For the second year in a row the snowmobile races did not go forward during the Deer Lake Winterfest.
Last year the reason was the weather, with the mild temperatures making the race site at the Humber Golf Course near the airport into an ankle-deep slush pit. This year the lack of volunteers made it impossible to organize the once-yearly snowmobile races.
Wilf Curlew of the Junction Trailblazers said the lack of volunteers was the main reason the races did not go forward. He said the event traditionally takes a minimum of nearly 20 volunteers to operate, and this year they could only rally three.
Curlew said between 7-9 volunteers are needed to organize it, and during race day, about 15 are needed for various duties. Someone needs to be there to take registration, inspect the machines, get everything into place and to manage crowds. Judges are also needed, especially two at the end of the track to determine which machine crossed the line first at the end of any given race, and announcers need to be in place to call the races.
And if people want a canteen, it takes at least three volunteers.
“I just can’t understand it. We just couldn’t get anyone to help, even though everyone said they were looking forward to (the races),” said Curlew. “If we can get back on track next year hopefully we can get them back up again.”
Terilynn Robbins of the Deer Lake Chamber of Commerce, who also serves on the Junction Trailblazers Committee, said it wasn’t so much a lack of volunteers, but getting people qualified to perform certain duties.
“We had the bodies; we needed the expert volunteers with previous race experience,” she said. “It’s definitely a disappointment. Any time there’s a community event planned you always want to see it go forward from a sponsorship point of view.”
Robbins sounded optimistic when asked about the possibility of the races going forward next year.
“The same people who did come forward this year have all committed to helping out next year,” she said. “We’re hoping that with a whole year to plan, there’s lots to do, and this will give us the time to do it.”