Glenna Banda, Matt Steffler and Paul Pengelly got together in late 2003 to begin the plans for an Amazing Race in 2004 for their friends and family. The race was to take place on the August long weekend and span two days ending with a big party. Glenna got the idea to get a local charity involved and because of Matt’s father’s involvement with The Children’s Aid Society, we contacted them and were directed to The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington.
The event had an entry fee of $150 and although it was talked about by potential racers throughout the spring and summer, the applications didn’t come in by the time the deadline came around. The directors decided to chalk the poor attendance up to the scheduling conflicts of the long weekend. So, the date was switched to September 17-19. 14 teams raced in the first event that never even left the City of Guelph.
Since that first year, with the date now firmly set on the first full weekend in June, teams have been put up against unique challenges in over 50 different communities within Southern Ontario. Teams have lodged at farms, conservation areas, scout camps and even stayed in a hotel!
SOAR has handed out amazing prizes ranging from travel vouchers, BBQs, camping packages, cameras and much more.
The Southern Ontario Amazing Race (SOAR) is a two day adventure competition modeled after the TV show The Amazing Race. 20 teams of two race around Wellington County and beyond competing in challenges of all sorts at test racers’ mental and physical strengths.
A sample of challenges:
Teams must travel by one of the many methods provided (canoe, bike, helicopter, bus, car, train, foot) to get from challenge to challenge. To date, the race has traveled to the following locations:
Racers collect pledges prior to the event for The Children’s Foundation. The teams that bring in the most pledges are given tokens that help them during the race. Shortcuts allow teams to skip an entire challenge, Tune-Ups give teams a hint or head-start at a challenge and Yields allow a team to force a following team to wait 15 minutes at the Yield sign. In the 16 years of the race’s existence, teams have raised over $1,000,000 dollars!
- 2004 – $9,000 (Top Team: Wayne and Kristen – Raised $1,600)
- 2005 – $34,000 (Top Team: Graham and Michelle – Raised $4,900)
- 2006 – $45,000 (Top Team: David and Michelle – Raised $9,050)
- 2007 – $49,000 (Top Team: Carrie and Kim – Raised $9,400)
- 2008 – $62,000 (Top Team: Carrie and Kim – Raised $9,570)
- 2009 – $65,000 (Top Team: Eric and Michael – Raised $8,007)
- 2010 – $70,000 (Top Team: Jake and Rob – Raised $14,000)
- 2011 – $74,000 (Top Team: Lindsay and Taylor – Raised $12,900)
- 2012 – $68,000 (Top Team: Sharon and Jane – Raised $6,750)
- 2013 – $143,000 (Top Team: Albert and Katrin – Raised $19,140)
- 2014 – $78,000
- 2015 – $80,000 (Top Team: Kylie and Tim – Raised $14,666)
- 2016 – $74,314 (Top Team: Kylie and Tim)
- 2017 – $85,705 (Top Team: Chris & Gil – Raised $15,000)
- 2018 – $72,829 (Top Team: Chris & Gil – Raised $9,004)
- 2019 – 73,163 (Top Team: Chris & Gil – Raised $10,201)
- 2020 – TBD