in the mud St. Walburg Spring 2007 ATV Rally the biggest and best ever
Reprinted here with permission of the St. Walburg & Area Gazette May 16, 2007
By Tom Pierson
Whether it was making tracks, making friends, making history or just making it around
the trail, the St. Walburg Spring 2007 ATV Rally had all the elements. And letï¿½s
not forget Mother Natureï¿½s elements, such as warm sunshine, mud and water holes,
rocks, logs and beautiful scenery, they were all in abundance as spring truly arrived
in St. Walburg.
The rally was held Saturday, May 12th, and this yearï¿½s event brought several high
ranking officials from Suzuki Canada and American Suzuki Motor Corporation, such
as Kenji Hirozawa, National Director for Canada. When asked what was his favourite
part of the rally, he replied, ï¿½Mud after mud after mud!ï¿½
Allan Fauchon of Rough N Tough Power Sports had this comment upon arrival at the
clubhouse, ï¿½This was probably the best rally Iï¿½ve ever been involved with.ï¿½
For the record, the previous mark for the highest number of registered riders was
the 2006 spring rally, which was set at 421. This year, that record was smashed,
demolished, obliterated and disintegrated, when a total of 696 riders were registered.
Needless to say, the landscape was forest to forest filled with ATVs.
Organizer Frank Schiller said, ï¿½The trail and weather conditions were both excellent.
Itï¿½s the biggest and the best weï¿½ve ever had.ï¿½
The fun began with 23 riders competing in 31 pulls. The rain that arrived on the
Friday night didnï¿½t dampen any spirits, in fact the rain settled the dust and enhanced
the experience of the pulls, mud puddles and water holes.
The 60 kilometre course offered everything for the quadding enthusiast. If you wanted
a leisurely ride through beautiful scenery to shake off the winter chill, it was
If you wanted some adventure that included some muddy tracks or small water holes,
it was there.
For the hard core adventure seeker, there were large mud and water holes to fly through
to test both man and machine to the limits. Rough N Toughï¿½s Fauchon said, ï¿½There
were some very aggressive water holes.ï¿½
Suzukiï¿½s Hirozawa said, ï¿½It was very exciting.ï¿½ This was his first ride on
an ATV in Canada. He commented, ï¿½It was fun. Extremely challenging!ï¿½
The reason Hirozawa and the other Suzuki people came to St. Walburg, he said, ï¿½We
wanted to know how ATVs are used in western Canada. We need to send information back
to the factory.ï¿½
A winch was needed several times before Hirozawa made it back to base and he had
this to say, ï¿½Up until now, for me, the winch was a promotional item. Now, I respect
When he goes back to his office in Toronto, Hirozawa well be taking back some good
memories. ï¿½People are so friendly, helping each other. They were very good to me.ï¿½
He enjoyed the great atmosphere that created and said, ï¿½I will come back next year.ï¿½
Tyler Seguin, age 10, was a passenger with his dad Roland Seguin as chauffeur. This
was Tylerï¿½s first rally and said, ï¿½It was awesome!ï¿½ His favourite part? ï¿½When
we got stuck in a mud hole about 15 kilometres in to it.ï¿½ Yes, he is looking forward
to going again.
The trail itself consists of hills, turns, texas gates to forge across fences, logs,
a few flat stretches and riders of all ages. The youngest rider was Billy McDonald,
age 7, of Drayton Valley. He said, ï¿½I think my favourite part was the big water
parts and the deep stuff, where I got stuck.ï¿½ His Dad Jim McDonald pulled him out.
David Hetu of Lloydminster was a first-timer at the rally and said, ï¿½It was good.
Lots of challenges.ï¿½ His friend Art Dagenais, also a first-timer out of Lloydminster
said, ï¿½It was awesome. Iï¿½ll do it again.ï¿½
When rally regulars Allen and Jean Wood of Marshall were asked if there was enough
mud and water, they replied, ï¿½Oh yeah!ï¿½
Other comments included the fact that not all challenges were from nature. One woman
complained of the difficulty in staying in her seat from all the slippery mud that
accumulated from hopping on and off the machine when she got stuck.
One of the funnier comments overheard occurred at the registration desk. One guy
asked his buddy, ï¿½What are the wrist bands for?ï¿½ Answer, ï¿½Thatï¿½s for when
you drown they can identify you the next morning.ï¿½
In reality, Club members take great pains to ensure every rider is alive and well
and accounted for before they call it a day, which has been known to take until morning.
Organizer Frank Schiller says work starts on the rally three weeks in advance, weekends
and after work. The trail gets a cleaning. Trees that have fallen across the trail
are removed, the trail is groomed, dead trees are removed from beside the deeper
The crew that comes together to put on the rally include 14 members, at least 20
volunteers, as well as Grade 11 and 12 students. Schiller says, ï¿½As far as volunteers
are concerned, we have lots of those and it is getting better every year.ï¿½
Schiller said, ï¿½Thanks to all sponsors, volunteers and club members for the hard
work they did to prepare for this rally.ï¿½ He added, ï¿½We would especially like
to thank Dale Neumann for the use of his land.ï¿½ Schiller also gave high marks to
the sponsors who were, ï¿½very supportive of the whole club with donations and door
Since the snow has gone away, club members have been busy, said members Gerald Dukes
and Blaine Fowler. A new metal roof and rafters was installed on the clubhouse, levelled
and put down a new OSB floor and opened up the space by removing a wall. Members
are in the process of installing an inside bathroom, to go with the three new septic
tanks (1 inside and 2 outside).
Outside, three new decks have been added and road in to the clubhouse was built up
to allow easier access for trailers.
Riders came from far and wide. The starting points were: Grand Prairie, Olds, Regina,
Yorkton, St. Walburg, Paradise Hill, Red Deer Green Lake, Vermillion, Edmonton, Kerrobert,
Leduc, Unity, Slave Lake, Sundre, Edgerton, Cold Lake, Saskatoon, Battlefords, Rimbey,
Hinton, Govan, Spiritwood, Leoville, Pierceland, Drayton Valley, Sherwood Park, Langham,
Medicine Hat, Midland, Waseca, Spruce Grove, River Course and Daysland.
Fauchon had many enthusiastic things to say, such as the trail was well marked and
the pulls went very well. He said, ï¿½A special thanks to Matt Michaud and Parts
Canada, for supplying us with all the prizes for the pulls.ï¿½ He also gave, ï¿½Kudos
to the volunteers.ï¿½
When talking about the history making visit by the Suzuki representatives, Fauchon
said, The Suzuki reps from the U.S. and Canada had such a great time they will be
Because this rally is put on by the non-profit St. Walburg ATV Club, many wonder
where the money goes. Apart from the upgrades at the clubhouse, throughout the year,
local charities and organizations receive donations, such as new specially equipped
resident chairs at Lakeland Lodge. Schiller says he is proud to give back to the
community on behalf of the Club.
The T-shirts werenï¿½t bragging about surviving the 2007 St. Walburg Spring ATV Rally
for nothing. Hirozawa summed it up best by saying, ï¿½This is tough on ATVs and tough