Flin Flon flag flies over Thompson city hall after online sled vote bet

Pay up, suckers – the City of Flin Flon collected after winning a recent bet with the City of Thompson over an online snowmobiling vote.

A Flin Flon flag, bearing the Water and the Wild logo and terminology, is now flying over Thompson’s city hall following the results of the final round of SnoRiders’ Sledtown Showdown, an annual vote to determine the best snowmobiling territory in Manitoba.

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Flin Flon and Thompson were pitted against each other in the Manitoba final, with both communities’ city councils placing a wager on the results – the losing community would need to fly the winner’s flag. After roughly a week and a half of voting, Flin Flon triumphed, winning 4,786 votes to Thompson’s 4,111. The win sent Flin Flon into a western Canada-wide second ballot and forced Thompson’s hand.

City councillors in Flin Flon were pleased with the results, discussing the poll at their Feb. 4 meeting.

“We’re excited to say Flin Flon won the Sledtown Showdown challenge,” councillor Karen MacKinnon said on behalf of the council.

“The one thing I wasn’t clear about when we made the wager – how many years does it have to fly there?” joked Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley.

The Flin Flon flag, which was raised Feb. 7, will stay flying for a week.

While there was some concern whether or not a Flin Flon representative would be on hand to bring a Flin Flon flag north, a capable transporter came in the form of Rotary exchange student Sean Vansweevelt and the Hapnot Collegiate curling team. The group, who were on their way to Thompson for zone competition, brought the flag to Thompson, where they and a group of officials presented and raised the flag.

“While it’s a victory for Flin Flon, it’s a victory for the entirety of northern Manitoba,” said Vansweevelt at the ceremony. The flag raising was livestreamed by the City of Thompson on their official Facebook page.

“It’s a victory for the whole north. It was very great to see four northern communities finish off for the Manitoba vote,” said Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook, who personally raised the flag. In addition to Thompson and Flin Flon, Snow Lake and The Pas also made it to the competition’s semifinal round, making the final two rounds of the competition exclusively northern.

“Some of my friends were too busy snowmobiling to vote,” Smook joked.

Smook also urged Thompson residents and northerners to get behind Flin Flon as the competition advances. Voters have taken her advice to heart so far – as of Feb. 10, Flin Flon led their opponents, Hudson Bay, Sask., 1,989 votes to 1,688.

The winner of the poll will go on to face the winner of another poll between McBride, B.C. and Edson, Alta. Edson led on Feb. 10 in a narrow race – 1,990 votes to 1,943 for McBride.

Flin Flon reached the final round in last year’s poll, losing narrowly to the community of Tumbler Ridge, B.C. The winner of the annual contest is presented with a trophy and will be subject to a series of articles in SnoRiders over the coming year.

Huntley said he would issue a similar challenge to Hudson Bay mayor Glenn McCaffery regarding municipal flags. It is unknown if McCaffery or the Town of Hudson Bay has responded to the challenge.

Votes can be cast at snoriderswest.ca. The current round of voting ends Feb. 16.



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