Circle Square Ranch in Halkirk hosted its first Man Hunter on June 20, a race fashioned after the Man Tracker show that has been on television for a long time. With Shane Doan and Brook Doan – two of the people who were on the Man Tracker show – being a part of this race, there have been lots of excitement around the local event.
Ranch owners Kevin and Cynthia Perry say they have done everything possible to make the experience as real and authentic as it could be.
The whole event consisted of three races, the first being a family race with a maximum of six team members; the second was for ages 12–15; and the third group was for ages 16 and above.
Teams of two in each category had to escape from three teams of riders. Participants had to race through the Halkirk coulees and go through certain checkpoints before reaching the finish line without being caught, as six riders on horsebacks were tracking them down. Racers would also have to ensure that their partners were not being caught, otherwise the team would be disqualified.
The most difficult terrain was faced by the third group as they had a steeper route to follow. Although there were no winners in this category, Jonathan Allan, Sean Lewis and Dustin Kroeker were among some of the first to reach the finish line. None of them reached with their partners, which led to no results.
The whole experience was quite extraordinary, according to organizers.
Cynthia Perry explained what they were trying to achieve: “We decided to put on this event just to raise some money to send kids to camp who can’t afford it, and also all of our volunteer staff that come in the summer. They give up working a paying job to come and help children and youth in their community and in their country. And I think that’s amazing. So we decided we wanted to put something on that would be fun for all ages, families and kids of all ages.”
Going by the number of participants that ran the races, it has been a staggering experience. Perry said, “The response has been overwhelming. We have been over full. We are very thankful for Shane Doane from the Phoenix Coyotes and his family. He came out today and really its been an amazing day for us. People have enjoyed meeting him, and getting his autograph.”
Payton Walde and Katie Senn, participants in the most challenging terrain found the route exhausting but quite fun. “It was a great experience, but more than the route I was scared of being caught by one of the horses – the trackers, you know,” Walde said
As the race ended, it was easy to see that though the participants were exhausted, they were happy to have taken up the challenge, and most would return next year.