Margaret Roberts pulls ahead of Doug Aspeslet while rounding the barrels in the Summer Stomp seniors scooter race held on Main Street Sicamous on Friday, July 21. Lachlan Labere/Eagle Valley News

Chrome, steel and burning rubber

Summer Stomp and new SledgeHammers events entertain.

Another successful Summer Stomp weekend was marred only by an accident in separate downtown incident.

As stunt riders in the SledgeHammers Gravity Assassins Tour were warming up for their first show on Saturday morning, July 22, the wind picked up and caught Kris Garwasiuk’s bike as he was coming down to land on one of the ramps. Garwasiuk suffered a shoulder injury and a minor concussion, and was treated by paramedics at the scene.

The wind continued off and on throughout the day, and the SledgeHammers crew decided to keep the remaining riders on the ground.

“We tried to make the best of it, we brought some kids in and had some fun with the water balloons,” said SledgeHammers spokesperson Derek Rousselle. “The riders were good sports and did as much as they could on the ground for entertaining. But as far as hitting the jumps, rider safety is number one and if the wind is putting that in jeopardy, we need to make that call.”

While the attending crowd was large and supportive, evident in the cheering during the riders’ second Saturday wind-grounded show, Rousselle said he and the SledgeHammers crew were disappointed they couldn’t dazzle the audience more. This is something he hopes to address next year, when SledgeHammers returns for their second year of running the Main Street events.

“Yea, we love doing what we do, we like handing out the prizes, we love giving stuff out to the crowd, the riders did pretty good on the ground, so hopefully everybody got a little bit of what they came to see,” said Rousselle. “It’s just, with the calibre of riders we brought there, we were hoping to show people something they’d never seen before. But next year we’ll give it another go and hopefully the weather co-operates…”

Over at the Stomp grounds, the weekend rolled through without issue, though Sunday afternoon’s extreme wind, clocked at about 68 km/hr, created a challenge during clean-up, causing some damage to one of the event tents.

“It was pretty wild,” said Stomp president Steve Hammer, adding it was unfortunate what happened Saturday with the SledgeHammers event.

All in all, Hammer was pleased with this year’s Stomp, the music and the crowds.Though it was too early to tell Monday what the attendance numbers were, Hammer said some riders from up north were unable to make this year’s event due to the wildfires.

Regarding policing, Hammer praised Sicamous RCMP and Sgt. Murray McNeil, saying he did an incredible job with the people he chose to deal with the crowds.

“It was a pleasure to deal with him… well done from all sides,” said Hammer.

From his end of things, Sicamous Sgt. Murray McNeil is also pleased with the Stomp and how the weekend went.

“We only ended up arresting one person, so I have no complaints about it – I thought it went really smooth,” said McNeil.

The arrest was of one person for public intoxication. Throughout the weekend, Sicamous RCMP responded to 52 calls for service, which included noise and traffic complaints.

On Friday afternoon, July 21, police responded to a motor-vehicle collision involving a motorcycle on Highway 97A south of Sicamous. Investigating officers determined the motorcycle rider had attempted to pass a vehicle on double solid yellow lines before he struck a rock wall.

McNeil said the rider was taken to hospital in Kelowna for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

“He was issued a violation ticket for driving without due care and attention,” said McNeil.

On Friday evening, two drivers lost their vehicles after being found driving under the influence of drugs. A Ford Ranger and a Subaru were impounded for 24 hours, and their drivers were prohibited from driving for 24 hours.

McNeil said police conducted road checks during the event and found the vast majority of Stomp patrons stayed on the Stomp grounds at the dog park, or else used the shuttle buses provided to travel from the dog park into town. This, said McNeil, resulted in a low number of alcohol-related issues.

“The private security company which manned the gates of the licensed areas did an excellent job of ensuring alcohol did not leave the licensed event grounds,” said McNeil.

Overall, Mayor Terry Rysz called the weekend events a success. Though upset by the injury, he credited the Stomp, SledgeHammers, the RCMP, the legion and everyone else involved for a job well done.

Rysz was particularly pleased with the Main Street seniors scooter event, a new addition to the Stomp weekend that hopes to see continue.

“They’re already signing up for it for next year,” said Rysz with a laugh. “They were just buzzing about that – they were just pumped. Those last two that came across the finish line, their teeth were gritting and bared, it was just priceless.”

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