First annual Backwoods TRY-Athlon a huge success

A team of 150 Mile Fire Department members break after completing the water lap of the Backwoods TRy-Athlon. Max Winkleman photo
Kayakers make their way in to dock as they race to compete in the first leg of the Backwoods TRY-Athlon. Max Winkleman photo
Sarah Fletcher bikes in the Backwoods TRY-Athlon on Saturday, Sept. 7. Max Winkleman photo
There were 66 participants who kayaked, biked and ran around Gavin Lake at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake’s first annual Backwoods TRY-Athlon on Saturday, Sept. 7. Natasha Johnson photo
Bruce Hicks paddles across Gavin Lake. Natasha Johnson photo
A pair of kayakers make their way across Gavin Lake on the first leg of the Backwoods TRY-Athlon. Natasha Johnson photo
Grace Turner ended up being the second woman to finish the Backwoods TRY-Athlon overall on Saturday, Sept. 7. Natasha Johnson photo
Alexi Myher finished first overall amongst all women who took part in the inaugural Backwoods TRY-Athlon. Natasha Johnson photo.

The first annual Backwoods TRY-Athlon was a smash hit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake with 66 participants and over $16,500 raised.

BBBSWL executive director Angela Kadar could not be happier with the turnout for this inaugural event or the success it enjoyed. This was especially true as around two weeks before the event they only had 15 people signed up, she said, meaning they got a lot of last-minute submissions.

“It was so awesome and we got so much support from the community, so it was really great that way,” Kadar said. “We were so, so blown away.”

Despite the untested nature of this event and the nature of the backwoods, there were no injuries Kadar was proud to report. The energy of the event was super high, she said, with participants coming off the trails smiling and happy.

It was especially rewarding to see so many people challenge themselves while their children watched and cheered them on from the sidelines, Kadar said. Making this a family-oriented event was a priority for her when she first came up with the idea and one she was happy to see play out.

Read More: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake introduces Backwoods Try-Athalon

“We had a lot of relay teams and as a team, they really just pushed each other. We had the 150 Mile House Fire crew out there and they were so great. They had a 10 man team and had a 10 man canoe together and that was so amazing to watch them pile into this canoe and just paddle, once they got going they jetted across the lake,” Kadar said. “Watching them high five each other as they crossed the finish line was just really encouraging for us to watch as well.”

Looking to the future, Kadar hopes to build off of the potential team-building aspects of the event to attract local teams and businesses to partake in the event. They also plan to make the banquet barbeque style next year to be able to feed people faster and to do better maintenance on the trails. They also would love to add an intermediate and novice biking trail to attract a wider range of participants in the future.

The event was made possible she said thanks to the tireless efforts of all the volunteers, including their emcee for the event Harry Jennings, himself a ‘big’ in the BBBSWL program. She also wanted to extend a personal thank you to Mike Tudor from the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre who hosted the event and the Initial Attack CIFAC crews who came out and helped clear the trails prior to the TRY-Athlon.

Sponsors for the event included The West Fraser Truckers Association, Penney Mechanical Ltd, Cameron & Co Accountants and Pioneer Logging without whom Kadar said they couldn’t have raised as much money as they did.

“I feel like finding programming for youth is such a central focus for us as a community, supporting our youth and the programs we offer by offering a mentor to these kids it really does make a difference,” Kadar said. “Our community is rallying with us and supporting us. It really allows us to support our youth so we just want to say thank you.”

Read More: Backwoods TRY-Athlon ready to provide a fun family time

The results from the first annual Backwoods TRY-Athlon are as follows:

Overall Highest Fundraiser: Kara Mills $1,145

Winner of an Opus Sonar Mountain Bike Donated by Red Shred’s Bike and Board.

Second Highest Fundraiser: Bruce Hicks $590

Winner of two night stay with boat rental donated by Wilderness Lake Resort.

Third Highest Fundraiser: Kylie Green $400

Winner of two night stay donated by Chaunigan Lake.

Fourth Highest Fundraiser: Kerri Dunsmore $375

Winner of a $300 Gift Card donated by United Concrete and Gravel.

Volunteer Draw: Kristy Harvey won a $100 Gift Card Donated by The Rusty Bucket Rider Draw while Christine Habsburg won a 1-hour Massage donated by Cameron’s Massage & Wellness Everyone Draw. Meanwhile, Karl Schiemann won a BBQ donated by Julie and Joe Augustine.

Top 3 Male Riders Over Finish Line

1st: George Warr- 2:05:19

2nd: Jeremy Stowards – 2:06:34

3rd JJ Blast- 2:25:47

Top 3 Female Riders Over Finish Line

1st: Alexis Myhre- 2:17:23

2nd: Grace Turner- 2:28:01

3rd: Dianna Embleton- 2:28:01

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