It takes a lot of grit for any motorsport club to get off the ground and keep running. In Brandon, Manitoba, the Westman ATV Association is starting to hit its stride. The club was started several years ago and has since become an established group of core members who are pretty dedicated to the pastime. Now, with a new president and some defined goals, Brandon and its surrounding area are about to benefit from some solid positive initiatives in recreational quadding.
Con Huberdeau was appointed president of the Westman ATV Association (WATVA) early in 2013. He has discovered a love for quadding over the last several years and is now excited to help it become increasingly established in his community.
“Our club is really sort of coming of age right now,” said Huberdeau. “Up until now we’ve been just a bunch of guys who get together and ride and I really wanted to see things move towards an official club. We’ve had some really cool things that have happened in the last six months and things are really changing so I think people are pretty happy about that.”
Good thing going on
The WATVA will be broadening its focus to include more than just fun riding, although there will always be plenty of that. Huberdeau mentioned the association's strong emphasis on safety and its desire to become more involved in protecting the area's riding environments. Members would like to be able to develop and maintain a trail network eventually and are currently helping the community become aware of the ATV association.
“We’ve actually got some pretty good objectives,” said Huberdeau. “Our main one is to become a credible and contributing member of our society, rather than being those guys who dash out into the wilderness and destroy everything. We are planning some fairly large-scale events and we are getting involved with a local charity here that we’re going to be fundraising for.”
Being in an agricultural area, the Westman ATV Association faces challenges in establishing riding areas. Also, although there are many ATVers in the community, many people haven’t realized the recreational potential of the machines. Indeed, Manitoba has considerably more registered ATVs than it does snowmobiles. The WATVA is hoping to be able to reach a wider base through promoting riding for families and others that could be interested. It has also purchased an aluminum ATV trailer that is now available to members.
Holding events is another advantage that ATV clubs can offer. Huberdeau pointed out that derbies and mud bogs are kind of a big deal in Manitoba. As a club, the WATVA will often travel far afield to attend great events hosted by other quad groups. Members are especially excited, however, about a growing event that will be hosted in a local campground for the first time in September this year.
“We build a mud pit that’s almost a motocross-style obstacle course with little jumps and logs to climb over,” said Huberdeau. “It’s kind of a race event and it’s tons of fun. We probably drew close to 500 people to our small event last year and this year we’re really going to push it. The quadding community in Manitoba—they really love their mud (laughs). We had a huge presence—lots of money, lots of big tires, lots of ego—and that’s what people want to see. It was very entertaining.”
All the excitement aside, Huberdeau says that quadders are the best group of people. His ATVing community literally rides throughout the year. Overall, he is glad to be working with a great group of people promoting a sport he loves.