Hay River is bracing for some of the biggest track and field events in its 25-year history, first and foremost by going back to basics.
“The very first year they had track 25 years ago, they have the opening ceremonies outside and this year, we will too,” said organizer Jill Taylor. “Things are going to be a little bit different.”
While organizers were tight-lipped on the specifics of the upcoming celebrations, they did say they had something special in store, something beyond the ordinary preparations for the territorial event.
“We’ve got lots of things happening,” said Tim Borchuck. “We’re working on a kind of event calendar we’re going to make public, so that people can show up for specific things if they want.”
Borchuck said that although he doesn’t yet know how many athletes will be attending, he hasn’t heard any hesitations from any other community so far. There was some trepidation about the ongoing municipal strike affecting the annual event after union representatives said members would be picketing it, but Taylor said it has all been worked out.
“It’s a non-issue,” she said. “We spoke to the union and they will not be picketing track.”
Borchuck said despite divisions in town, the community has really pulled together to make this year’s NWT Track and Field Championships a special one.
“We’ve had glorious co-operation from everyone we’ve spoken to,” he said. “Not just businesses, everybody. Track is Hay River’s event, hosted by the Hay River community as a whole.”
More important than anything, both Taylor and Borchuck said the volunteers truly always are the heart of track and out out a call for renewed support.
“There is something for everyone,” said Taylor. “No experience needed, we will show you what to do.”
Taylor said about 150 people had already signed up, meaning she only needs about 100 more. Volunteers are needed for the full day June 4 and the morning of June 5 but are welcome even if they can only give a few hours of their time.
“It’s a time of celebration, a time for people to come together and show that while we may be having difficulties, this community really comes together.”