I uh... found.... this article about the mini-chuckwagon races from the other day. I'm not convinced it's entirely accurate, but the part about me winning got it right!
June 11, 2016
The local radio station, in co-operation with sponsors, once again held its annual mini-chuckwagon race. Nearly forty competitors tested their mettle against one another in the parking lot of a local grocery store, trying to win $1500 for charity, racing their wagon-laden tricycles around a track lined with hay.
The ultimate winner, Carla Heinrichs, representative of Medicine Hat College, is a veteran of mini-chuckwagon racing, having placed second in the final round last year. "Well, how about that?" said the event's organizer, John Petrie, when he learned of her previous experience. "Nobody remembers second place. We didn't even recognize her when she came early to practice." When asked to comment before the race, Heinrichs stated that "I couldn't keep myself away this year. My job is hanging in the balance." Pressed further, she was heard to mutter, "I just hope I'm covered by WCB if this turns into a flaming wreck."
Many of her colleagues came out to support her, feeling obligated to do so after having unanimously voted her to be the college's representative during her absence at a staff meeting. And if it hadn't been for one of those colleagues, Mary Incho, Heinrichs may have been absent at the race itself, as well. "I've rarely missed a year at the mini-chucks," Incho said, all smiles as she waited for the races to begin, "but somehow the coaches forgot to tell Heinrichs the time and place of the event. Fortunately, I fixed that." She shook her head. "We don't have a brilliant history," she admitted, "But I saw our athlete on her practice run. She was going really fast. We stand a real chance."
The less-than-brilliant history to which Incho refers is a dry spell that extends back to the very birth of the mini-chuckwagon race. Dave Volek, athlete recruiter and team manager, was kind enough to report the college's history of failures, and the faculties responsible for them:
2008 Front Office: Failure
2009 Open Learning Center: Failure
2010 Nursing: Won one heat, so let's listen to Lorrie gloat once again
2011 Library: Failure
2012 Cafeteria: Failure
2013 Student: Utter Failure
2014 Residence: Failure but we sure looked good.
2015 ESL: Honor and Glory!!!!!!!! Second place!!!
Volek also offered us a peek at the rigorous training regimen that prepared Heinrichs for Friday's event. Heinrichs was busy doing crunches and dumbbell curls with her coaches from the wee hours of the morning before classes every day. It also included running obstacle courses to the horticultural station and back, among other things.
"I can't believe they put electrified plates in the floor to teach me not to put my feet on the ground," grumbled Heinrichs. When questioned about whether this might not be a breach of fire code regulations, Reg Radke, campus manager, grimaced. "I've been trying very hard to turn a blind eye to that," he admitted.
The qualifying heat saw Heinrichs, in the first lane, fairly fly. She pulled across the finish line with a time of just over 14 seconds. Meanwhile, her personal photographer, Michele Labrie, pushed her way unashamedly through the crowd to find the perfect spot for filming. Heinrichs's victory was doubtlessly due to Labrie's screams of "GO CARLA!!!" from behind the camera.
Heinrichs was a clear front-runner for the semi-finals, with every other competitor earning times of no less than 17 seconds. Yet, one of her coaches, Jaynette Dueck, still keenly remembered the college's past defeats. "Don't get overconfident," she warned Heinrichs while giving the athlete a massage. "All it takes is one penalty and it'll all be over."
In the semi-finals, Heinrichs, again in the first lane, narrowly missed garnering that deadly penalty by nearly touching a barrel, but in the end she sailed home once more, with a time of 16 seconds. "Hm," said Labrie, "Not as good." Nevertheless, she graciously gave Heinrichs a high-five. "Gotta keep the athlete's spirits up," she intimated as Heinrichs returned to her crew.
When asked to which charity the college would donate the $1500 winnings if Heinrichs triumphed, her entire crew blinked blankly. "Oh gosh," said Radke, "I guess we ought to start thinking about that." He rubbed his neck. "Given our history of dismal failures, we've never had to think about that before. Somewhere local, I guess." Dueck added, "Last year, when she got second place, we were just stunned. But, now it's looking like it might possibly happen. If she doesn't do something stupid like put her foot down or crash and die."
We also asked how Heinrichs managed to break the 17 second barrier so easily, when every other competitor seemed to fly off their seat in the attempt. Heinrichs just shrugged and shook her head. "I'm basically glued in place," she said. "I couldn't fly off if I wanted to. That Lorrie made me wrap my seat in grippy cupboard liner." Lorrie Clizbe, the only other college athlete to have ever had any success at the mini-chuckwagons, piped up, "Yes! That's me! That's me! I told her to do that! I slid off my seat in my second heat in 2010 because I was going too fast. How can you even lose a race by going too fast?!" In reply, Volek made an agonized sound and added, "I really hope that Carla wins. Maybe it will stop Lorrie from gloating about her ancient victory of one heat forever. But I doubt it."
The final race saw Heinrichs facing off against three other speedy tricyclers, this time from the position of the second lane. The cyclers sat at the starting line, poised like panthers, ready to throw all their power into those John Deere pedals. The announcer built up the tension, hanging over the audience the question of the college's soon-to-be discovered fate. Then the air horn sounded. Heinrichs made a strong start, corrected the dangerous error of her previous race, and rocketed across the finish line in just 14 seconds. Her crew and her students, who were also there to cheer her on, were ecstatic with delight.
"I already knew she's the best teacher in Canada," one of her students reported, dancing with joy, "But now I know that she's the best at everything."
Asked how she felt, Heinrichs groaned. "My butt's already sore from the seat," she remarked, "But at least I know I won't have to ride again next year. John Petrie doesn't like to have repeat winners." Volek didn't appear too put out by the thought of Heinrichs's early retirement from tricycle racing. When last seen, he was already in the exercise room, preparing himself to take her place.
The college will house the mini-chuckwagon trophy until next year and Reg Radke will finalize the decision about where to donate their winnings.
The Qualifying Heat:
ETA: The winnings are being donated to the local pregnancy care centre.