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Sunrise Rotary apologizes for scheduling shot ski fundraiser on Yom Kippur

At Park City Shot Ski Saturday afternoon, 1,340 people lined up on Main Street for a group shot of either whiskey or apple juice.
Ben Lasseter
People line Park City Main Street for a group shot of either whiskey or apple juice in October 2022.

The service organization says it will make sure future events do not overlap with the holiest day in Judaism.

By tradition, Park City and Breckenridge take turns breaking each other’s record for the world’s longest shot ski.

Sunrise Rotary, the community service organization that puts on the fundraiser, usually holds it on the second Saturday in October. This year, that’s Oct. 12, which is also Yom Kippur.

Also called the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is regarded as the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Those observing the holiday practice fasting and other acts of self-sacrifice to seek God’s forgiveness.

Park City resident June Volk said she alerted Sunrise Rotary when it announced the date.

“I just sent them an email that I was upset that they were having it on that particular Saturday,” Volk told KPCW.

In a statement, Sunrise Rotary said it was unaware of the overlap “given the regularity of our event schedule” and wouldn’t have scheduled Shot Ski for Oct. 12 had it known.

And after receiving Volk’s message, the club looked into moving the event.

“I can tell you, I lost a lot of sleep over this, and we worked very hard to try and find another day,” Sunrise Rotary President Jeff Whiting said. “We worked with the city and we worked with our sponsors, but in the end, we couldn't come up with a good alternative."

The club’s press release said it looked at other dates in the fall. But on the dates its main sponsor, High West Whiskey, was available, either other events were scheduled or there were weather concerns.

Whiting said they didn’t consider canceling because the event is expected to raise about $45,000 for Wasatch Back nonprofits.

But he also said it's important to apologize and take responsibility for the oversight, especially after a federal investigation uncovered antisemitic incidents in the Park City School District, among over 180 incidents of harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex or disability in the Park City School District.

“We've had a student and her father come and talk to [Sunrise Rotary] about the challenges that the school systems are facing,” Whiting said.

Sunrise Rotary said it will ensure future events do not overlap with Yom Kippur again.

That’s part of what Volk wants, but she said she’s still upset that she and her family will not be able to participate.

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