Summerland’s Bruce Varchol was at the helm of the Great Estates tub the first year of the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race. (Western News file photo)

Tubbers revving up for fifth annual Okanagan Great Ogogogo Bathtub Race

Fundraiser for South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation expected to reach $120,000 this year

The Summerland Yacht Club’s Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race is coming of age on this its fifth go-round in 2019.

For the first time since it began in 2015 as a fundraiser for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, the race is being sanctioned by the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society.

The Vancouver Island city has been home to the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race for more than four decades and this sanction means points for those competitors who are on the tub-racing circuit.

READ MORE: Ogopogo Bathtub Race finishes despite worsening weather

The first sanctioned race outside of the Harbour City was actually in 1979 when the Kelowna regatta decided to expand their water activities to include tub races.

At that time the (Nanaimo) Daily News Cup was created with racers scoring points in each event towards the overall championship.

In addition to the now sanctioned Summerland race, events are also held in Oak Bay, Port Alberni, the second one in Nanaimo, Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, Tsawwassen and Bremerton, Wa.

“That’s really great,” said the yacht club’s Jim Cavin, Ogopogo race organizer and founder about the recognition. “So we’re expecting to see a few more of them (circuit racers). They’re the super-fast ones for sure.”

He’s expecting about 15 to 20 competitors at the Aug. 17 event, most of which will be locals competing in the stock class.

In the four events so far $103,000 has been raised and Cavin is hoping to hit the $120,000 mark this year, which is well beyond the $60,000 five-year goal.

The organizer is also hoping for better conditions this time compared to 2018.

“Last year was horrible, probably the worst day of the entire summer,” said Cavin. “Smoke, wind, cold, you could barely see through the smoke but this year’s looking — cross your fingers — like an old-time Okanagan summer.

The day gets underway at 8 a.m. at Powell Beach Park with the traditional breakfast, which is by donation this year.

READ MORE: Tubbers soak in the good feelings

Racing gets underway at 9:30 a.m. with the Class B event, at 10:30 a.m. the first heat of the Class A (unmodified motors) followed by the second heat at 11:15 a.m.

The Nanaimo super-modified competition is at 1 p.m. followed by the Class A final at 1:45 p.m.

Races will be 15 laps (weather dependent) of the two-mile circuit. With the course design, there will be tubs close to shore every 10 seconds or so, making it particularly exciting for spectators.

There will also be plenty of kids’ activities again this year starting at 9:30 a.m. that will be free this year (face painting by donation).

There will also be sand sculpting with Summerland Rotary. The wind-up goes at 3 p.m. and the awards dinner takes place at 6 p.m. at the yacht club. Tickets are required.

More information is available on the club website: https://ogopogobathtubrace.com


 

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Trevor Short of Nanaimo rides the wave prior to the start of the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race in 2017. This year’s event is Aug. 17 at Powell Beach Park. (Western News file photo)

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