Snowshoe Stampede to Stomp Out Cancer set for Feb. 3

MANISTEE — The mission statement of the Snowshoe Stampede to Stomp Out Cancer event pretty much sums up the reason dozens of volunteers and members of the community work tirelessly to raise money for the fight against cancer.

People of all ages join in the annual Snowshoe Stampede to Stomp Out Cancer that will be taking place this year on Feb. 3 at the Manistee Veterans of Foreign Wars Walsh Post No. 4499. (File photo)

People of all ages join in the annual Snowshoe Stampede to Stomp Out Cancer that will be taking place this year on Feb. 3 at the Manistee Veterans of Foreign Wars Walsh Post No. 4499. (File photo)

That mission statement says, “Our mission is one of kindness and giving. Our goal is one of support and assistance. We will succeed in our mission with the help of our fellow community members until this devastating disease is cured.” Those powerful words are backed up by individuals and organizations determined to win this fight.

This year the Snowshoe Stampede to Stomp Our Cancer will take place beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 3 at the Manistee Veterans of Foreign Wars Walsh Post No. 4499 located at 1211 28th St.

Rachel Vasquez and Jessica Scharp, who coordinate the event with a host of dedicated volunteers, said the program has made a major impact in helping people in their fight against cancer.

“I am proud to say that the Snowshoe Stampede has raised a majority of the $150,000 we have used to assist Manistee and Mason County Cancer over the last eight years,” said Vasquez. “It is in thanks to the local business owners, volunteer bands, chili cook off participants, bakers, celebrity bartenders and the community members who donate their time, skills, silent auction items or just come and support the event, that we have been able to assist so many neighbors in need.”

Scharp said last year was the first time it was held at the VFW and the location worked out well.

“It is cold that time of the year and with the exception of the snowshoe walk that is held outside we can hold most other things inside,” said Scharp. “We did find a great place to take a snowshoe walk by Madison School and then into the Packaging Corporation of America property so we came up with nice walk through the woods.  However, I think everyone enjoyed having all the other stuff inside like the chili/soup cookoff the cornhole tournament, band concert, silent auction and the bartending contest.”

Scharp said they still give the opportunity to have fun outside with the fire pit, but the majority of participants enjoyed the new format that kept most of the events inside.

Some things are changing with the snowshoe walk this year.

“We took registration at the school last year and it was cold out there as we didn’t have a key to get inside while we were waiting to register people,” said Scharp. “So this year we going to register inside the VFW and then walk over to the trail as a group.”

Also starting at 11:30 a.m. is the celebrity bartenders and they have a great lineup this year. The bartenders battle to see who can raise the most in donations and tips, and Vasquez said a lot of bragging rights are on the line.

“If you would like to donate a silent auction item, in their name, you can contact one of the team members or myself and we will get your donation allocated to their team tip cup,” said Vasquez. “We have a competitive group this year, so don’t be surprised to see them out hitting the streets, trying to claim the bragging rights as the 2018 winning celebrity bartenders.

The lineup of bartenders this year features:

• Noon: Team Manistee County Council of Aging ( Senior Center) – Sarah Howard, Jo Hall and Nancy Fortin;

• 1 p.m.: Team Filer Credit Union – Jenny Jans and Kim Maelstrom;

• 2 p.m.: Team The Heat Is On – Rachael Clouse, Glen Haglund and  Jackie Boyd;

•3 p.m.: Team Chopo’s Northside Bar – Josh Sagala and Mason Waligorski (Defending Champs);

• 4 p.m.: Team MAPS – Cassie Miller, Kris Johnson and Wendy Adamski; and

• 5 p.m.: Team Corrections – Al Cole and Scott Adamczyk.

Throughout the day there will be a silent auction, raffle and bake sale taking place.

“We are still looking for silent auction, raffle and bake sale items for the event,” said Vasquez. “If you would like to donate any of these items, please contact Jessica at (231) 794-9474 or myself at (231) 510-9690,” said Vasquez. “We would also appreciate it if you would share our flyer and help us get the word out to your family, friends and co-workers.”

The Silent Auction and 50/50 will take place all day until 6 p.m. and the raffles will be taking place every hour until 6 p.m.

Another popular event that is back is the Chili/Soup Cookoff that begins at noon. There is no entry fee for anyone wanting to enter and more details can be obtained by calling Sandy at (231) 794-8147.

“It used to be just for chili, but we expanded it to include soup and that opens up a lot more different types of entries,” said Scharp.

The indoor Cornhole Tournament is back for another year of fun competition as well. People wanting to enter need to pre-register by Feb. 1 by calling Jackie at (231) 510-8147.

“We used to hold that outside until last year, but everyone seems to like having it indoors,” said Scharp.

Throughout the day the VFW hall will be filled with music to enjoy as they enjoy a beverage, hotdog, chili or soup, or watch the Cornhole Tournament.

Starting at noon will be Larry Bialik and the Rambling Band followed by the Red Hot Daddies, Junk Monkey and Sufferin Suckatash.

Scharp said they always want the Snowshoe Stampede to be something that people of all ages can come to and show their support, so this year they picked up the services of the Manistee National Honor Society to organize some outdoor activities for kids.

“Some of the ideas they came up with events were ‘Pin the Nose on the Snowman” that would follow a snowman making contest as the kids would then be blindfolded and have to put a carrot on the snowman as a nose,” said Scharp.  “They also talked about having a tug-of-war in the snow and a snow angel contest. Other ideas are snowball relay contest to see how a team of kids could go without dropping the snowball, kind of like an egg drop contest.”

Scharp said they are looking at some other good ideas for games and plan to have a raffle of some kind for the kids.

However, Scharp pointed out that the main focus, like with all the adult events, is having good family fun and helping in the fight against cancer.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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