There was no King of Kings final run-off, because there was no need for one.

Keith Curtis put a bow on the 43rd annual World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb on Sunday, capturing the stock, improved and modified titles for a cleanly swept King of Kings title at Snow King.

“I can’t be more happy right now,” the Dillon, Montana, native said. “I came into this with big expectations and big goals, and, you know, it all worked out. … It’s been a dream of mine to get the Triple Crown here and get the King of Kings.”

The King races pitted the winners from each classification against each other within the stock, modified and improved categories. The winners of those three title races usually run off against each other for the King of Kings title, but all three wins went to Curtis, negating the need for the final runs.

After a full day of championship racing that began at 8 a.m., Curtis admitted to a bit of an arm pump as he shut his snowmobile down for the final time. In the stock final, Curtis elected to forgo his second run, relying on his first run time to hold in an effort to conserve energy. He then cruised to the improved title in 1:21.46, before ripping a modified run of 1:13.63, a time that bested second place by nearly seven seconds.

As the races wore on, the top of Snow King began to deteriorate, forming deep trenches in the snow. Just around the 30th gate, a final wall proved to be the biggest challenge of the day, tossing riders from their sleds within feet of the finish.

Curtis said that by the King races, when the wall was most dug out and challenging, he had to take a different approach each time he crested the top of Snow King.

“It was technical,” Curtis said. “There’s a lot of snow up there, so the trenches were deep, the headwalls were big, and there was a lot of rock and dirt and ice showing. You had to pick your lines carefully.”

Four races remain on the docket for Curtis, with stops in Beaver, Utah; Pinedale; Logan, Utah; and at Grand Targhee Resort looming.

“My body is feeling good, my mind is right, and I mean my sleds held up really well,” he said. “Honestly, I can’t thank enough the team that helps me. ... They really brought it together, and it feels really good.”

The Queen of Queens title went to Shelley Balls, of Smoot. Jackson’s Shad Free claimed a title in the pro masters improved division, and Kalispell, Montana’s Les Keller and Wisdom, Montana’s Sam Peterson each claimed two classification titles.

For further coverage of the Hill Climb, see Wednesday’s edition of the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

Contact Chance Q. Cook at 732-7065, sports@jhnewsandguide.com.

Sports Editor Chance Cook has lived in rural Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Butte, Montana. He is no stranger to spending time in the woods chasing animals. If you see him out, challenge him to a game of pool. Send tips and questions.

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