Junior squads prepare for the best

Masha Scheele

Two junior A hockey teams in Hinton are moving forward in preparation for the upcoming hockey season, though legal proceedings are still pending that may determine which one moves ahead.

Only one team can claim the ice time at the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre and the Town of Hinton has acknowledged only the lease with the Hinton Timberwolves. The Hinton Wildcats seek to reinstate their lease through a decision from the Court of Queen’s Bench, and the issue returns to court on Aug. 7.

The Wildcats are currently at a standstill in their preseason efforts due to the court proceedings, said Derek Prue, expansion director for the Western Provinces Hockey Association (WPHA) which owns and manages the Wildcats.

“We can’t really hire a head coach or general manager, we have several candidates, one is kind of a front runner. But we can’t pull the trigger until the town lets us know whether or not we can go forward or not,” said Prue.

The Timberwolves hired Jeff Richards as their GM and head coach in June, who comes with more than 40 years of hockey experience and owns PUCKS Hockey in Calgary.

Richards said they need to start moving forward with recruitment and campaigns for fundraising, sponsorships, and ticket sales.

Whichever banner the team plays under, players haven’t been scared off by the situation any more than stepping into a second-year team would, according to Richards.

“We’re still in the introductory stage and lots of footwork still has to happen,” he said.

Prue stated that he felt players had wavered to jump on board with a team in Hinton due to the questions around the lease.

“We are not signing any players because it’s not fair to the players right now,” said Prue.

“The head coach and GM are generally looking for players. At this level of junior A there are a lot more players than spots for them, recruiting is not really the biggest concern. Especially if you’ve got a good GM at the helm.”

The Timberwolves announced its first signed player on July 23, goaltender Carter Wickson. Wickson played in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) for three seasons before signing in Hinton.

Richards stated that so far he has signed three players but has held off on other announcements, partly due to the legal proceedings.

“I didn’t want to have what I’m doing confused with what’s going on, and what happened, the whole bit,” he said.

Despite a late start in the spring for the Timberwolves, Richards is confident to have a full well-rounded roster going into the season.

“I’ve been on board with the Timberwolves for a little over a month now, which preceded spring camp season of other junior leagues,” he said.

The Timberwolves have worked hard to catch up and make up for the lost time, he added. They also may have missed out on a lot of players who have signed with other junior clubs already, but Richards isn’t worried about putting together a successful team.

“It’s all going to come back eventually, because everybody fills up their cupboard, but they can’t keep everybody. So, we’re eventually going to see a lot of these kids came back into the system,” he added.

The team’s main camp is set for Aug. 23 to 25, and Richards predicts 60 to 90 players to attend.

“We’ll probably keep somewhere in the neighbourhood of 26 or 27 kids for some exhibition games that we hope to get to have a better look at those individuals,” he said. “I think it’s promising, I like what I’ve got to start with and we’ll build from there.”

Prue said the Wildcats main camp will be held Aug. 26 to 28.

“I know several of the players that played last year want to come back and they want to be a Wildcat, probably half of the players. We are getting calls, we are getting emails from guys asking and requesting to come back and wanting to play in Hinton,” said Prue.

As far as signings are concerned for the Timberwolves, Richards stated on July 19 that a handful of players will be announced in the following week.

He also hopes to recruit a few players from overseas, and bring some of last year’s hockey players from Hinton onto the team as well.

“I think it’s going to be successful in this league on this side of the border. It’s a great opportunity, and a great option,” he said.

Richards has spoken to many of last year’s players and he is ready to welcome them back.

ISL agreement with the town ends

Masha Scheele

A service contract between Hinton and ISL Engineering came to an end on June 26 and the town is not planning on renewing their agreement with ISL or signing a contract with any other company.

ISL will continue to complete the work that was already started but services for all new work will go out for proposals. 

The Town will be hiring engineering services on a project basis and working with those pre-qualified companies identified through the  request for proposal (RFP) process, stated Emily Olsen, Hinton communications and strategic advisor in an email on July 3. 

The original contract with ISL started on June 26, 2012 and lasted for five years with a clause to renew for a year. That renewal expired on June 26, 2018, after which the town explored a new agreement with ISL for 2018 until 2022.

The interim CAO in June 2018 made the decision to put the town’s engineering services out to tender through a full Engineering Services RFP process, which was completed this spring. The result of this process was that the Town of Hinton elected not to sign a standing offer agreement with any one specific firm. 

The RFP process entailed a creation and advertising of an RFP package, outlining the services sought, the level of experience required, and the factors that contribute to the ranking of proposals.  Proponents who responded to this RFP were short listed and asked to prepare an hour-long presentation to the RFP committee to showcase their level of service and any areas that set them apart from the other proponents, stated Olsen.

The town could enter into a standing offer agreement or a multi-year contract at the end of this process with the successful proponent, but opted not to move forward with any engineering firm.

Instead, a request for qualifications process (RFQ) was initiated with the intent of pre-qualifying a number of firms to contact with RFPs for project work. The RFQ process has currently been initiated.

Olsen previously stated that an internal engineering position is being considered as part of an ongoing review of the planning and development division.

The benefits of having an in-house engineer is that they could manage smaller tasks related to project preparation, oversight and decision-making, and could interpret and advise larger firms on the Town’s needs and expectations, stated Olsen.

“This position could provide support to many different areas of Town operations, including Planning and Development, Infrastructure Services, and Community Services,” stated Olsen.

Benefits to address day-to-day engineering functions are evaluated through further discussion within administration.

Since 2012, ISL has worked on numerous projects including the PATH building, Switzer Drive and Hardisty Lift Station, phase one and two of the water treatment plant, the asset management program, the Maxwell Lake pedestrian bridge, and the Intermunicipal Development Plan with Yellowhead County.

ISL has also worked with the Town on their Municipal Development plan, including the land use bylaw, west area structure plan, east area structure plan, and master documents for water, wastewater, stormwater, transportation, and parks.

MPB focus of fun park performance

Mila Mezei and Thayne Harden in the Battle of the Beetle
Masha Scheele Photo

Masha Scheele

The ravenous Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) showed off it’s sneaky ways of taking over the forest during the Battle of the Beetle at Gregg Lake campground.

Throughout the comical, interactive and educational play, park interpreters Mila Mezei and Thayne Harden taught camp-goers and visitors in William A. Switzer Park about the pest that has become hard to miss in the area.

Mila Mezei as a Mountain Pine Beetle
Masha Scheele Photo

“Everyone who drives through Jasper and comes through here see all the red trees and are aware that the pine beetle is around, but most people don’t know a lot about it,” said Mezei.

Mezei and Harden, who both come from an environmental-study background, sat down with local MPB experts who work in Hinton to hear what key messages they thought were important to convey to the public. They researched the beetle and sifted through scientific literature in preparation of putting the play together and finding ways to translate its story in an onstage production.

With only two months to write and produce the play, all while organizing and planning other events throughout the summer, the two interpreters felt the pressure.

“This one was a little bit more challenging. I think it was just harder to anthropomorphize an insect like that, in other shows we’ve done we have big charismatic animals like bears and caribou, people I think connected really easily with that and recognized the animal and had some background information on it. It was interesting to do a show on an animal where you just assume people know next to nothing about them,” said Harden.

Mila Mezei and Thayne Harden in the battle of the beetle
Masha Scheele Photo

Through the play, the beetle explains how it survives, lays eggs, and takes down its host trees in a theatrical performance, which premiered on July 15. The play generally evolves as they tweak the things that don’t work and figure out ways to improve, stated Harden.

This is the third season Mezei and Harden have returned to work in Switzer Park as interpreters and they’ve been busy honing their programs and enjoying working with people who love to be outdoors.

“We’re in a unique spot where we get to facilitate these unique opportunities to create really meaningful experiences and memories in the park. The ultimate goal of interpretation is that people will take these experiences and then want to visit the parks more,” said Mezei.

Mezei and Harden returned at the end of April and hit the ground running in May with environmental information programs for schools in the area. 

Once school is out, the two organize summer programs for the campground and other visitors to the park; they teach about anything from animals to ancient weapons.

“With so much variety to the programming, there are a ton of programs to learn, a lot of scripts and I’m always trying to tweak things and improve on things,” said Harden.

Battle of the Beetle, produced, directed, and delivered by Mezei and Harden, shows most Saturday evenings throughout the summer, including July 27 at 7 pm.

Also this weekend is the Cardinal Divide Butterfly Count where Mezei and Harden take visitors to explore alpine meadows, catch and identify butterflies, and contribute to the University of Alberta species database. A biologist joins them for the event to help identify the critters and teach people how information is taken and put in an online database to track the movement of the butterflies.  

To join the butterfly count, the group will leave Green Square in Hinton at 10 am on Sunday, July 28 for the Cardinal Divide. 

Many more events hosted in Switzer Park can be found at albertaparks.ca/parks or hinton.ca.

Mila Mezei and Thayne Harden in the battle of the beetle
Masha Scheele Photo

IDP approval process postponed until August

Masha Scheele

Edits were made to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) and agreed upon between Town of Hinton and Yellowhead County administration.

During the special meeting of council on July 16, administration asked council members to approve the IDP, but council members felt they were not well informed on the IDP amendments. They opted to give second reading and postpone the third reading to the regular council meeting on Aug. 20.

“The major edit made to the plan was taking out the one provision of policy area referred to as annexation,” stated Peter Vana, interim director planning & development. The annexation portion of the IDP was removed before the meeting on July 16.

The other amended section was made regarding the boundary of the IDP fringe area. Coun. Dewly Nelson addressed the fact that council brought up major concerns with the document at first reading and that a meeting was to be held between administration and council to discuss them.

“The edits weren’t part of the report, I just feel there’s a lot I don’t know and I was expecting to get the opportunity to have a conversation,” said Nelson.

Coun. Tyler Waugh agreed with Nelson but spoke in favour of second reading as a sign of good faith towards the county. “I would like second reading done at least, it shows some forward momentum with the IDP in respect to the work done by administration.”

Yellowhead County Council has passed the IDP bylaw already after all issues in the document had been agreed on by both parties, stated Vana.

“We’re happy with the document. It really had the one big issue regarding the annexation and that has been removed, so from our standpoint we’re happy with it,” said Vana.

Vana voiced concern over how the county might perceive Hinton council not moving forward with third reading and that a true test of trust and commitment would be to go forward with both second and third reading.

“I don’t know what the process is for Yellowhead County but I know for us, we have a responsibility to make sure we fully understand any development plan, any plan that we put in place with another municipality. And I don’t think through our process we’ve gained that knowledge in the proper context, either with the original plan, or the edits that have been made since,” said Waugh.

Vana apologized for not having a meeting with council on the changes, but that the intent had been  to have a meeting if there was no resolution between the town and county. 

Following first reading of the IDP and a public hearing on May 21, the Town of Hinton administration worked with Yellowhead County to arrive at a mutually beneficial IDP that considers the needs of both municipalities, said Lorraine Walker, planning and development.

Once the IDP gets approved, work begins on the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF), which is a framework developed and agreed to by municipalities sharing a common border.

An ICF provides for integrated and strategic planning, delivery and funding of intermunicipal services, stewards scarce resources efficiently in providing local services, and ensures municipalities contribute funding to services that benefit their residents.

“Currently the town of Hinton and Yellowhead County have a joint revenue sharing agreement that this would take the place of,” said Walker.

An approved IDP and ICF have been mandated by the Province to be completed by April 1, 2020 between municipalities that share a boundary.

“Next process is the ICF, there’s a meeting already scheduled for this week to kick off that meeting with CAO and myself and the county,” stated Vana.

Vana explained that the different components of an ICF identify the existing services of the town, the existing services the county offers, the services both municipalities share together, and what items could be collaborated on in future services. “There will be a meeting between the two councils to have a conversation as part of this process,” said Vana.

The IDP serves as an appendix to the ICF explained Vana, and it would be beneficial to have the IDP in place before discussing the ICF with Yellowhead County.

Mary Reimer Rodeo bringing bullfighting to the Friday night lineup

Zach Cormier Photo

Masha Scheele

Acrobatics, running, and jumping are all included when three men try to control an aggressive fighting bull the evening of July 26 at the Mary Reimer Memorial Rodeo.

Freestyle bullfighting pits man against beast with a mission to engage the animal as much as possible. The goal is to maintain control of the bull while dancing with him.

“Some call it the most dangerous dance on earth,” said Travis James, owner of Gringo Fighting Bulls in Edson.

Gringo Fighting Bulls brings the bull to Hinton for the rodeo, while three guys from the Shorty Gorham’s American Freestyle Bullfighting tour prepare for the face off.

At the end of their touring season, the top guys head off to Las Vegas for the world finals.

Just like in bull riding, there are 50 points to be awarded to the bull and 50 points awarded to the bullfighter, explained James.

“The animal is judged on his aggressiveness, the more aggressive it is, the more points he’ll score,” he said.

“The bullfighter is pretty similar, if he can maintain control and stay in front of that bull, he will score higher. If he gets run over, he gets docked a few points.”

James started fighting bulls eight years ago when he was just 18 years old. Three years ago he began Gringo Fighting Bulls in Edson, where he also hosted the bullarama, including Canada’s largest freestyle bullfighting competition.

“For me, I am an adrenaline junkie. I enjoy more cowboy protection. I enjoy saving the bull riders,” he said.

“I started getting into the freestyle bullfighting because it was an avenue to showcase my talent.”

James hopes that freestyle bullfighting will help him to get more jobs as a cowboy protection athlete. While saving a cowboy in Edson last year, he was knocked out after getting kicked in the face by the bull, but he says otherwise he hasn’t been seriously hurt from fighting bulls.

“Everybody has a different feeling when they do it. I enjoy it, maintaining control and making the bull do what I want him to do,” he said.

Alongside bullfighting, mini bronc riding is also a new event that will be held on Friday night.

For the event, kids aged six to 14 ride mini ponies as a way to prepare for a future in professional rodeo.

“It’s for contestants wanting to get into the saddle bronc and bareback riding. It’s early development for them so they can start younger and hopefully by the time they’re of age they have some good fundamentals and they can compete professionally,” said James.

Kids from all over Alberta will come to compete in this event with Rank Mini Pony from Edson, which is also owned by James.

James hopes bringing these events to Hinton will help grow the freestyle bullfighting world in the West Yellowhead.

“Hinton has lots of adrenaline junkies. Lots of guys that go dirt biking, quadding, and that kind of stuff. Hopefully we can tap into those guys and get some people that just want to see some wrecks,” he said.

Friday night events also includes locals in events like double barrels, poles, relay race and mutton bustin’. Saturday’s events include some of the best in bull riding, saddle bronc, roping, barrel racing and bareback, among others. 

To find out more or to get involved in freestyle bullfighting or mini bronc riding, get in touch with Travis James through their social media pages. Gringo Bulls or Rank Mini Pony on Facebook.

Two rec centre concepts presented

Illustration provided by Town of Hinton
Option 1A

Masha Scheele

Council members displayed their commitment to involving the community in the concept and design of the new aquatics facility during the standing meeting on July 16.

After being presented two aquatic centre concepts at the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre during the meeting, council members didn’t feel comfortable choosing one over the other before consulting the public.

Option 3A

“The goal will be to have some open houses in September, and after that the borrowing debenture bylaw. This is high level and this will likely change over the next little while,” stated CAO Martin Taylor as he presented the options and recommended council select one to move forward on.

Instead, recommendations were made by council to present both of the aquatic centre options at this year’s registration and information fair, as well as the Parks West Mall before the end of September.

“It’s not to answer questions but it’s to build on what they expect to be in this facility and that’s what these interactions are going to be,” said Coun. Trevor Haas about the public presentations.

Other councillors echoed that the presentations were meant to gather public input rather than to answer questions on the future of the facility.

The two concept options show an expansion of a new aquatics centre in the current recreation centre area, which was directed by council previously to spend $25,000 on conceptual designs, stated Mayor Marcel Michaels.

“As far as amenities, they’re not particularly different. As far as visual impact, they’re vastly different. They look completely different if you’re driving past on Switzer drive and I think that’s a big thing for people to get behind,” said Coun. Albert Ostashek about the concepts.

“To me, option 1A just has a better layout of the facility. Better traffic-flow, better interaction, especially in terms of accessing the library,” said Coun. Ostashek.

Councillors expressed a desire to utilize the summer to gather input from the public on the two concepts before moving forward.

Taylor stated that more detailed financial information regarding the facility would be presented on Aug. 26, but that the current high-level estimation cost is between 24 and 29 million dollars.

Coun. Tyler Waugh asked what the estimated cost was based on, and Taylor reminded council that a list was put together of possible items to be included and provided to the architect earlier this year.

“Those will still be moved quite a bit because of cost,” Taylor explained.

Coun. JoAnn Race voiced her concern over not having more financial information to give to residents as they present the concepts.

“I could give you a rough estimate on revenues and expenses, but until you decide what we want to 

build, probably hold off. People understand that you have to borrow money, that’s a given,” said Taylor.

A more detailed estimated cost would be presented before the end of the public feedback process, prior to the registration fair. 

Taylor added that funds will be necessary to carry forward with the architect.

“Council will have to spend some cash in terms of going further, cost estimates, geotechnical work, all that stuff,” he said.

“Architectural drawings themselves, you’re probably looking at a million and a half dollars, probably more. Those are the hard costs. We’re not going to do the drawings until we do the geotechnical, the engineering analysis of the existing building tying into another building, and checking what’s under the parking lot. Those are all costs.”

Taylor stated that the Town has been working on the recreation centre project for multiple years with a variety of different architects and different consultants.

A report was mentioned to come forward to a council meeting with a timeline regarding the project and how they got to this point.

Kushneryk continues to ride toward her dream

Photo provided by Alaysha Kushneryk

Masha Scheele

Before the barrel races at the upcoming Mary Reimer Memorial Rodeo, rider Alaysha Kushneryk could most likely be found near her horse trailer, tending to her horses and making them look good.

Moments before her race, she’ll envision what she wants her run to look like and how to set herself up for success in the arena.

“It’s mind blowing that I get the opportunity to do it. I love doing it and it gives me a rush. You’re on a high when you’re doing it, it’s the best feeling in the world,” she gushed about competing at rodeos, whether it’s barrel racing or roping.

A daily highlight for Kushneryk is just seeing her four horses every morning when she wakes up, which is not surprising for someone with big aspirations of professionally riding horses at rodeos one day.

Kushneryk started riding competitively at just seven years-old and now 10 years later she still has the motivation and passion to keep going. 

“I really enjoy doing this sport, it being competitive and me being a competitive person definitely is a big part of the motivation,” said Kushneryk.

Even with this year’s rainy weather, which created a mud pit in the Hinton arena, she’s continuously practicing at home and at the Edson indoor arena.

Since she was just a kid, Kushneryk has taken part in rodeo events including barrel racing, in which a horse and rider complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels in the fastest time; breakaway roping, where a calf is roped but not thrown and tied; pole bending, in which a horse and rider run a weaving path around six poles in a line; and team roping featuring a steer and two riders.

At the Hinton rodeo on Aug. 26 to 28 this year, she’ll be using multiple horses for varying events at the Mary Reimer rodeo in Hinton from July 26 – 28. She plans on competing in pole bending, roping, and barrel racing. 

“I’ve moved up to ladies this year so it’s my first year running with what we call the big dogs. Trying to catch my ground a little bit and feel my groove with them but my horse has been keeping up and we’ve been placing in the top 20 most of the times we’ve ran,” she said.

She doesn’t anticipate making it to the finals this year but hopes to do well enough in breakaway roping for a possible shot at the finals.

Throughout her year so far, she was the season leader for five rodeos and was close to going to the finals of high school rodeo before backing off to focus on the Wildrose Rodeo Association (WRA) and the Lakeland Rodeo Association (LRA).

“We wanted to try and catch the groove earlier on in the season,” she said.

Kushneryk hopes the level of competition at the WRA and LRA will help her become more competitive as she attempts to push herself further with her riding.

“I’m hoping that I’ll go pro one day, maybe not within the next year or whatever, because I want to go to school after, but I’m hoping to go pro in either the breakaway or the barrels,” she said.

Kushneryk believes rodeo is a huge part of Canada’s heritage and that it’s important to keep the tradition of rodeos alive in Alberta.

“A lot of people really enjoy it as their own family thing or a sport to them. I think it’s just a fantastic thing for people to do and for people to see,” she said.

Council approves three admin positions for 2019

Masha Scheele

Three new positions for the Town of Hinton were recommended for approval by council to maintain existing service levels.

The three positions require an increase of $99,447 to 2019 resources.

“These are so urgent for me that I did not want to wait for the budget,” stated CAO Martin Taylor, during the standing committee meeting on July 16.

As part of the organizational efficiency and effectiveness review, Taylor conducted interviews with council members and administrative staff to gain an understanding of the organization and to identify opportunities for improvements.

That review supported the requirements of the positions and they were identified as priority positions by the CAO to address emerging issues. The positions include a maintenance technician, an HR advisor, and a Level 1 community peace officer.

Coun. Dewly Nelson felt more information on the level of service of a peace officer was needed and suggested bringing back the position to the budget 2020 presentations.

Taylor explained that currently two Hinton peace officers work a lot of overtime hours and an added officer would only help to maintain the level of service.

“In that particular type of work, burnout is quite high so I’m always quite mindful of people who wear the uniform. They’re not the types to say no to work but there is a point where two peace officers isn’t considered high for a town of this size,” he said.

One more officer would help alleviate the time of the other two officers when they take holidays, sick leave, training, evenings, and weekends, said Todd Martens, Protective Services Manager.

The urgency to approve the peace officer position was due to new officers needing to go through training before they can start, which only happens once per year in September.

“Asking our current peace officers to wait another year to find that position, I’m not prepared at all to do that. It needs to be within these three essential components for our community. I hear all the time in our community peace officers aren’t around as often as they need them,” said Coun. Trevor Haas.

Haas added that another person would also be able to alleviate some of the calls and open them up to work more proactively.

“The other place I struggle is that I don’t know what a CP level 1, versus level 2, versus animal control, I don’t know what options we have,” said Coun. Dewly Nelson.

A new bylaw position was created in 2019 and funding another position outside of the 2020 budget is not something Nelson felt he could approve.

Martens stated that the position isn’t new, but that previously the funding came through the photo radar program and they are now seeking funding through council. Council recommended administration bring forward a budget amendment to include the increase enabling them to pursue all three positions. 

In the past, all three positions were requested during the 2019 Budget process, alongside five others. At that time, all position requests were deferred until the Organizational Efficiency and Effectiveness Review was completed on May 10. 

The review stated that the town has insufficient resources in several departments to support objectives defined in the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. 

Council finally recommended the mayor call a special meeting of council on July 30 to include the resource increase request, as well as the land use bylaw #1088-8 and the IDP discussion.

Mack seeks online Ms. Health & Fitness title

Jenn Bardarson Photography

Masha Scheele

Local Tammy Mack, a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, is on a quest to earn the Ms. Health & Fitness title.

Ms. Health & Fitness is the world’s largest online fitness competition according to their website, based in the USA and accessible to most countries around the world.

Mack worked her way into the fourth place spot of her group in online voting as of this past week, part of a journey that she hopes will end in August with a win.

A friend tagged Mack in a Facebook ad for the competition before she sent in her name with photos and a description of her fit lifestyle.

“I’ve had a lot of fun, interacting with people on Facebook and seeing the support I get from people who I know, people who I haven’t talked to or seen for years, or people who I don’t even know has been remarkable,” she said.

“Seeing how people collectively support someone through a big goal like this has been so heartwarming and shocking.”

Fitness has been part of Mack’s life from the get-go; she danced, played ringette, ran cross-country, and did kickboxing as she grew up.

“I got into training after high school, once I moved to the city and my brother is actually who got me into it because he was an avid fitness gym-goer,” she said.

Mack loved weight-lifting, and over the years this has remained a constant part of her fitness regimen.

“Through my most difficult chapters in life, living with anxiety and suffering from depression, being a new mom and step-mom, fitness has helped me build confidence, stay energized, set goals, and form genuine connections with like-minded people,” she stated on her Ms. Health & Fitness profile.

Mack trains four to five times per week and runs anywhere from two to four times per week.

Her schedule increased at the beginning of this year but she has worked at this same pace in the past, always maintaining a weekly regimen.

“The healthiest way to live for me is to do what makes me happy, to exercise, to eat healthy, to spend time with people, to laugh as much as you can, kind of lead with love,” she said.

Mack often works out with friends or in her home gym and said one of the biggest things that keeps her going is surrounding herself with people who are living the same lifestyle.

With an active family who hike, bike, and dirt bike, it makes being active easier for Mack.

“I would suggest people to start out by surrounding themselves with other people who are living the same life and make it fun. Be in the energy you want to be, that you want to create for yourself,” she said.

Mack suggested that the best way to start living an active lifestyle is by taking small steps, asking for support, and focusing on changing one thing at a time.

“The whole idea for me is to show that when you put your mind to something you can achieve anything. To own your worth, and know you’re worth it, and that you can do anything you put your mind to,” she said.

Living the healthiest lifestyle possible and continuing to work harder are Mack’s biggest goals in her fitness journey. When it comes to nutrition, Mack believes everything is best in moderation and basing intake on whole foods.

“You can’t put water in your vehicle because it will die, if you continue to pump your body with things it’s not naturally designed to digest then it will start to break down and stop working. So everything in moderation, but having said that, you want to make sure you are eating what you are biologically designed to digest,” she said.

The winner of the competition takes home $20,000 and will be featured in a two-page spread of the muscle and fitness hers magazine.

Throughout the competition, money is also raised for Homes for Wounded Warriors, a charitable organization that builds and remodels handicap accessible homes for United States military veterans.

“You can raise money for the foundation through purchasing votes. A portion of the votes goes to the wounded warriors foundation,” Mack said.

The competition is currently in the group stage, which will continue until one winner is chosen from each of the 120 different groups of women. Mack will be safe in fourth place until the final week of group rounds, starting on July 24. Group rounds come to an end on July 31 at which point she will have to be in first place of her group to continue to the semi-finals.

The winner of each group will go on to the semi-final round and the final round, which closes on Aug. 21. Women who place second in the group stage do have one shot at advancing to the semi-final round through a wildcard round. To vote for Tammy Mack head to mshealthandfitness.com and search Tammy Mack in the top bar. 

People get one free vote per day for her on the website, or more through donations.

Wild Mountain’s got the Funk

Masha Scheele

On the heels of a new album release, Five Alarm Funk will be sharing some of their new sounds with Hinton this weekend at the Wild Mountain Music Festival.

Tayo Branston, lead vocals and drums, described the upcoming album as lighter compared to previous albums, with similar funk sounds, but more ska oriented, and less heavy metal driven. 

“It’s a nicer, calmer sound but still full of energy and pazaz. We’re really excited to do another release – it will be our seventh studio album in 16 years. We’re really starting to hone our craft when it comes to being in the studio and what we want to sound like and how we want to sound on a recording,” he said.

In the past, Five Alarm Funk utilized their summer tours for performing and perfecting their new songs before recording in the fall and releasing in the winter or spring. This time around, they worked hard throughout the winter to have an album that is already being mixed and mastered and will release in September, allowing them to tour Canada in the fall.

“We knew we had to write, we had to create, and had to get into the studio and do it to hit our goals,” said Branston.

Some of these new hits will be heard during the show this weekend, along with classics, and tunes from their recent album, Sweat.

This will be the second time the genre-bending band performs at Wild Mountain. Since their last performance at the festival in 2017, they’ve switched up their stage set-up by pushing their percussion into the middle, and allowing their horns and guitar players to run around the stage like wild animals by hooking them up with wireless units.

“We’ve got some new branded outfits that everybody wears and we’ve also got brand new music that we’re going to play. The show is similar in ways, but there will be a lot of new things that they didn’t see last year,” said Branston.

Branston anticipates a high energy funk onslaught of seven performers giving everything they have to the performance and the stage. 

“A Five Alarm Funk show is energetic, it’s relentless. What we aim for is to have the most fun of our lives when we’re performing and we do and I think that translates to the audience. People should be ready to jump, dance, sweat and have a big smile on their face while they’re doing it,” he added. 

For a band that’s on the road as much as Five Alarm Funk, coming back to a festival they’ve played before gives them some sort of familiarity, explained Branston, while building on what their fans experienced during their last show.

“Any festival performance is such a nice time for a band to be able to relax and enjoy the ambience that music festivals create,” he said.

The band was able to relax, throw some frisbees around, and enjoy the space during their last Wild Mountain experience, he remembered. After the release of the new album in September, the band will tour Canada and hope to book in some Mexico dates where they recently struck a distribution deal.

The next phase anticipates more singles to be released rather than full records.

“Releasing music just as is. When we’re done recording a piece, we’ll release it and get it out there and collaborating with other artists,” said Branston.

Last year, they collaborated with funk artist Bootsy Collins and Branston hopes to continue the collaborative work with artists like rapper E-40, vocalist Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine, and fellow Vancouver musicians, Ashleigh Ball from Hey Ocean and gospel singer Warren Flandez. He added that other band members likely have other collaboration suggestions but that the possibilities are endless.

“There’s just so many avenues to go and to me there’s no border that can’t be crossed. The world is so intertwined now, if you want to connect, you can connect,” he said.

The Wild Mountain Music Festival takes place July 19 – 21 at the Entrance Ranch. Joining Five Alarm Funk on the roster of performers are Colin James, Terra Lightfoot, Harry Manx and Shred Kelly.

Tickets for the volunteered-run festival are available online at wldmtnmusic.ca or through cash sales in Hinton at Cold Creek Boutique, The Old Grind, and Maximum Work Gear, as well as at the festival gate. 

Check out the program inserted in this issue of The Voice for more info on the amenities, camping and other scheduled performers.