Squamish is going through some pretty drastic changes and people are scared. Why? Because we have something that’s the envy of people around the world, we have a community. A community that will go to downright innovative lengths to help one another. A perfect example of this is the annual GK Ripper fundraiser.
This weekend is number six and it’s back with a twist. But before we get to the future, let’s take a moment to savor the rich history. Al Ross and the Tantalus brain trust conceived the idea of an event to raise funds for fallen friend, Graham Kuerbis. The idea was brilliant and in true Squamish style it brought communities together for a good cause. The format was a relay race that had the lung busting loonies peddling up the formidable Diamond Head road where plummeting partners would hold on tight for the hairball decent.
Last year the GK Ripper evolved into an official foundation providing financial assistance for locals who have been seriously injured in sporting or motor vehicle accidents. Kristen McBride, was the recipient in ’03 after a car accident rendered her a quadriplegic. Since then Kristen has been an integral part of the events longevity.
And for a small town event, this one really brought out the big names from around the world. The list of winners reads like a dream team including: Roland Green, Andrew Shandro, Thomas Vanderham, Chad Miles, JJ Desarmoux, Wade Simmons, Leslie Thomlinson, and Shaums March.
This year things have changed but some key elements remain. Namely we’re still raising money for a good cause, and to do the GK Ripper you still need balls. Instead of bikes, we’re hitting the links at the Squamish Valley Golf Club. This event is so fantastic that realistically they could make us do anything, so golf? Why not.
Traditionally, the hardest part of this event is surviving the pre-party that has almost everyone running, how shall we say, less than 100%. This year the pre-party is back and it wouldn’t be the Ripper without another Squamish first. It’s the first all-ages bike movie premier as the Howe Sound Inn let’s those under 19 have a first peek at the brand spankin’ New World Disorder flick. Included are snacks, refreshments and buckets o’ prizes so get your tickets at Tantalus before it sells out. For those of legal drinking age and not afraid to show it, the same film will roll in the Brew Pub with a band and hijinks to follow.
The Sunday golf portion will be something to behold no doubt, as the nine hole, best ball tournament starts swinging. Big prizes up for grabs include Canucks tickets, a Whistler Bike Park seasons pass and for those waiting their whole lives to get a hole in one, now’s the time as Greg Gardner is betting $10,000 no one can sink it. As always, all the cash raised from this weekend goes to the GK Foundation. Yeah, Squamish.