Press Release, by Sarah Burke Foundation
Today, the Sarah Burke Foundation announced the winners of its inaugural “Up and Coming Scholarship” awards. Eighteen year-old Landon McGauley, 15-year-old Taryn Baker and 14-year-old Winter Vinecki will each receive a $7,500 grant from the Foundation, which provides financial assistance to aspiring young athletes who have demonstrated personal excellence in their sports and communities.
Qualified applicants had to be 18-years old or younger, compete in winter sports, exhibit consistent academic success, and a philanthropic spirit in keeping with that of Sarah Burke. Each candidate was also required to submit three personal references that could attest to the person’s good character and generosity.
The applicant pool exceeded expectations. The Foundation initially had plans to offer two scholarships, but after identifying three equally qualified and deserving candidates, the organization chose to extend a third grant. “The applications we received were incredible. There is so much young talent out there and we continue to be awed by the many people who Sarah inspires on a daily basis. After reviewing Landon’s, Taryn’s and Winter’s applications, we really had no choice but to create another scholarship to honor all three of these amazing teenagers,” says Foundation President, Rory Bushfield.
The “Up and Coming Scholarship” award winners are:
- • 18-year-old Landon McGauley, a Para-alpine skier from Quesnel, British Columbia, who sustained a T5 spinal cord injury in a downhill mountain biking accident three years ago. Though he is now confined to a wheelchair, Landon hasn’t let his accident slow him down. He is already training for a career in alpine racing, with the ultimate goal of making the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team. In his spare time, Landon volunteers at local schools in his community.
- • Heavenly Valley, Calif. freestyle mogul skier Taryn “Smiley” Baker’s commitment to her sport is matched by her dedication to mentoring others off the slopes. The high school student currently holds a 4.2 grade point average and dreams of someday becoming a World Champion freestyle skier.
- • Winter Vinecki is an avid triathlete and skier whose sights were set on alpine skiing until Sarah Burke’s performance at a water ramp camp in 2012 inspired her to change course. Winter is now pursuing aerial skiing and is a renowned philanthropist. She has raised over $400,000 for prostate cancer research through “Team Winter,” a charity she founded. Winter dreams of becoming the youngest person to complete a marathon on every continent, and she is already well on her way.
Winning these scholarships is a honor for all three budding professional athletes. “Words can’t express what it means to me to be accepting the first annual Sarah Burke Foundation Scholarship. The privilege of helping carry on Sarah’s legacy, her passion for freestyle skiing, her love for life and her empathy for helping others is a huge responsibility and honor. This scholarship will help fuel my determination and drive knowing that I’m not only chasing Gold for myself but also for Sarah,“ says Winter.