The Turkey Run-Off, a snowshoe orienteering event started in 2009 by the Kootenay Orienteering Club (KOC), is back after a two-year hiatus and will be held in Lois Creek on Dec. 26, 2022.
The event celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019, but unfortunately had to be cancelled for the next two years due to the pandemic.
Orienteering involves a cross country race where individuals must also navigate through the terrain with a map and a compass.
The Kimberley/Cranbrook Trex, formerly known as the Girl Guides, have assisted the KOC with the Turkey Run-Off since 2017, but this year the club is handing the event completely over to the Trex unit to organize as a fundraiser for the group’s numerous outdoor initiatives.
All proceeds raised at the event will go directly to the Trex. Tamara McLean, one of the Kimberley Trex leaders, said that their unit, which is comprised of 17 members between the ages of 12 and 17, have their sights set on some adventures for the coming year including horseback riding, horse tripping, outdoor rock climbing and even dog sledding.
Money raised this year would support those adventure plans, plus things like first aid courses for older members, or purchasing more group camping or backpacking gear.
While they don’t have a set target for funds they hope to meet, they appreciate all money raised as it also helps offset costs for family’s so they don’t have to pay full price for these, which is invaluable especially as it could be the difference for some members being able to participate in some of the events.
In 2019 the money raised for trex was to be put towards attending the Spirit of Adventure Rendezvous outdoor camping week in 2020, but that was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID. The money was instead put towards purchasing backpacking tents.
While all the money raised will go to Trex, the Turkey Run-Off has always been made possible through the efforts and support of the KOC. They will be supplying all the necessary equipment for the event and helping to make the event run smoothly and will be on hand to provide orienteering education and training for the Trex members.
Karen Martino, event coordinator for the KOC, said that the Trex unit is keen on learning more about orienteering as well as about what goes into setting up an orienteering event. In fact, KOC member Hilary Anderson will be out with the Trex unit on Dec. 17 to show the members some orienteering basics, how running events work and how to set up the electronic equipment and flagging required.
The Turkey Run-Off entails participants, either in groups of four or solo, wearing snow shoes and navigating using only a map and compass to as many marked sites as they can in 90 minutes. All participants start at once, but what sites each competitor goes to and how they get there is up to them.
Each site is marked on a special, highly-detailed map designed specifically for orienteering. The event is family friendly and the Trex unit will provide a fire and wiener roast for all competitors after the event.
To register for the event or learn more about it, see this link: https://kootenayorienteering.com/events/view/4926
Registrants will be asked to pay on the day of the event at the registration table.
The KOC originated in the early 1980s in the Rossland area and has been active in Kimberley and Cranbrook since the early 2000s. The club held the 2022 Canadian Orienteering Championships this past July.
“This was a huge undertaking for a small orienteering club, but we do have some of the best orienteering terrain in Canada and we got to show it off,” Martino said. She added that the club is working hard to revive a regular schedule of orienteering events for 2023 and have plans to restore some old trail run favourites including the Twin Buttes Fell Run and Hoodoo 5’er.
“We plan to offer some low key winter orienteering events in and around Kimberley and then start up our spring forest orienteering series in mid-April,” Martino said.
To learn more about the club and find out how to become a member, visit https://kootenayorienteering.com/
Membership is required to attend any of the KOC-run events. Individual yearly adult memberships cost $20, youth 5 to 18 are $5 and kids under five can sign up for free.