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March 1999

Mactier Puddle Jump

All those folks pining for life in the big city felt a lot better when they dropped by The Mactier Puddle Jump - after paying $8 a head to get in to the event they were hit for another five bucks to park. In a gravel pit. IN MACTIER.

Puddle Jumps are equal parts moto-cross race, polar bear dip and Edmund Fitzgerald reinactment. A 10-foot wide, 250-foot long hole is chainsawed out of the ice of a lake and the object of the game is to see who can make it across the open water... in a snowmobile. A fairly stock snowmobile too. Sure most people use a beater sled, take off the seat, seal up the air vents on the cowl and add a bobber on a rope to help in its eventual retrieval. But some people just steer their brand new Yamahas off the trail and head out there (snowmobile dealers refer to these guys as "regular customers"). Most competitors sink into the icy blackness to a chorus of whoops from a generally overly refreshed crowd but some DO make it across the water and are dared to pull off the same feat with less of a run at it. Puddle Jumps are a blast to watch. But with no seating, frigid temperatures and no colour-comentary/announcer you've gotta be related to one of the contestants or homeless to stay for more than an hour.

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