Catapulting into the new year

Nathan Liewicki
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Published on January 01, 2014

Michael Atkins poses with a few  Voltage volunteers who donned costumes Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at Hillcrest Apostolic Church. 

Published on January 01, 2014

Teams of two battle one another in a round of sumo tricycle jousting at Voltage early Wednesday morning. The activity was one of many hundreds of youth participated in at Hillcrest Apostolic Church from New Year's Eve night and into New Year's Day morning. 

Published on January 01, 2014

Catherine Hammer, dressed as Arwen from the The Lord of the Rings, poses with a sword at Voltage Tuesday night.

Published on January 01, 2014

Matt Reeb of the hip-hop dance group Refined Undignified prepares to give out another high five inside Smeagol's Side Stage at Voltage early Wednesday morning. 

Published on January 01, 2014

Justin Drake prepares to launch an Angry Bird mask stuffed with a basketball from a handmade catapult at Voltage on Wednesday morning. The 10-hour, New Year's Eve party attracted 600 youth from parts of Saskatchewan for a night of fun activities.

Published on January 01, 2014

Three youths focus hard as they play a game of NHL14 on Xbox at Voltage early Wednesday morning. 

Published on January 01, 2014

Travis Parent and Haggai, a two-year-old Peregrine Falcon, spent time at Voltage Tuesday evening as part of the annual New Year's Eve youth party at Hillcrest Apostolic Church. 

Published on January 01, 2014

Confetti was shot into the year as 2013 became 2014 at the stroke of midnight Wednesday at Voltage. 

Voltage draws roughly 600 youth to its annual party

As Kyle Hoffos prepared for the big race, he boasted that he was going to be the champion.

“I signed up to do it and I’m going to win,” Hoffos, a Grade 8 student, told the Times-Herald just before the imaginary green light flashed before he and his fellow competitor’s eyes.

Going up a small incline, turning right around a pew and making another right turn around the far end of the same pew, Hoffos sped down an aisle of the Hillcrest Apostolic Church and across the finish line.

He won. Hoffos won the sumo tricycle racing championship.

Without padded sumo suits, it would only have been a mere tricycle race – in a church sanctuary. The sumo suits added to the uniqueness of the event.

But even before he raced head-to-head against Tristan McCracken, a recent high school graduate, Hoffos took part in a round of sumo tricycle jousting – also against McCracken.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Sumo tricycle jousting was just one of the many activities held between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 6 a.m. Wednesday at Voltage, the province’s biggest New Year’s Eve party for youth.

According to Joe Dueck, event organizer and founder of Joe’s Place, about 600 youth spent at least part of the night at Voltage.

“It’s the most fun place ever,” Hoffos said of Voltage, which he was at for the second time.

McCracken, who lost the sumo tricycle race, said it was his first time at the all night youth extravaganza.

“I heard about it, but I don’t remember where. I’m just here for all the fun.”

Although he lost the tricycle race, McCracken didn’t leave Voltage without a memory.

“My highlight was I did karaoke and sang a Justin Bieber song,” said McCracken. “I don’t usually do it, but it was kind of fun.”

Other activities included musical performances by The Colour, a dance performance by hip-hop dancers Refined Undignified, video game tournaments, archery, oversized chess and Connect 4, the Rivendell Spa and Angry Birds Live.

“We have four catapults that we built in the basement at Joe's Place and we bought some Angry Bird Halloween masks and stuffed them with basketballs,” Dueck said. “So, we bought a bunch of Rubbermaid containers and (the kids) just pounded down castles with launched Angry Birds.”

At 1:30 a.m., Dueck was extremely pleased with how “phenomenal and without a hitch” the party had gone to that point.

According to Dueck, the medieval and fantasy themes of the night were not only enjoyed by the youth, but by the hoard of volunteers.

“I think the kids really enjoyed the costumes,” said Dueck. “Funnier is that the volunteers have loved the costumes.”

He thinks the increase in volunteers – 80 last year and approximately 125 this year – was directly linked to the opportunity to dress up. Many of them donned costumes similar to ones found in The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia.

“There seems to be only one holiday where you can dress up at, so we've added Voltage as this dress up holiday and our volunteers love it,” said Dueck.

With so many volunteers, Dueck noted it was the first time they were able to take a break and have a shift off during the 10 hours of non-stop activities.

Another new thing at this year’s Voltage was more youth staying later into the morning. Dueck said he and his team made an effort to make sure the kids were entertained until 6 a.m.

The Colour performed for a second time at 3:30 a.m. and Refined Undignified showed off their dance moves at 4:30 a.m. 

“There's no time for them to leave Voltage and still go get themselves in trouble,” said Dueck. 

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Times-Herald, Hillcrest Apostolic Church

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