Words and photos by Josh Dooley
July 8th marked the day for the 8thannual Rat Race hosted by the brains behind Drink Water: Austin Smith, Brian and Stephen Fox. The magnitude of this event transcends snowboarding, yet brings out legends, pro’s and regular joes alike with such names as: Terje Haakonsen, Russell Winfield, Pat Moore, Desiree Melancon, Jill Perkins, Tim Eddy, Austin Sweetin, Mark Sollars, Gillian Andrewshanko and so many more all in the name of providing water for those who lack access to clean water through Water.Org.
But you can imagine as relaxed as the event was, riders were out there to win, not for the glory, rather to avoid the increasingly growing awards that tell it like it is. For example, Pat Moore won the “Biggest Name, Biggest Time” award highlighting that he managed one of the slower times. So yeah, you want to do well. Doing well however isn’t as easy as it one might think with the course changing each year as Brian and Austin mastermind new ways to keep people from crossing the finishing line. This year the theme that riddles the t-shirts for the event was titled “Mind the Woops” as the course started with several woops to loosen you up as well as finished with woops as you pray you’d crossed the finish line at your top speed. The woops at the end did what they were intended for as some of the top names in the industry looked like the wild and wacky inflatable arms mascot found outside of dodgy car dealerships as the rode or slide across. One rider, whom I will keep anonymous, managed to crap his paints on course after going down on the final woops…yeah that happened, and you bet he got an award for it also. On a more positive note, this was the first Rat Race in the last 8 where no one broke any bones.
By the end of the race the sun was shining and top spots went too Jake Blauvelt with the fastest time for Pro Men’s, Isabella Gomez for fastest time in Women’s, and Danny Kern in the Open category. The event wrapped up in the parking lot of Timberline, lined with amazing rigs from all over Canada and the States and endless conversation of the day that was just enjoyed.
The Rat Race has raised just shy of $250,000 over the last 8 years that this event has been running,all in the name to provide clean water to those who lack it. It is truly amazing to see a community of snowboarders coming together for a cause so great. Well done snowboarding, well done.