding was "cool."

After going down a particularly steep part of the hill, Oscar described a slight collision they had at the bottom.

"I ran into my cousin's face," Oscar said.

On their last run, Luis, who forgot to put his goggles down, ended up with snow in his eyes.

With temperatures hovering around the 20-degree mark, the boys didn't stay long.

"We've been here about 30 minutes, not long," Oscar said, adding that they were heading for warmth.

Another group of boys said it was almost too cold out to sled on Thursday, as they warmed up in a vehicle prior to taking a final trip down the hill. They too had what 17-year-old Alex Espinosa referred to as a "pretty good wipeout."

"We hit somebody," 15-year-old Aaron Trejo said, laughing. "We wrecked into someone. We were going down (the hill), and they stopped and we just tumbled out."

"And we all rolled into a ball," 15-year-old Mario Saucedo said. "It was fun."

All six boys, who also included 16-year-old Edgar Patino, 16-year-old Jack Spellman and 15-year-old Nick Milligan, had red noses as they shivered in the car.

"We were out there about an hour. It's pretty cold out," Espinosa said.

Despite the temperatures, the boys were glad to have the option.

"I mean, there's no school, so this is probably one of the best ways to just spend the small break that we have. It's better than spending time at parent-teacher conferences," Patino said.

Another older group used its own makeshift sled, an old beat up mattress that was tied to the bumper of 19-year-old Cheyenne Martin's pickup.

"It's basically just a homemade sled, really," 22-year-old Stuart Streckfus said.

They began their winter fun by taking turns on the mattress as someone else drove a pickup around in the Finney County Fairgrounds parking lot.

"This thing doesn't have four-wheel-drive, so you can't really get much speed going around a turn, you just kind of slide," 22-year-old Seth Burnett said.

"We'd get in a straight line, and then we would start swerving, kind of drifting the truck a little bit," Streckfus said. "It gets pretty fun."

Martin said she and her friend, 19-year-old Brittany Stimatze, chose to watch from inside the pickup during that particular event.

"It was fun for us watching. They kept getting snow blown in their faces, so I was like, "I'm glad I'm not out there. I'll just stay right here,'" Martin said, laughing.

Following that exhilarating ride, the friends headed over to the river bed to ride 22-year-old Steven Dye's ATV.

Martin said she hoped to get a crack at the ATV, as well.

"Hopefully they're going to let us drive it. That's what we want to do," she said.

"We just spent an hour trying to get that running," Streckfus said. "The front brakes aren't working."

"That's what the snow's for. It'll slow us down," Dye said.

Streckfus said that in one part of the river bed, the snow was quite deep.

"There are some really big holes, and I thought it was OK and went and got snow clear to my bumper, so I almost got stuck," he said, laughing.

As Dye got stuck on the ATV, Martin said, "Leave it to him to get stuck."

After several attempts at pulling the mattress behind the ATV, Stevens eventually found his groove, pulling Burnett over several bumps and then spinning him around on a flat area, just as another man, with his dog in the front seat of his pickup, pulled in and maneuvered the vehicle to spin around in circles, prior to letting the dog out to romp in the snow.