Cheetah Burrows Andersen and Farrenkopf

County Commissioner Jeff Burrows, Extension Agent Katelyn Andersen (holding the Winter Wellness details and one of the prizes) and Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf talk about the “Cheetah Challenge,” a fun addition to the Winter Wellness program.

There’s a competition between Hamilton City employees and Ravalli County employees underway, in the spirit of health. Plus, Hamilton is having a Christmas decorating contest.

The Ravalli County Extension’s Winter Wellness program invites every adult to complete any type of physical activity between now and Feb. 20, log the exertions on the website and be eligible for prizes donated by community members and businesses.

Hamilton Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf decided “it wouldn’t hurt to shed a few pounds,” and that city employees could outdo county employees. He consulted his department heads then went before the county commission to issue a challenge to the county in a friendly way with no smack talk.

“It would encourage more people to participate in the Winter Wellness program,” Farrenkopf said. "I don't want to talk trash because I may have to eat my words and heaven knows I've eaten my fair share of things around here already.”

Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows agreed to the Winter Wellness challenge.

“It is going to be a fun little competition,” he said. “It caught us off guard but we are looking forward to it. It will be fun to see how it shakes out since this is the first time we’ve done it.”

They are calling it the “Cheetah Challenge” because the cheetah is the fastest animal on earth. The winner will receive a “Cheetah Award,” and participants may win a great prize from the Winter Wellness program, plus bragging rights for a year. The loser will win the “Sloth Award” because it is the slowest animal on earth.

Since there are around 200 county employees and 50 city employees the contest is based on a percentage of participants and entries (minutes accumulated). (When logging your entry there is a question on the website asking where you work.)

“You don’t have to be a city or county employee to participate in the Winter Wellness,” Farrenkopf said. “There are great prizes and people should learn about it and do it. This might just be the motivation they need to get through the winter. This is for anyone that wants to participate.”

Extension Agent Katelyn Andersen said the challenge is good.

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“As coordinator of community activities it is inspiring when somebody outside your direct committee comes up with an idea to grow the project that you’re working on,” Andersen said. “This is a way to inspire worksite wellness. The Cheetah Challenge is competitive in a fun way, everyone loves a good challenge.”

Andersen said that if other agencies want to have a wellness challenge for their own staff she can add their entity to the list. As for vetting the entries the she said that it is all done on the honor system.

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To find out more or log your exercise, visit www.ravalli.msuextension.org.

Farrenkopf and Burrows also want a basketball game between the two entities. Watch for that in January.

Hamilton is also hosting a Christmas Decorating contest.

Mayor Dominic Farrenkopf said he and the city commissioners would like the residents of Hamilton to participate in one of two ways. One way is to decorate your house and yard and nominate yourself and two is look at your neighbors and nominate them for their work.

“Both of those are accepted and encouraged,” Farrenkopf said. “Pete Seifert won last year. We know a lot of people decorate for Christmas which is one of the things that makes Hamilton so nice, all the cute homes and neighborhoods. It just makes sense for us to recognize those who put in extra effort to make it all nicer with Christmas decorations.”

He said awarding the contest is also, “a way to thank everyone for making their property look nice.” The prize is a certificate signed by the mayor and city council president and bragging rights for a year.

Some quick rules are that nominated homes must be within Hamilton city limits, entry forms are available at City Hall ( 223 S. 2nd Street), entries must be received by Dec. 14, judging (by city elected officials) will take place and the winner will be announced on Dec. 17.