The Creston and District Society for Community Living’s Therapeutic Riding Program (TRP) is $25,000 richer, after Creston beat Kimberley in the Kraft Celebration Tour challenge today.
The 171,142-143,390 win was announced on TSN’s SportsCentre, which will also be broadcasting its Aug. 17 episode live from Creston.
“I’ve had goosebumps ever since he said, ‘Creston,’ on TV,” said TRP director Michelle Whiteaway, who nominated the program in a submission co-written by Christine Munkerud. “Everyone in Creston got behind us.”
“Anybody who could walk, talk or breathe,” added Myrna Johnson, who promoted the contest and even stayed overnight at the College of the Rockies, which offered its computer labs for the 24-hour voting period that stated 9 a.m. Monday morning.
The TRP has about nearly 40 members aged five to 80, and the $25,000 prize will be put toward increasing safety and accessibility in the form of a permanent washroom facility would replace the portable toilet, an upgraded mounting ramp, a solid floor in the tacking area and a new horse, allowing more riders to take part.
With only a week between the announcement and voting, Johnson and Whiteaway launched into action, promoting the contest through the TRP’s Facebook page, mass emails and in person.
It worked, with more than 1,000 hits on the contest’s page, gocreston.ca, on Monday, and the TRP’s Facebook likes more than doubling from 50 to 115 — not to mention votes coming in from Australia, Bermuda and the Philippines.
“Even if we lost, the PR for the program was incredible,” said Whiteaway. “It got to people’s hearts. It’s not just one part, it’s the whole community.”
Despite Kimberley’s loss, the publicity generated should go along way to promoting the region as a whole.
“We won the money, but the Kootenays won overall because of the exposure,” said Whiteaway.
For more information, visit www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca.