A Pembina Valley Challenge Expereience

This past weekend I participated for the 1st time in the Pembina Valley Challenge – An Amazing Race! The weekend kicked off on Friday evening at the Carman Arena with contests, prizes and refreshments. We got to see some great team costumes, and hear some great team names “U R In Trouble” stands out!. Teams ranged from friends to families. We were then handed our info packet for Saturday’s tasks, & we started planning strategy!

Saturday’s tasks covered the communities of Somerset, La Rivière, Manitou, Pembina Valley, Morden, Miami & Carman. Everyone started off from Carman at 8:00, motors revving. Where to go first? Where are the other teams going to go? We thought we’d head to Somerset via PR 245 – everyone else who wasn’t familiar with the area was going to go by #3 & clog it up. Much to our surprise, there were a whole lot of other cars headed to Somerset via #245!

I had our schedule timed to the minute, with no bathroom or lunch breaks. Needless to say, I eventually allowed bathroom breaks for my team members. We ended up going to La Rivière, Manitou, Darlingford, Pembina Valley, Morden, Miami, and finished off in Carman. We ended up completing 41 out of a possible 58 tasks. It was a long day!

Saturday night we handed in our packet, & received more info for Sunday. More strategizing! Sunday morning seemed early, getting lined up for 8:00 again. There were a few bleary eyes! Sunday seemed a little easier; perhaps we were getting used to hopping in and out of the car & racing to the task. Sunday’s tasks were in St. Claude, Roland, Winkler, Altona & Rosenort. Everyone headed to St. Claude, as these activities had to be done in the morning. I thought it was going to be a zoo, but everyone was prepared & the tasks were completed quickly.

On Sunday we completed 37 out of 45 activities, and had to be back by 6:30 in Carman. I never finished a Sudoku so fast as on our 2nd last stop of the day, in Rosenort!

Throughout the 2 days we were also on the lookout for locations of pictures of places in the area, as we had to identify the locations for extra points. Extra points above the challenge points could also be earned for purchases and donations at the various tasks. Some of the activities were challenging physically (climbing that hill at the Zipline in the Pembina Valley), mentally (singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in sign language at Somerset) or adventurous (eating a pickle & bubblegum blizzard at Buddy’s in Carman). We got to try different things and learn about the various communities we were in.

Sunday evening we all waited in anticipation of the results. Prizes were given for family & senior teams, as well as for the top 10. First prize was $1000. My team ended up 27 out of 87. We were happy, considering we were hoping to be in the top 50!

All the hosts were great. I saw places in the Pembina Valley I hadn’t seen before, & met great people, both hosts and fellow Race participants. Thanks to the organizers and challenge hosts – it’s a lot of work to put on something like this. An event like this benefits the communities in many ways. A fair amount of money was spent in the area over the weekend, between purchases and donations, as well as fuel and food. One of the non-profit stops told me they raised over $300 between purchases & donations, which was great for their organization. I heard many positive comments from participants about the scenery, the facilities, and the friendliness of the people. I’m sure many of the people not from the area (& people from the area too) enjoyed their tour of southern Manitoba and the Pembina Valley and will come back.

So plan to attend the Pembina Valley Challenge next year; you’ll have a blast!

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