Throwing rocks isn’t usually recommended at Calgary’s Olympic Plaza
But hurling inner tubes was very much in style early this month, as the Calgary Corporate Challenge, a non-profit organization, staged its 21st annual human bonspiel event at the plaza, opposite city hall.
The event, which ran from Jan. 30 to Feb. 10, attracted participants from a range of local organizations, as well as some celebrities.
CBC-TV’s Rick Mercer took part, along with Calgary singer Jann Arden and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The object of the game was to try to get a tube carrying one of the four team members closest to the curling rings on the Plaza rink.
Each member got to slide towards the rings three times with the other members helping out.
Some competitors employed unique techniques, from running and jumping on the tube to just using their arms to “swim” down their lane.
To participate, each team paid a $150 registration fee, with part of the proceeds will go to Kid Sport Calgary.
“Offseason events are basically where we try to take the ‘corporate’ out of Calgary Corporate Challenge,” said Dave Ford general manager of Calgary Corporate Challenge.
“Teams can consist of co-workers, for sure, but they can also be friends or family.”
Competition began Jan. 30, 2017 and the winners of each day advanced to the finals Feb. 10, 2017 to determine the ultimate human bonspiel champ.
Mark Ferguson and his friends decided to enter a team when an ad came across their Facebook page.
“It’s always a day full of fun,” said participant Ferguson. “I honestly didn’t think it’d be so hard to launch yourself.”
He only made it halfway down the ice his first go around.
“The best part is that absolutely no one is a professional ‘human bonspiel-er,’” said Ford.
“It’s a day of laughs, drinking hot chocolate and the occasional inner-tube wipe out.”
Kid Sport volunteers were at the event collecting donations of hockey gear for kids in need.
The Purple Perk Coffee Market donated hot beverages for participants, Scotian-Style Pizza donated lunch for volunteers and Fork and Salad also donated lunch on Jan. 30.
Ford said they are grateful for all of their sponsors. As a not-for-profit organization, they understand the value of giving back to the local community.
Calgary Corporate Challenge started 22 years ago as a City of Calgary initiative to help promote positive work-life balance and improve corporate morale through wellness.
Human bonspiel is one of many events the group puts on throughout the year and it is their most popular off-season event.
The September Games are another big event for the organization, as it involves more than 15,000 participants from approximately 160 companies.
Teams compete in 22 different sport and charity events over 16 days at different locations all over Calgary.