The first-ever Western Sno-Riders women’s snocross race is held at downtown Corner Brook

The very first racers of the Western Sno Riders Women's Division.  Left to right: Danika McCarthy, Jenelle Hickey, Maggie Barron, Morgan Hynes, Whitney Shortall and Jenica Curlew (James Grudic/CBC - photo credit)

The very first racers of the Western Sno Riders Women’s Division. Left to right: Danika McCarthy, Jenelle Hickey, Maggie Barron, Morgan Hynes, Whitney Shortall and Jenica Curlew (James Grudic/CBC – photo credit)

James Grudic/CBC

James Grudic/CBC

For the first time in the history of the Western Sno-Riders Association, there was a women’s section at the club’s annual snocross event at Corner Brook last weekend.

Maggie Barron was one of six racers who competed at Corner Brook on Saturday. It’s just one of the first results to come at the snowmobile club’s snow pitch event.

“I want girlfriends who go sledding,” she said. “It’s really nice that we’re all meeting here. Maybe we’ll become a small group.”

Glen Green, the club’s president, said although there was a cash prize for the winners of the race, it wasn’t just about money.

“They’re here for fun,” Green said. “They’re here to show off to their buddies. They’re all friends and they’re all going against each other in a race, and after the races there will be rubbish and lots of laughter.”

This year’s event also saw a change in venue, making the races more visible to passers-by.

“Typically our racing event is Race On The Rock, which is held at Marble Mountain every year,” Green said. That year, race organizer Mark Hutchinson came up with the idea of ​​locating the race at downtown Corner Brook instead.

The City Council approved the idea of ​​holding the event at the Basha Memorial Softball Field. Green said the City of Corner Brook has been a big help.

“They have been phenomenal in supporting this event. They provided us with a lot of equipment and they supported us so much.”

Green said the race also serves as a fundraiser for the club, with the money going towards trail repairs and other Western Sno-Riders activities. Additionally, Green said a dollar from every ticket sold was donated to CC Loughlin’s breakfast program. In return, Corner Brook School donated their parking lot to Snow Pitch.

The race was open to any Snocross rider, a specialized snowmobile racing division, and the event attracted 18 male and six female riders in various classes.

This number of female riders also meant that Sno-Riders were able to offer a women’s race for the first time ever. A women’s race has been offered in previous years, but not enough women have signed up to make it viable. As a result, Race On the Rock events often featured women versus men.

“It’s going to be more of a fair race,” said Morgan Hynes, a rider competing this year. “Instead of competing against all men, we compete against all women.”

“I’m kind of used to riding with the boys,” said Janelle Hickey, who competed against the men in previous years. “But it will be nice for the girls to line up.”

James Grudic/CBC

James Grudic/CBC

“I didn’t realize they even had an option for girls,” Barron said. “We’ve never done that before. It’s so unknown.”

Barron said all the women riders were a bit nervous ahead of their first race, but she believes the women’s race will be a tradition moving forward. Barron said she’s looking forward to connecting with the other female snocross riders as many of them didn’t know each other prior to Saturday’s event.

Snowmobilers on the west coast of the island have long been looking forward to the snocross event. Desperate to be among the racers, teenager Matt Roche finally got his chance on Saturday.

“I’ve wanted to race for a long time, but wasn’t able to until I was 16,” said Roche. “I’m pretty excited.”

Although Roche competed against racers of all ages and abilities, he was not intimidated.

“They may have a lot of riding experience, but I think I could probably take them with me.”

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