Not being originally from Shelbyville and not being a fisherman, I’ve always appreciated the Shelbyville Dam for one reason, sledding.

A few days each year (if we are lucky), when it snows enough for there to be an accumulation of snow on the Lake Shelbyville Dam hill, it is exciting to see the hill dotted with the schussing joy of adults as well as children taking the variety of challenges offered by the best place around to go sledding, dishing, tobaggoning and ski boarding.

Every town I have lived in had a signature hill for sledding, whether it be on some municipal golf course or on some accommodating farmer’s pasture. While previously living near Shelbyville for a few years, even then the place to go was the Shelbyville Dam. No place where I lived was better than driving to Shelbyville to go sledding.

If there was a school snow day or a weekend when one of those rare snow falls and the temperature coincided with a chance to get my kids out or some youth group together, we would truck over or meet at the Shelbyville Dam.

There are so many good times, challenges met, sore muscles, head colds and broken plastic dishes connected with those days. There was the time when we got to borrow someone else’s toboggan and go for a personal distance record. There was the time we had big tractor inner tubes to bounce down the hill.

There were times when we had common sleds, but went down the biggest part of the dam and just kept going, underneath the swings and into the picnic area and the time when I had the guts and still enough strength in my knees to snowboard down the steepest part of the dam without falling.

There were times when someone not wanting to take on the challenges or sore muscles would wait at the bottom of the hill with a vehicle and provide rides back to the top for those who wanted to save their energy for schussing, instead of the three minute trudge up the hill after each 15 second run.

No matter what kind of sled we had, it was always a day brought to a close by frozen extremities, wet clothes, snotty noses and hot chocolate at home.

As we in Shelbyville are looking for ways to hang onto, highlight and maximize the unique qualities of Shelbyville, sledding on the dam could be another one of those attractions.

We have special things in Shelbyville, the Victorian Splendor Light Festival, Hometown Holidays In Shelbyville, Scarecrow Daze, etc. and other activities around this end of the lake throughout the year. One more thing is sledding on the dam.

Although the opportunities are not many, those few days when young and old (not too old) alike descend on the dam to enjoy the cold, white, icy thrills of winter are days to maximize the draw of Shelbyville.

If there was some way that the Corps of Engineers in connection with the City of Shelbyville could facilitate the enjoyment of those snow days, Shelbyville sledding could become even more renowned and remembered.

Maybe the dam road could be shut down for sledding. We shut it down for fireworks, limit its travel for cross country races and other activities. We even shut it down for those imminent terrorist threats. Maybe we could shut it down for another signature Shelbyville event, snow days.

Maybe there could be a way to provide transportation up and down the dam or other ways to increase the enjoyment for those taking advantage of one more recreational opportunity at Lake Shelbyville.

Even though it stings the toes and bites the nose, Shelbyville sledding is one more thing that makes Shelbyville unique.

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