Teams of eight will have their chance to prove their strength by pulling a city bus on a portion of Bernard Avenue Thursday.
For the second year in a row Central and South Okanagan Similkameen United Way will be hosting a Bus Pull fundraiser which will pit teams against each other as they race to pull a 24,000 pound city bus 60 feet to the finish line. As a fundraiser for United Way, all of the money raised will go to a specific purpose.
“This particular event is going to fund our Impact Fund,” explained Executive Director Shelley Gilmore. “(The Impact Fund) is money we set aside for urgent issues or emergency grants. So if the community presents an issue to us, something like there’s a sudden shortage in day care spots, or the food bank requires some support, or one of the shelters runs into a problem. That’s the money we would access to make sure the agencies get the support they need.”
Gilmore said they have a goal of raising $10,000, which is conservative when compared to last year’s total of roughly $19,000. However, United Way has limited the number of teams to 15 this year from the 17 that participated last year due to time constraints, which is one of the reasons they have kept their goal as moderate as they have. The fundraising for the event is done through the participating teams themselves. Each team has to provide a minimum donation of $750, but they are also encouraged to collect additional pledges to raise as much money as possible.
The Bus Pull will take place on Bernard Avenue between Water Street and Mill Street from 11am to 1pm. There will be some traffic closures to accommodate the event, but Gilmore noted the impact on traffic should be minimal.
“That one block of Bernard will be closed, we aren’t blocking Water or Mill,” she described. “You can still go all the way around that block. Transit won’t be disrupted, it’s just that one block. You’ll start to see barricades go up at about 8:30 Thursday morning, just on that one small section of street. Last year we were cleaned up by about 2:00, and our goal is be out as quickly as possible to make sure we’re not interrupting traffic too much.”
The Bus Pull will also feature strongman Noah Normandale, who is returning from last year’s event to once again pull a bus on his own. However, additional weight can be added this year as spectators can choose to make a $100 donation to his pledge to sit on the bus while he pulls it.
Gilmore invites everyone to come watch and cheer on the teams as they attempt to pull a city bus with nothing but a rope.