Barrels of Fun: Community groups benefit from unique event

High water in the Fraser river lead to a rash of records being broken in the Hope Rotary River Run Regatta last weekend.

  • May. 20, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Twenty-six businesses sponsored barrels in the Hope Rotary Club annual barrel race with some creative touches added by many of the participants. Copera Drummond (l)

High water in the Fraser river lead to a rash of records being broken in the Hope Rotary River Run Regatta last weekend.

Twenty-six competitors tossed their barrels off the Hell’s Gate suspension bridge and into the raging river on Sunday morning. Rotary Club members had sequestered all of the competing barrels Saturday afternoon at C.E. Barry School, following the official weigh-in and the judging of the best decorated and the most and least likely to succeed competition.

“The first wave, or first heat of barrels, were launched at 11 40 a.m.,” said Hope Rotary President, Hank DeMeulder.

As competitors gathered downstream for a barbecue on the grounds of the Yale Historic Site, Hope Search and Rescue volunteers had their jet boat out on the river, awaiting the first barrel to shoot through the rapids at Lady Franklin Rock.

Along with funds raised in the annual barrel race for Rotary youth programs of Adventures in Citizenship and RYLA, the club also donates over $1,000 to the Yale Historical Society and Hope Search and Rescue for their valued assistance.

“The river was running very fast this year, with four barrels coming in within three hours or less. The last record was three hours and eight minutes, so we broke the record three times over.

This year, the race was a combination of big and half-sized barrels, nicknamed the Bobbers and the Bruisers in two divisions. Next year’s race will include only the smaller sized barrels, says DeMeulder, evening up the odds as the big bruisers can take up to six hours to lumber down through the canyon between Hell’s Gate and Yale.

Taking bragging rights in this year’s annual Hope Rotary Barrel Races was the Agassiz All-Storage Barrel #30 with a time of 2:35.

The Rona Home Centre Barrel #19 was a close competitor coming in at 2:38. The Hope Travelodge Barrel #2 clocked in at 2:46 for third place.

“The best decorated division was hotly contested this year between #35, #8 and #36,” said DeMeulder,

But in the end voted best decorated by the public was Dr. Art Machner’s #36 – with his fully functioning dental floss barrel.

Joe’s Restaurant barrel #8 was a dinner-ready table top perfectly set. “It was very popular and looked as through you would just sit right down for a meal.”

Not to be bested by a fellow dentist, Dr. Bob Erickson’s tooth fairy barrel #35 was “very provocative” and didn’t take best decorated but handily won the crowd pleaser award.

Voted most likely to succeed this year tied between the Valley Helicopter barrel and second place race winner Rona Home Centre. On the other hand voted by the public least likely to success was the provocative tooth fairy #35.

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