Whether you are snowmobile enthusiasts or a novice, I am sure you will agree with me: Cain's Quest is the real deal. It's an amazing race! Many will say, "not for the faint of heart."
Those who participate are, in my view, tougher than tough. Not only do you have to be prepared body, mind and soul (physically and mentally), but I believe you got to be just a little nutty to enter this race.
Cain's Quest has been described by many as one of the longest endurance snowmobile races in North America. It is beyond comprehension what the racers go through as they trek across Labrador's 3,300 kilometers of wilderness to race to the finish line.
Hubbard of "Lure of the Labrador Wild" would be proud of all those who participate.
For those who may not be familiar with the race, Cain's Quest originated in Labrador West by a group of volunteers and was spearheaded by Todd Kent, who to this day is the chair. He is to be commended for his foresight, dedication and organizing skills.
The inaugural race was in 2006 and saw approximately 15 teams cover 1,200 kilometres. By 2009, Cain's Quest had grown substantially as one of this country's extreme racing events and attracted over 20 teams, and for the first time saw sponsors offering larger cash prizes to the winners.
The 2010 Cain's Quest race was postponed to March of 2011 because of rare weather conditions that made it unsafe for the athletes. Yes, I said athletes because the people who participate train long and hard, just as any athlete does for their main competition.
The 2014 race took place from March 1-8, during one of the coldest winters on record.
With a "Take No Prisoner Attitude" and where participants pushed their bodies and machines to the limit, the 2014 event began with 29 teams lined up in Labrador West at the starting gate. This year's event saw teams from all over Labrador, Iqaluit, Northern Quebec, Atlantic Canada and as far as Western Canada.
Each team is equipped with a satellite tracking device (GPS) which allows us as viewers to use the website to follow and monitor our favourite teams. This use of technology is equally as impressive as the race itself.
Cain's Quest organizers will tell you that fans in over 70 countries now are using this system to follow the race. For many family members of the racers and the general public, we find ourselves totally captivated and glued to our computers following the race almost on an hour-to-hour basis. Probably despite our bosses direction not to have it on during work hours, but hey, we can't help ourselves.
The event itself takes over 100 volunteers and thousands of hours of organization, co-ordination, fundraising and communication to ensure that the race runs smoothly and the participants are safe.
All of Labrador is appreciative for this magnificent event and display of co-operation. Congratulations to Todd Kent and the entire organizing team for the great job once again. This event can hold its own any stage - provincial, national or otherwise.
There are 22 checkpoints (teams must register at each checkpoint where their times are officially recorded) and some require the racers to stay a pre-determined time referred to as a mandatory layover.
Unfortunately, not everyone will cross the finish line. However, that being said, they are all winners in our eyes.
Officially, the 2014 Cain's Quest winners included;
° first - Team No. 73 (Watkins/Willmott) from Labrador City, with a prize of $ 50,000;
° second - Team No. 77 (Barth/King) from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, with a prize of $30,000;
° third - Team No. 07 (Hasting/Price) from Ontario, with a prize of $20,000.
The closing ceremonies were held on March 8 in Labrador West and from all reports it to was a great show. Legendary Canadian rock band "The Stampeders" played to a packed house and all hands had a fine time.
So I can't say it enough. Congratulations to all those racers who gave their best and participated and thank you to the Cain's Quest committee for another great year. We anxiously await the next race with anticipation and eagerness.
Stan Oliver writes from Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He can be reached by email at the following: firstname.lastname@example.org