août 29, 2007
As many of you read about last summer and over the winter, we love to celebrate our heritage here in Manitoba! One of the big festivals in Winnipeg takes place every February and is called the "Festival Du Voyageur". In fact, Gerry was the GM of the Festival from 1973-1984! The Festival is designed to celebrate the fur trade era, and the wonderful french-canadian "Joie de Vivre". Imagine if you will the voyageurs on the banks of the river in the 1700's, competing in events like leg wrestling and tug-of-war. As part of the modern-day Festival, there is an open competition to see who the best "Voyageur" is! Last year, Dave and Andre competed under the Aikens banner in this 64-man tournament. They did very well, each reaching the final round of 16. Last night, we held our own version of the games to see who the 2 Aikens competitors would be in February 2008. The night started off with some good old french-canadian singing and stomping as we were getting everything setup. As we have not finished our rod lockers yet, we were able to use the structure to have a great venue for the 5-event competition. Our guests from Willis Re and Bankers Insurance also took part in some true "Canadiana" by cheering on the competitors. We were even lucky enough to have the official Voyageur Games judge, Gabe Masse, at Aikens this week (he's installing heat pumps for the Sunset Chalets). In all, 9 of our guys wanted to compete, and so we setup the competition accordingly. Dave is no longer here to defend his title, so Andre came in as a favorite, as did Turbo (he finished 3rd last year... just narrowly missing the opportunity to compete at the Festival). The first event featured leg wrestling. Andre breezed through it, beating out Points in the finals. It seemed that he would have no problem defending his title. The "lutte indienne" saw Ashton face Andre in the first round. Ashton took him down, and went on to beat Turbo in the finals. Maybe this was not to be Andre's night? The third event, a crowd favorite, was the pillow fight while balancing on a 6"x6" log. Two of our guests Paul and Ed demonstrated the event to the roar of the crowd! In the actual competition, it was again Turbo and Ashton in the finals... but this time Turbo's balance helped him beat out Ashton. The 4th event is the tug-of-war, but the caveat is that competitors are standing on a small section of log so it's not just brawn but also brains that wins this event. Although they had struggled earlier, Bruno and Tyler wound up head-to-head in the finals. Bruno prevailed in what was easily the best seesaw matchup of the night. It came down to the final event to see how everything would pan out. The event was a timed log-saw. The first round eliminated 5 of the 9 competitors, as Pat showed all the rookies how it was done. He cut last, but was the quickest with a time of 7.08. Bruno, Marcel, Turbo, and Pat cut in the finals and Turbo's 7.11 was enough to beat out the rest. The final scores looked like this: 1st - Turbo (350) 2nd - Ashton (300) 3rd - Bruno (250) T-4th - Pat and Andre (225) Turbo is the 2007 Aikens champion! However, since he is planning on working in Phoenix this winter it's possible he won't be around in February to compete so Bruno is already psyched about the chance of being called up! If you would like to travel to Winnipeg in February, you will get to see our guys compete against some of the city's biggest dudes! Even if you aren't here, follow along on our newsletter!