Tons of trash cleaned up

The first-ever Gambler 500 car rally to clean up the back country was a success this weekend in Penticton. 

Around 350 people in 157 cars came out for the two-day event, completing a 500-kilometre GPS challenge along public roads in the back country in the South Okanagan, cleaning up any trash they found along the way.

The cars started arriving at the end point, the Penticton Speedway, mid-afternoon Sunday. 

"Overall I think we collected about 10 cubic yards of trash," said co-organizer Mike Conklin, adding that disposal fees for the trash had been waived at the dump.

The teams celebrated their success with a series of awards, including one for best car decorations, which went to the Batman-themed vehicle. 

On Saturday night, many of the teams had camped out together in Coalmont, near Princeton. Conklin was proud of their behaviour at the campground.

"Everyone was really well behaved," Conklin said. "We didn't even fill one garbage bag with things left behind. Our goal was, of course, to take more out than we leave behind."

Conklin also mentioned as a highlight positive feedback from the owners of the Trading Post in Tulameen, who offered food and drinks to the teams passing through the area. 

He hopes to see the event come back next year, and anticipates based on its popularity that it will only continue to grow.

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