The Road Less Travelled
By TERRI WINDOVER, Connect Columnist
After twenty years, Fort McMurray finally had the opportunity to host another ASA Jamboree. It was three years in the making and took a ton of effort, planning and volunteer hours to pull off.
As someone who has spearheaded many large sporting and charity events, I know exactly how hard it is and how much it takes to do it successfully. I can honestly say it was a well-executed event filled with unique moments that reflected our local community – Exactly what a rally should be.
A Meet & Greet event was held at the Sawridge Inn & Conference Centre on March 4.
It was filled with great food and high energy with over 250 Albertans in attendance.
There was an amazing display from the Fort McMurray Fire Departments Honour Guard, along with the entire pipe and drum from our local legion.
The club president’s daughter Deonna Fetzko travelled back from Edmonton to sing a beautiful rendition of “Oh, Canada” to an appreciative audience, while a group of local children upped the cuteness factor into the stratosphere with an original song and dance called “Drifters”.
On March 5, the day turned out to be a sunny and warm with temperatures that climbed to plus three degrees, which is a lot better than twenty below on a six hour ride – let me tell you. The mild weather allowed the over 450 riders to socialize at the many pit stops along the way, over hot chocolate and a variety of foods and snacks.
There was the usual ribbing between the Cat, Skidoo and Polaris drivers. The Skidooers won of course. (Although, I may be a tad biased there). Considering that the lack of snow this entire season made for a nail biting waiting game, Mother Nature dropped just enough snow in recent days to ensure that the vast majority of the trails used were snow covered and enjoyable. There were a few icy hills and corners; and, as with any rally there were a couple of crashes, a few minor injuries and a couple of sleds decided to simply quit and had to be towed along. (I’m betting they were Cats.)
One of the original founders of the ASA Jamboree from 1970, Dennis Blakeman took part in the rally at the young at heart age of 88. When asked about the Fort McMurray rally, he replied: “The original purpose of the Jamboree was to be fully inclusive of all the clubs and to be family based.”
He was thrilled that the McMurray Sno-Drifters took it back to its core values of family, inclusivity and socializing. Well Dennis, we were thrilled to have you ride with us and we are glad it lived up to your vision.
A special shout out goes to the sled winners at the rally. Michael Saunders won the 2016 Skidoo Summit SP 800 E-tec. The mini sled was won by Lucas Rice from Smokey lake and Connie Smith won the 2016 Polaris RMK 800 155” Snowcheck after crushing the competition in a human game of Hungry Hippos. (I watched this hilarious and unique game and I can tell you she earned that sled. Way to go, Connie!)
If you own a sled and you missed the rally, you definitely missed a great time for the whole family. Hopefully, it won’t be twenty years until the next one.