The Amazing Perchville Race

The first-ever Amazing Perchville Race was run by thirteen fearless teams this past weekend. Newly crowned 2015 Perchville King Tim Haskin and Queen Jolene Grusecki worked together to start the race with a traditional “On your mark, get ready, set, go!” that sent the 26 racers scrambling to open their first clue and begin the day’s challenges.

Taking inspiration from the popular “Amazing Race” TV show, team lead Jerry Malone thought that tailoring a similar event to the Perchville line-up would be a great addition. “The idea was to get local race teams to compete against each other in a bunch of Perchville-related challenges,” said Malone. “The planning team came up with a final 10 challenges that were fun but tough for our racers.” Race teams consisted of men and women ranging in age from 20 to 61 years of age. The winning team, Rick and Taylor Phillips from East Tawas, completed the race in three hours and 15 minutes to earn the title of 2015 Amazing Perchville Race Champions. Only one team was unable to complete the race, stalling at the food challenge.

The race teams competed for bragging rights and cash prizes – $650 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. All finishers received $20 in premium play and $20 in food vouchers at the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino. The Casino co-sponsored the race with the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Our goal at the Chamber is to collaborate with our members and community to create more business opportunities for our members,” stated Chamber co-managing director Shelley Buresh. “By having a Perchville-themed event a week before the traditional Perchville weekend, we hope to raise awareness for the main event and encourage extra activity in town.”

The race started at the conclusion of the Perchville Kick-Off Breakfast where Haskin and Grusecki were crowned the 2015 Perchville Royalty. Over 100 attendees enjoyed the breakfast and festivities before the race kicked off with their first challenge – personalizing race safety vests that they then wore for the entire race. Once their vests were finished and on, team members had to run a lap around the walking track for their next clue. That clue directed one team member to blindfold the other, then help them line up to successfully shoot a basket. The crowd cheered on the participants, trying to will the shots to fall into the hoop.

The team’s next clue led them to the DNR boat launch in East Tawas, where they were given a choice of “Ice” or “Fire”: one team member could jump in the ice and take the Polar Bear Plunge, or the team could travel to the City Park and build a fire on the beach. Only one team chose to build a fire.

Their next clue challenged them to find a “mystic place where a spring runs all year, beyond the monument to the men who worked in the forests long ago.” Teams figured out they had to drive to Iargo Springs and climb the steps to the bottom to find letters that unscrambled the word challenge “Nanuk the Polar Bear” before they were given their next clue. Teams then headed back into town to Gateway Park in Tawas City, where they had to hand auger three holes in the nearly foot-thick ice.

Then, it was off to Tawas Lanes to cooperatively bowl a 65 (in honor of this year’s 65th Perchville), then out to Tawas Point State Park. At the park, teams could either traipse through the campground to count fire pits or head out to the lighthouse to collect facts from the informational placards in order to pass a quick

quiz. Once they returned the correct answers, the teams had to drive US-23 from Aulerich Road to the Tawas City Hall and compile a list of all the businesses who have digital signs. More than one team missed a sign or two and had to travel up and down through town to correctly record them all.

The teams were then directed to Mr. Jack’ss and had to work together to eat a healthy portion of chicken livers and head cheese. After that, the teams were sent to Augie’s on the Bay, where they had got to sing and perform their best rendition of a nursery rhyme – and receive a standing ovation from diners and staff – before receiving their next clue.  Their final clue of the race led them to the Saganing Eagles Landing RV Park in Standish.

The teams had one more physical challenge, pulling their teammate around a course in an inner tube, then successfully flinging the tube onto a marked jackpot area. Only then did they receive their final challenge: to run on foot into the casino, and find King Haskin and Queen Grusecki and claim their prize.

The teams made it to the waiting King and Queen cold, flushed, exhausted and exhilarated, many vowing to enter the race again next year. Chamber co-managing director Janel Walmsley commented, “We’re just thrilled by all the positive feedback we’ve received from the community for this new event. We want to extend a heartfelt thanks to the race teams, businesses, and volunteers who worked together to make the Amazing Perchville Race such a success – we never could have done it without everyone.”

Amazing Perchville Race 2015 Results

1st: Rick & Taylor Phillips of East Tawas (3 hours, 15 minutes)
2nd: Dust and the Wind: Lydia Brenk & Dustin Warner of East Tawas (3h, 18m)
3rd: Perchville Bandits: Tressa Kendall & Jeremy Lehmann of East Tawas (3h, 21m)
4th: D.I.N.K.S.: Matt & Kelli Unke of Tawas City (3h, 31m)
5th: The Polar Express: Jan Arnold & Taylor Justin of Tawas City (3h, 42m)
6th: OPP (Official Perch Patrol): Rebecca Weber & Wendy Sundberg of East Tawas and Hale (3h, 43m)
7th: The Gal & The Geezer: Gary & Cathy Anklam of Saginaw (3h,50m)
8th: Booty & the Beast: Sheila & Richelle Payea of East Tawas and Big Rapids (4h)
9th: The Iceholes: Jason Irmen & Brent Wahr of Bay City (4h, 10m)
10th: Happy Feet: Sergey & Faith Levshunov of Mikado (4h, 20m)
11th: Jenlaudia: Claudia Hill & Jen Quarters of Tawas City (4h, 21m)
12th: Redgreen: Brant Scofield & Paul Rehnert of Oscoda (4h, 29m)