In total, 11 teams competed in what volunteer event chair Bob Unger referred to as an “entertaining and challenging fundraiser.”
He added that despite the enormous size and weight of the 40,000 pound, 65-foot-long, CL415 water bomber plane, the challenge was just as much psychological as physical.
With the exception of the MNR, none of the other teams had access to a CL415 to practice with. Members of the MNR’s Ontario Fire Rangers team weren’t shy to shout, “Whose plane? Our plane!” every chance they could in the spirit of friendly competition.
The Cambrian students prepared for the event by pulling a fire truck around. Lead anchor Chris Richardson said because the fire truck only weighed 6,000 pounds, they broke up into teams of four people.
“That’s still 2,600 pounds a pop,” he added.
This was roughly equivalent to what each person on the team of 15 was responsible for pulling during the event.
The students donned “war paint,” had their own chant and a team of cheerleaders supporting them on the runway. Before the competition started Richardson said, “If we’re not the fastest, we’re going to be the loudest.”
Canadian Cancer Society community partnership intern Chantal Beauparlant said she got the idea for this event when she was visiting Ottawa. The Ottawa Airport had just completed their eighth annual Plane Pull Challenge.
Beauparlant was initially hoping to raise $15,000, but by the end of the event the total, including silent auction bids, team pledges and donations, roughly $32,000 was raised. “It was an amazing success for a first time event,” she said.
Unger added he is hoping this will become an annual event.
All the money raised will go toward the Canadian Cancer Society’s Wheels of Hope transportation program, which transports local cancer-patients to their cancer-related appointments.
Last year, volunteer drivers assisted 428 adults and children with 10,662 trips to and from their cancer treatment.
Pulling Wheels for Hope results:First Place: MNR Ontario Firefighters with a time of 7.66 seconds
Second Place: Cambrian College (School of Justice) with a time of 7.77 seconds
Third Place: The Healing Team with a time of 8.05 seconds
Top Team Cheer: Cambrian College (School of Justice)