The first indication that it was not an average sports event was likely an announcement that a knife had been found on the highway outside of town.
“So if you’re missing a knife,” said the announcer, “come to the tent here and identify it.”
As part of the Miles from Ordinary Harley Group Western Regional Rally in Whitehorse on the weekend, about 100 hog-riders gathered at Shipyards Park to compete in five events.
“They’re the events that we like the best. There’s a whole variety of games that we could have chosen but we’re the most familiar with these ones,” said Leah Verishine, registration co-ordinator and rally secretary.
“People from outside might not have heard of Honey, I’m Home … but the rest of them are pretty common,” said Verishine, speaking of the last event that, according to Verishine, may have originated in Edmonton.
In Honey, I’m Home, an event derived from infidelity, each pair of competitors race against the clock to get the best time.
Teams of two get under the covers on a mattress, and when the announcer — mimicking the sound of a husband coming home — says, “Hi, honey, I’m home,” both jump up and put on their boots and T-shirts.
Then as the woman (or man in some cases) makes the bed, the other must climb through a makeshift window, jump on his bike and ride off to stop the clock.
“How do you practise for something so morally unconscionable?” said Blair Blois, who won the event with Shelley Williamson.
“We don’t practise, we’re just friends — we’re just fast friends,” said Williamson jokingly.
According to the announcer, if the fleeing participant managed to put on a condom before climbing out of the window, he would be awarded bonus points.
Plenty of condoms were provided for riders, and although many wrappers were opened during the event, no one got the bonus points.
Blois and Williamson also came out on top in the Bike Wash event. Not nearly as tedious as it sounds, in this event two people on a cycle ride under a vertical pole.
As they pass under it, the one in the back must throw a water balloon over the pole and catch it on the other side. The name derives from the fact that it doesn’t always happen as planned and the bike (and riders) often pay the watery price.
“This girl’s awesome, she didn’t get me wet at all,” said Blois of Williamson.
“Strategy: you’ve got to think about how you’re going to do it beforehand,” said Williamson. “It helps to have a good rider with a nice steady speed so you can keep you, feet under you.”
Blois also won the first event of the day, the Slow Race. In this event slow and steady always wins because riders must slowly idle along in first gear without losing balance and putting a foot on the ground.
The second-last event was the Weenie Bite, which, in practice, is as suggestive as its name. Instead of throwing and catching a water balloon like the Bike Wash, the rider on the back of the bike must try to bite as much as possible of a hotdog hung by a chain as the bike passes underneath it. The bike must remain in motion and neither rider can put a foot on the ground.
“Don’t put it as ‘we’ (won) — she won the Bite,” said Barry Coughlin of his partner Elizabeth Holmes Hunt, winners of the Weenie Bite who hail from Fraser Valley.
“I usually drive, she bites,” added Coughlin.
“Good aim and no mustard,” said Hunt, when asked what her strategy was going into the event.
“I think his wife wondered why I was so good at it,” added Hunt.
The Plank Race followed. In this event riders must manoeuvre their bikes lengthwise along a two-by-six plank of wood, followed by a two-by-four plank of wood.
“It’s a total question of balance and you don’t honk on it when you’re on the plank,” said winner John Kennedy from Ibex Valley. “You just maintain speed and keep it straight.
“It’s a gathering of good people for good times,” added Kennedy, who has been riding motorcycles since he was 10.