The event will go on, the ride may not

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014 11:39pm
  • News

Warm temperatures that plagued the Kenai Peninsula in January, melting snow and ice, have raised concerns about whether the Way Out Women snowmachiners will ride the trail on Saturday in Caribou Hills on the event’s tenth anniversary.

Kathy Lopeman, WOW chair, said the group usually does a 50-mile roundtrip beginning at Freddie’s Roadhouse at Mile 16 of Oil Well Road in Ninilchik, but this year will likely be different.

“There’s minimal snow up there now,” Lopeman said. “You can ride your snowmachine, but its not enough that we can set a regular route and do a ride like we normally do, but it’s also four-wheeler rideable.”

She said the further riders travel off of Oil Well Road, the snow deeper the snow gets. But the regular WOW trail to Cilegon isn’t rideable because ice bridges on the trail are out.

Lopeman said a final decision about whether or not to set up a different course for the snowmachiners to ride on Saturday will be made Friday morning. Either way, WOW will have an event, Lopeman said.

If WOW decides not to do a course, Lopeman said the group will play some more games and as of Tuesday afternoon, the group was looking into different music options.

Lopeman said WOW has had slush concerns for its ride in past years, but there’s always been snow.

She said the WOW cabana boys might be bored this year, if the women don’t ride. Normally one man rides out with a group of five women on the trail to make sure the snowmachines are running properly and to help get anyone unstuck.

“They have to be pleasant all day long and for that we give them a free shirt and we feed them,” Lopeman said. “Most of them are quite happy with being fed.”

Festivities for WOW kick off Friday night at 5:30 p.m. with a chili feed, the opening of bidding for silent auction items and the raffling of some prizes. She said the Friday night activities are a way for participants to get to know one another.

All day Saturday Lopeman said the women will be wearing their costumes regardless of whether or not they end up riding. Lopeman has seen kind of costume from sumo wrestlers to nuns to the entire main cast of the “Wizard of Oz.”

Judging and auction of the Wild and Wooly Bras — brassieres decorated anyway riders choose — will take place. And the women will play a variety of machine games including a blindfold race.

Lopeman said the drivers of either the all-terrain-vehicles or the snowmachines are blind folded and the passengers have to direct them through an obstacle course.

“It’s great fun,” Lopeman said.

For WOW’s tenth anniversary, the organization has commemorative sweatshirts, jacket patches and vehicle decals.

As of Tuesday afternoon 65 riders had signed up, but she said many wait to sign up until the last minute. Fourteen corporate sponsors have donated to the event. Last year the event saw 107 riders and raised $74,000.

Each rider pays an entry fee of $100 and teams of riders raise additional funds that support cancer patients via the Central Peninsula Health Foundation in $1,000 grants. Lopeman said the grants can be used for anything that will help to make the patients’ lives easier from groceries to gas to rent. Since 2005, the event has helped 445 people.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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