All in good fun, for a good cause
Rev. Loren Carlson didn't even get damp during the Faster Pastor Sailing Challenge Sunday. But when his teenage cheering section got through with him, he was soaked head to toe on dry land. He was the recipient of a traditional football coach-style surprise-dumping-of-the-cooler-over-the-head.
"It knew they would be up to something," he harrumphed soggily. "But it was worth it."
Indeed it was. Seven members of the Storm Lake ministerial association competed for the first time in a "Faster Pastors" sailboat race in order to raise funds for the after-school programs for youth at Storm Lake community and St. Mary's middle schools. They are programs in much need of the funding.
After a slow start to ticket sales that had organizer and local sailing guru Rick Peterson gnawing his nails, the Kiwanis Hi-Noon club and its Community Sailing education program supporters served out every bite of food they had on hand for the fundraiser meal - about 250 people were served turkey fillets donated by Sara Lee. The proceeds are being tallied.
The afternoon wind didn't cooperate, but the event was rescheduled for 5 p.m., and a good crowd gathered in the gentler breeze at Scout Park to cheer on their favorite pastors.
The ministers were newcomers to sailing, but they've had a couple of weeks to avail themselves of lessons and practice aboard the colorful Sunfish vessels of the community sailing program.
They raced in two, two-lap heats around a series of buoys in the bay near Methodist Manor. Long-legged Jim Hoffman of Hope Evangelical Free Church got the edge running through the shallows to his craft, and each heat, he held off close challenger Carlson, of Faith Bible Christian Outreach.
All of the pastors showed their salt, so to speak, completing the course fairly smoothly, with only one near-capsize, a couple of minor fender benders, and one beam blow to the noggin.
Pastors Jack Barber, Connie Spitzack, Beverlee Bell, Tom Hinshaw and Duane Queen jockeyed for positions behind the two leaders. Two participants, Fr. Bruce Lawler and Rev. Jamie Cutler, were unable to attend the rescheduled race due to previous service commitments.
All the racers earned a special certificate of achievement for their efforts; much laughter and a few hugs or high five's. Competitors noted that it was a new experience to get to know their fellow pastors away from the confines of the ministerial association, and several said they want to do some more sailing.
"It was a lot of fun out there," said Barber, the recipient of the aforementioned beam boom. "It was all for a good cause; that's what this is about."
In the end, Hoffman and Carlson paired up for a final impromptu match race. This time, it was Carlson charging to his craft first, making masterful turns, and gaining a measure of revenge by beating Hoffman to the final buoy - where his cheering section helped him wade to the beach, and into position for a soaking.