14th annual Black Hills Gold Rush figure skating competition comes back to town

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - If you're a fan of figure skating you might want to hit up the 14th annual Black Hills Gold Rush figure skating competition this weekend.

Sponsored by the Black Hills Skating Academy and the Black Hills Figure Skating Club, this year's Gold Rush is quite special as it marks the event as the first non-qualifying U-S Figure Skating Association competition, which is a higher level of competition from previous years. This gives skaters an opportunity to test their skills in front of sanctioned qualifying judges and also serves as a stepping stone for skaters to compete in the test track levels of U.S. Figure Skating.

"This is really important because we don't have any skating judges in all of South Dakota so our skaters have always had to travel to maybe Colorado or Wyoming or Nebraska...other places to take their test which to able to test in state is huge and it's just really comfortable for them," said Debbie Minter, a quadruple U.S. Gold Medalist. "It saves them a bunch of money, it's exciting. Very few of these skaters ever get to see the test like the next level and so some of them today are able to watch the level they will start working on now or take next time."

If you want to come down and watch these athletes coming from all over the region it starts Saturday, Feb. 16, 8:15 a.m. and continues through the weekend with a "Skate Your Dreams" skating clinic on Sunday. This is a free event.