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Why I Relay: Let's get ready to relay

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The weather may not seem like it is time for the summer solstice or the Pine River-Backus Area Relay For Life, but it is time for both.

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Ten teams have been busy preparing for this overnight event Friday, June 20, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. There will be food like corn on the cob, pizza slices, barbecue pork sandwiches, hot dogs, walking tacos and, for the sweet side, cookies, bars, other baked goods and root beer floats.

There will be games for the kids, glow sticks, bracelets, glitter tattoos and a hockey shooting game. Sideways Entertainment will provide the music and Corey Tackmann from the Superstation K106 in Wadena will be the master of ceremonies.

Kathy Soukup, mother, caregiver, author and former team captain, will offer words of hope at the opening ceremony. We currently have 38 survivors signed up to participate in our opening ceremony and we encourage all survivors to come out for the event and sign in around 6:30 p.m. under the tent on the field.

After the opening ceremony, there will be time to check out the silent auction items, pick up more food, play games and take part of the pie throwing contest.

This is a new event to our relay and it works like this. We have five individuals who are showing their support for the relay by being "contestants." The "contestants" are Superintendent Chris Lindholm from Pequot Lakes; the newly hired Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Superintendent Dave Endicott, formerly famous for being the principal at Eagle View Elementary School; Pine River-Backus Dean of Students Jacob Mongan; Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch; and our very own Leila Carlson, captain of the Rebels.

A participant will choose a "contestant" to throw a pie at and will pay $5 for that opportunity. The "contestant" will be asked a Relay For Life question, and if answered correctly can defer the pie to another "contestant." If incorrect, the participant, may throw the pie.

We are always looking for new ideas to keep the relay interesting!

The silent auction will close at 9 p.m. and our luminary lighting ceremony will take place at dusk. This ceremony begins with us remembering those we have lost in the last year either from cancer or they had cancer in their lifetime. A candle is lit in their memory and then the honorary torchbearers, Gary and Bonnie Hockett and family and Connie Christensen and family, will begin the luminary lighting procession.

There are no words to describe all the twinkling luminaries as they light the way for the walkers throughout the night; they are the points of hope for many. We encourage you to come out and experience it yourself. Please bring a butane lighter and help us light the luminaries. All are welcome.

Hunt Utilities Group (HUG) for the 10th year in a row is a Corporate Logo sponsor and we greatly appreciate the support. HUG is joined this year by Essentia Health and Northern Lights Casino. Pelican Square of Breezy Point is another consistent Lane sponsor along with Mission sponsors Hanneken Insurance, Oasis Oil, Lands End Development of Crosslake, and First National Bank of Walker.

All donations are greatly appreciated and come from all the communities represented by the teams. Our teams are from Breezy Point, Crosslake, Longville, Backus, Pine River, Jenkins and Pequot Lakes.

If inclement weather, we do move the event into the school. The decision will be made Thursday, so listen to your local radio station for an announcement. We prefer to have it outdoors, because we can't light the luminaries in the school. We can't compete with Mother Nature, so we just have to adjust and do the best that we can with what she gives us.

PR-B Area Relay For Life

When: Friday, June 20. Gates open at 5 p.m.

Where: Pine River-Backus High School track and field or indoors in the high school gym and commons area.

Times: 7 p.m., opening ceremony; 8 p.m. (roughly), pie throwing event; dusk, luminary lighting ceremony.

Why: The 10 teams are committed to "finish the fight."

Won't you join us?

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