By JAMES EIK
Feats of strength will be put to the test Saturday, Aug. 25 at Spokane International Airport, as teams attempt to pull a Boeing 727 in a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
Special Olympics developmnet manager Jennifer Suniga said around 140 people have alredy registered for the event. Each group of up to 20 people will pull the plane 12 feet.
The aircraft weights 138,400 pounds.
Excitement is building around the event, and will likely see more registrations trickling in by Saturday morning.
“There hasn't been anything of its kind yet,” Suniga said.
The 727 is a former FedEx aircraft, which is being donated to the event by the airport. It was purchased by the airport a few months ago. Potential plans for the plane include law enforcement and fire training, among other uses.
“They were already in the processes of acquiring the aircraft to use on site,” Suniga said.
The airport, she said, has been fully behind the plane pull event from its inception, with airport director Larry Krauter being involved in a similar event prior to his arrival in Spokane. Should it end up being a success, it will become one of the Special Olympics' annual events in Eastern Washington.
Suniga said future years could have a separate plane pull just for kids, with a smaller aircraft, and other events throughout the day.
“In our discussions with the international airport, the whole idea of the future is to make it like a festival, an entire day; expanding the plane pull to have a smaller plane do a kids pull,” Suniga said.
But, the event, while incorporating a great amount of fun, has a somewhat competitive element attached to it.
“It's a timed event, so they're competing against the other teams,” she said.
There is a registration fee of $30 for individuals seeking to put their strength to the test. Additional donations are accepted.
Since this is the first event of its kind in the region's history for the Special Olympics, there isn't a specific fundraising goal set. However, Suniga said it has already raised around $7,000. Proceeds collected from the event go right into the Special Olympics Washington programs, specifically to benefit athletes and events held in the Spokane area.
Participants and those interested in watching can take the Geiger Boulevard I-90 exit, No. 276, and continue straight on West Flightline Boulevard. Special Olympics signage will provide additional directions to park for the event.
For more information, or to register for the plane pull, visit http://planepull2012.kintera.org.
James Eik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.