Raiders reign supreme

DDSS makes it 10 in a row at Young Canada Day

For the 10th year in a row, Delhi District Secondary School prevailed as the overall points winner during the annual Young Canada Day celebration at the Norfolk County Fair this week. The Raiders adopted a Disney theme for their section of the Lloyd S. Culver Memorial Grandstand Tuesday. MONTE SONNENBERG / Simcoe Reformer

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Local high schools are wondering what they have to do to knock Delhi District Secondary School off its perch at the Norfolk County Fair.

For the 10th consecutive year, the Raiders came away as the top high school during Tuesday’s Young Canada Day celebration at the Lloyd S. Culver Memorial Grandstand.

“It’s amazing,” said tug-of-war coach Robin Sallewsky. “They are amazing kids we have. We were told Thursday we could not attend the fair because of no staff.

“But we stuck with it. That gave the kids ownership of it. That showed Raider integrity. Blue-and-gold proud  — it was something to witness.”

Sallewsky was referring to the cancellation of school field trips by the Grand Erie District School Board due to a possible province-wide strike by the union representing education support workers. On Friday, GEDSB had a change of heart, announcing all field trips and school participation related to Young Canada Day would proceed.

The Raiders demonstrated Tuesday that slow and steady wins the race at the Norfolk County Fair.

Neither of the Raiders’ tug-of-war teams won in the boys and girls division. However, two second-place finishes gave them the highest overall score and the Norfolk tug-of-war title.

Delhi’s cheerleaders also finished out of the running behind the Holy Trinity Titans, Simcoe Sabres and the winners from Waterford District High School. But they amassed enough points to contribute to the bottom line.

Delhi placed second behind Valley Heights in the special effects competition, which is based on the level of school spirit in the grandstand.

Fiona Joynes of Simcoe Composite School crosses the finish line to win the girls secondary school road race on Tuesday at the Norfolk County Fair in Simcoe. Brian Thompson / The Expositor

As for the senior boys and girls road races, Delhi placed third behind Simcoe Composite School and the winners from Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

Raider consistency is also on display at this year’s fair in the Homecraft building. There, DDSS aided its cause with a second-place finish behind Valley Heights.

While the Raiders celebrated their collective achievement, individual teams and participants savoured memories that will last a lifetime.

The Holy Trinity girls won an epic tug-of-war battle over Delhi to take home the banner in their division. The third pull in the best-of-three final lasted 46 seconds. All concerned were bloodied and beat up afterward.

“My hands are a little sore, for sure,” said Titans anchor Kyra Csoff. “But it was worth it. We beat Delhi.”

For his part, Bears anchor Caleb Pype says there is truth to the old saw that the boys of Valley Heights train all summer on the farms of Walsingham for the Young Canada Day tug-of-war competition. That’s why they consistently put in such a strong showing.

“It definitely helps,” Pype said.

In the Waterford Wolves section of the grandstand, students were thrilled to see their cheerleaders take the first-place pennant. Given than Waterford District High School has had trouble in recent years fielding a squad, the win was especially sweet.

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” said captain Maddy Bard. “We put in a lot of hours and really came together as a team.”

Local elementary students get a taste of what’s to come at the Norfolk County Fair through their participation in the junior boys and girls road races. Placing first in their respective divisions were Alexander Jacobs and Charli Thornewell, both Grade 8 students at Lakewood Elementary School in Port Dover.

Near the end of Tuesday morning’s festivities, the assembled throng took a moment to honour George Pond of Simcoe on the occasion of his 50th anniversary as the inaugural announcer for Young Canada events. It started with a boys’ tug-of-war competition and evolved to include the cheerleading competition and road races we see today.

With son Dave Pond leading the

Luke Thomas of Valley Heights Secondary School in Langton grimaces as he helps his team win the tug o’ war title on the opening day Tuesday of the Norfolk County Fair in Simcoe. The fair continues through Thanksgiving Monday. Brian Thompson / The Expositor

crowd, the students spelled G-E-O-R-G-E cheerleader style and then yelled loudly as Pond the elder waved from the centre of the track.

Fair board president Debbie Morrison acknowledged the same during the official opening of the fair in the Simcoe Recreation Centre Tuesday afternoon, an event George Pond has emceed for nearly 30 years.

“He gets the fountain of youth from Young Canada Day,” Morrison said. “Just look at him. He’s doing an amazing job.”

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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