By: Brandon Gillet

Though Algonquin’s bed race teams didn’t get far at the opening of Winterlude on Feb.2, they wouldn’t have shown up if it weren’t for the college’s welding students.

The Kiwanis club of Ottawa is responsible for preparing everything for the annual Accora Village Bed Race which included enlisting Algonquin’s help this year. The bed race committee sought out the school’s welding students and instructors, asking them to volunteer their time fabricating six frames using Kiwanis provided materials.

The welding students along with their instructors Mark Bowen, Malcolm De Waal, Peter Meinert and Serge Veillette agreed to build steel bed frames for the race. According to instructor Mark Bowen, the students were more than happy to take on the project.

“The majority of students were on board right away,” said Bowen. “They liked that it was for a good cause.”

And so, on Jan. 28, the sparks were flying as the welding class laboured through the day with fire and steel. With the help of staff on campus and the other teams, the students put about 15 hours of work into the six frames.

Algonquin’s welders were a big help in contributing to the event. Every year some race beds must be replaced, sometimes on short notice as some teams own their beds while others plan to buy one from Kiwanis, according to Jamie Johnson, chair of the bed race committee.

“The Algonquin welders graciously stepped in to make six bed frames for us,” said Johnson, “All of the teams did really well preparing and working together.”

The hospitality and tourism team even provided a dinner for six at the Restaurant International as the prize for best decorated bed.

The hype of the race led to a toonie toss on Jan. 31, where the welding teams’ completed bed was on display in front of the live wall in the ACCE building. Students and staff were invited to toss toonies on it to win a steel candelabra, made by Mark Bowen and student Alexandr Kogay.

The day started early around 11 a.m. as the teams were handling registration and setting up, followed by the judging of best decorated bed.  The Accora Village #1 team won the bragging rights and the dinner for six with their elaborate brick house bed design.

Led by Kiwanis President Alison Hunter, each of the 32 teams participated in the qualifying round followed by two elimination rounds in the fastest bed portion of the competition.

This year’s event raised over $50,000 for Kiwanis related youth programs and was an overall success as Hunter sees it.

The entire day was “wonderful” as Hunter put it, mentioning that her most memorable moment was the Lone Star cow girls dancing on their bed. They won best team spirit.

Despite the frigid temperatures, Algonquin’s teams gave it their all and everyone had smiles on their faces. In the end the winners were the Accora Village #4 team in first place, followed by Halsall in second, and the International Union of Elevator Constructors in third.

The Read-a-Thon program is in its tenth year and encourages reading in primary schools through affordable prices on books. It is now in 300 schools across 13 countries.