The Williams Lake Bullets Speed Skating Association got a chance to showcase its sport Tuesday when they hosted Speed Week in the lakecity — a provincial initiative from the BC Speed Skating Association.
Speed Week is aimed at creating overall awareness for speed skating in B.C. and a chance to host an event, locally, that can grow year after year.
The Bullets put out a challenge to the community to come test their speed against the rest of the province as they kept track of times to be posted online on the BCSSA’s website.
Williams Lake Bullets skaters, ranging in age from four to 16, hosted their own mini meet Tuesday evening at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, before welcoming players and coaches from the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association, the figure skaters from the Williams Lake Skating Club and other residents who came out to show their support, while Williams Lake’s Lorne Doerkson donated his time emceeing the evening’s festivities.
And when the dust settled, and final times were tabulated, Colton Gerrior secured the fastest time in the boys 9-11 category in 14.61 seconds, Boston Pierce placed first in the boys 12-14 class in 13.11 seconds and their Williams Lake Peewee Tier 2 Timberwolves coach, Grant Gustafson, was fastest in the adult male 41-50 class in 13.56 seconds.
Sixty-nine-year-old John Pickford, meanwhile, slapped on a pair of skates to post a 20.22-second time.
“I’m always up for a challenge,” Pickford told the Tribune of why he decided to race. “I’ve done 20 straight Tour de Cariboos, three Bowron Lake circuits and two Camino de Santiago circuits in northern Spain.
Williams Lake Skating Club members Reagan West (15.53 seconds – first in the female 12-14 division), Faith Ritchot (18.35 seconds – first in the female 15-17 division) and Ryanne Jones (16.74 seconds – first in the female 18-20 class) were also crowned Williams Lake’s fastest skaters. In the female 31-40 division, Krista Storoschuk took home the top spot in 15.81 seconds.
Putting those times in perspective, Williams Lake Bullets skaters were posting two-lap times near the 20-second mark. Bullets skater, 16-year-old Ty Lauren, for example, raced his first lap in 12.88 seconds and his second in 9.43 seconds for a 22.31-second total.
“We had some really great results,” said Williams Lake Speed Skating Association president Tracy Beaton. “It would have been nice to have a little more community participation but it’s a new event, and we’re hoping people are going to look at the times and challenge each other for next year. The opportunity to showcase the sport here was great.”
She thanked Doerkson for emceeing the event, along with Taylor Made Cakes for donating a raffle cake.
“Plus we had club parents that did baking for the sale, and grandparent volunteers who worked at the registration desk, so thank you to all the families that participated.”
Bullets skater Leah Lauren, meanwhile, said she thought the event went better than she expected.
“The figure skaters coming out as a team was awesome,” she said. “It was really cool to see how the figure skaters and the hockey players skate [differently] on our track, and it was just nice to bring all the different kinds of skaters together for an event.”
Another Bullets skater, Preston Sigsworth, said he had fun, but was tired after all was said and done.
“It feels good to be able to showcase our sport,” he said. “I’ve been here six years now and it’s nice to create some awareness.”
The Bullets, meanwhile, are now preparing to travel to Richmond this weekend for the BC Cup No. 2.
“This whole event was to lay the groundwork for future events,” Beaton said. “Now we’ve put it out there and we’re excited to see what the other clubs in the province are going to do, and if or who will beat us.”