Buzz lightyear gets pulled by Woody during the 2024 Skijoring for MS fundraiser. Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

COLD LAKE – On a sunny winter day, the third annual Skijoring for MS event took place at the Cold Lake Exhibition Park, March 9. The event, aimed at fundraising for individuals battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS), drew a crowd of enthusiastic participants and supporters, all rallying behind the cause. 

The event, a combination of action-packed racing where a skier is towed by a horse, has gained significant popularity within the community. Organized by Team MS Ain’t Purdy, the event has successfully raised over $45,000 in the past two years. 

The festivities kicked off at 11 a.m. with an opening speech by City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland. The Canadian spirit soared as Shelby Dutertre serenaded the attendees with a rendition of O’ Canada. 

James Turrell, one of the event announcers, captured the essence of the day’s proceedings, expressing gratitude to the attendees and emphasizing the scale of the event. “Thanks everyone for coming out. This is a big deal for us. We have a pile of fun thrown at this party for you,” Turrell said, gesturing towards the 50 teams gathered for the event. 

Copeland echoed Turrell’s sentiments, expressing appreciation for the organizers and sponsors behind the event. “We’re happy that James (Purdy) and all the volunteers behind this are putting this on. This is a pretty unique event and the last two years have been a lot of fun,” said Copeland. He also extended his best wishes to the participating teams, although with a lighthearted caution, “Let’s hope the emergency department doesn’t see anybody.” 

As the day unfolded, the competition heated up with various sponsored races and challenges. The sprint run kicked off the adrenaline fueled contests. Then the circuit heat saw all 50 teams showcasing their skills as they manoeuvred through obstacles, demonstrating precision and agility. 

Lionel Romanchuk, another announcer at the event, highlighted the charitable aspect of the event, noting the importance of community support in the fight against MS.  

“There is a silent auction in the AG building, there’s a donation table in the AG building, so if you’d like to make a donation to the M.S Society of Canada you can get a tax receipt,” Romanchuk announced, urging attendees to contribute towards the cause. 

Romanchuk also shed light on the broader impact of the event, stating, “Funds raised at this event will help people living locally with MS of course, funds also go to research to help find a cure for MS.” 

Team Beauty and The Beast, led by 16-year-old Griffin Purdey on the back of his trusty mare Copper and pulled by 14-year-old Annabelle Iverson, clinched victory in both the sprint race and the circuit race, achieving an impressive run time of 19.22 seconds. 

Best Crash went to team “Better Late than Never” for Circuit 1 and “The Lucky Gamblers” for Big Air 1. 

Best costume went to “Say Der’s a Chance” and “Flying Angels.” 

Best AGG time went to “Beauty & the Beast” and “Kool Kids.” 

Big Air/Freestyle went to “The M&M Show” with first place, second place went to “Hat Creek Cattle Company,” and third place went to “Better Late than Never.” 

Organizers estimate about $20,000 was raised at this year’s event.

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 12, 2024 at 13:05

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated