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Gumboot rally welcomes spring

Peter Varga
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - The turnout was down, but results were solid for this year's 18th annual Gumboot Rally.

NNSL photo/graphic

Brad Elkin-Hall, from team Public Works and Services Hardhats, participates in games at the annual Gumboot Rally fundraiser at the Yk 1 School District Office parking lot on Saturday morning. The event raised funds for the Yellowknife Association for Community Living. - Adrian Lysenko/NNSL photo

The Yellowknife Association for Community Living raised $12,500 at the event May 22 at the Yk 1 Education District office parking lot, where seven teams competed in events that celebrate the coming of spring with rubber boots.

"It was another great event this year, mostly due to our amazing volunteers and sponsors," said Jane Arychuk, head organizer.

The rally normally draws 10-12 teams, said Arychuk, but turnout was slightly down this year "just because of the long weekend (Victoria Day) and other events took people away."

The event hearkens back to an outdoor fundraiser the association put on 18 years ago, which was nearly washed out due to soggy spring weather. Rubber boots, otherwise known as gumboots, saved the day.

"The ice melted, so they ended up having events in their gumboots," said Arychuk - and the rest is history.

Members of various community organizations put together teams of five to compete in games modified to include spring rubber footwear. Among them were basketboots, said Arychuk, where players would throw small boots through basketball hoops; bowling boots, where boots were used instead of bowling pins; and a hockey game in which players would target a boot dangling in front of a hockey net.

Prizes were given to the top-performing and best-costumed teams, as well as the top fundraisers.

The Holy Rollers, representing Yellowknife Catholic Schools, won for best costumes, while the Loch Ness Monsters, made up of literacy outreach students of Aurora College, won for best performance at the gumboots games. Other teams vying for prizes included the Public Works and Services Hardhats, from the city's Department of Public Works; Beyond a Reasonable Trout, representing the NWT Department of Justice; the Cowgirls of the Catholic Women's League; the Silly Vampires; and BHP Billiton.

Every participant raised funds and recruited sponsors. Participant Jaqueline Lambert of the Cowgirls won two grand prizes - two pairs of tickets to Edmonton with Canadian North - for having raised the most funds and taking on the most sponsors, Arychuk said. Runner-up Harper Sateana-Barr won one trip to anywhere Canadian North flies.

The association, which supports intellectually-challenged adults, uses funds raised to support its activities, said Arychuk, which include respite care, skills training, and the Abe Miller summer cafe.

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