The Yellowknife Association for Community Living (YKACL) is expecting a large number of Northerners to don their finest rain boots this weekend as participation and donation numbers for the 26th annual Gumboot Rally is expected to be up from last year’s event.
A total of 14 teams have already registered online for this year’s event, a larger number than the total number of teams that participated last year. With an additional 27 team captain kits picked up in person, organizers for the event are expecting even more teams to register before the event takes place on Saturday, May 5.
“Yellowknife is a very last minute town,” said board member Tony Florio. “Last year we had around 21 teams; it’s always around 20 teams. Some teams choose to fundraise but not come on the Saturday.”
Due to the rally having a history of last minute fundraising, the association is also predicting this year’s event to pass the $26,000 raised last year. A total of $2,000 had been raised online as of Sunday morning, 13 days before the event.
“Last year online donations totaled $5,300, most of which accrued in the final 10 days before last year’s rally,” said Daron Letts, YKACL communications and administrative officer.
The rally, which takes place in the parking lot of the Yellowknife Education District No. 1’s head office, is the YKACL’s flagship fundraiser, each team of five will fundraise as much money as they can in the weeks leading up to the day of competition in order to support the association’s programs.
“This supplements the money that we get from the government and other sources of funding and this will enhance our programs,” said Florio.
Once the money is raised, each team of five will compete against one another in a series of gumboot themed games, including a marble toss, and a basketball competition where the balls are replaced with rubber boots.
“We participate in a bunch of gumboot activities” said Danielle Cuvelier, a volunteer with the association. “Our favorite activities are where you have to roll a marble down a hill and get it into the gumboot. We also throw the gumboots into a child sized basketball net.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” she added. “It’s a great community event, it’s a family event, we have teams that have children and parents on them and it’s a good way to have the community understand the services a little bit more that YKACL provides.”
This year’s rally has the theme of Be a Hero, which leads the organizers to believe most teams will be dressed in their best superhero garb.
The rally will feature local musicians throughout the event which lasts from 10 a.m. to 12 am, and all participants will receive a meal after the competition is completed. There are prizes for the teams and individuals that raise the most money.