We seek out exceptional U.P. artists to craft our awards. This is done not only to honor their profession and its critical place in our culture, but also to contribute more substantially to local economy. Moreover, we feel they harbor more character than machine stamped medallions with a nylon ribbon. If you have the opportunity to meet the artists who make our awards, Denise Vandeville and Rick Shapero, please say hello. They are wonderful people to talk with in addition to being accomplished artists.
Rick Shapero is glass artist and cross country skiier from Cedarville in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Last year he created substantial cobalt and green glass bowls for the overall winners in the marathon and 10K respectively. He also produced the large glass medallions for age group winners in both events. He sought out some hand spun locally raised wool from a farmer friend of his and then we had it hand knit into neck loops for the medallions. We also had the silhouette of Grand Island etched into each piece. The glass interacts beautifully with sunlight.