Getting down and very dirty, will be the order of business Saturday at the sixth annual Freak’n Farmer 2017 at Covert Farms.
Located on 650 acres in the hills north of Oliver, one of the Okanagan’s wildest and most fun events is expected to attract 600 or more competitors from ages of three and up.
The arduous courses features multiple farm-themed obstacles and is expected to draw as many as 1,000 spectators for the family fun day.
This year, there are three courses available, the five kilometre distance with 10 obstacles, one covering 12 km with 18 obstacles and a new distance this year, 20 km with 23 obstacles.
The popular event is the brainchild of Covert Farms and Penticton’s HooDoo Adventures and has continued to grow by leaps and bounds.
“It was born out of a discussion with Covert after they took part in one of our other events, the Elevator multi-sport races from the valley floor to the top of Apex Mountain,” said HooDoo’s Mike Hill. “Afterwards we agreed to meet and polled some ideas and the Freak’n Farmer was born.
“We’re really proud of it, something that came out of a coffee discussion is now arguably one of the biggest of its kind in Western Canada.”
Just how popular the Freak’n Farmer got in a very short time became evident in 2015 when an episode of the The Amazing Race Canada took over the courses for an episode.
Five of the remaining 10 teams arrived at the farm after a flight from Delhi, India.
The obstacles they competed in were from the annual event and included tossing 10-65-pound sacks of onions onto the back of a flatbed truck and flipping large tires 100 metres and traversing a set of monkey bars over a pile of manure.
“We get all sorts of people, the sport of obstacle course racing is now very popular, there are professional athletes travelling all over the world doing these kind of events but ours is geared way more to the recreational fun seeker,” said Hill. “It’s just an excuse let it all go and get covered in mud and test yourself physically and have a bunch fun doing things with your friends and families.
“The obstacles are all designed to challenge people physically, but not break them. A lot of the obstacles are about engaging your brain as much as your physical strength, often there is a smart way to do it and a hard way to do it.”
Spectators can catch the action with hop-on/hop-off farm transportation available by donation, with partial proceeds going to support the Youth Outdoor Recreation Society (YORS), a not-for-profit, which subsidizes outdoor recreation programs for local youth which according to Hill is a huge priority for the organizers.
He added that more and more companies are getting involved, using the event as a team-building exercise and some are even getting on board as sponsors.
A $25 spectator fee includes lunch and a keepsake glass with two tickets to sample local wine and beer.
The day also features a post-race lunch, offering farm fresh and gluten-free healthy food options. Local wine, beer and ciders will also be available to enjoy post-race.
Live music, supplied by Feet First, will entertain the crowd throughout the day.
Tickets are available at the gate on race day.