Truck pull supports mental health

The third annual Truck Pull for Mental Health takes place at the Carman Country Fair on July 13. (CARMAN COUNTRY FAIR)

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The Carman Country Fair is this weekend, and one event will be raising money for mental health programming in Carman.

The third annual Truck Pull for Mental Health takes place July 13 during the demolition derby intermission at the Carman Country Fair.

Event co-chair Warren McCutcheon said they got the idea from a similar event in Carberry that was raising funds for cancer research.

He said they also saw a gap in mental health funding in the community that they wanted to fill. “With everything else going on like cancer fundraisers and the MS Walk and those kinds of things, the mental health was kind of getting left behind,” he said. “It’s an important issue that wasn’t getting a lot of recognition or a lot of funding.”

The money goes to Carman’s Mental Health Committee, and thanks to support from events like the truck pull the committee has already been active.

Two committee members have completed the Mental Health First Aid course facilitated by Southern Health. Workshops about cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness ran at Carman Collegiate, a six hour program about peer support instructed 25 students on how to look out for their own mental health as well as that of their friends, and Sean Miller, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Central Region shared his own experiences with mental illness and recovery.

This year, funds will be supporting free mental health courses put on by Thrive Learning Centre.
McCutcheon said feedback from participants and spectators has been very positive.

“With ten person teams it gets a lot of people out,” he said. “We’ve got a couple rivalries.”
Competing teams work to pull their trucks about 100 feet.

“It’s really difficult to get the truck going,” McCutcheon said. “It takes a big pull, a big push those first few steps. Once you get a bit of momentum you get going and everybody pulls together.”

“It’s only 10 or 15 seconds once you get going to get across that finish line,” he added. “Your legs are burning for the rest of the day after that 15 second sprint. It’s pretty neat.”

Participants usually get a fair amount of cheers and support from the crowd as they pull.

At $40 per person or $400 for a team, the money raised at the event goes a long way to help mental health programming in the area.

“Certainly every dollar helps,” he added. “We’re trying to grow this event and trying to raise a little bit more money.”

McCutcheon said people will often donate to the mental health committee even if they don’t pull a truck.

“It’s gained momentum,” he said. “Whether it’s people in the crowd or people part of the teams that have donated extra money… not just the entry fees.”

14 teams participated last year, and McCutcheon said their goal is about 16 teams this year.

There was also a kids’ division (under 16) last year and McCutcheon said it was a popular addition they plan on repeating this year.

McCutcheon said many businesses will sign up as teams, but individuals are more than welcome to join the pull.

“Don’t be intimidated that you need to have ten people,” he said. “We’ve made up a couple of teams the day of the last few years.”

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