words and photos by Jeff Hawe

High Cascade Snowboard Camp at Mount Hood hosted the Second Annual Drink Water Rat Race on Sunday, July 7th. Austin Smith, Bryan Fox and Drink Water organized the event, which hosted 118 racers. Nerves were high at the top of the start gate as riders eyed up the unruly course. This race has a reputation for being a bit hazardous, as the course is part banked slalom, part obstacle course. As Fox put it, "the course is tricky. We want people to be a bit scared and know they really have to ride this thing well. We warn them." One compound fracture and some broken teeth later, the race was decided. Terje Haakonsen held the fastest time, followed by Temple Cummins, Curtis Ciszek, Blake Paul, and Zak Hale.

The Rat Race is more than a banked slalom with challenging obstacles. In the snowboarding community, it serves a purpose as a gathering of like-minded people. "We love snowboarding and want to get a bunch of people that think the same together to ride and have a good time," said Fox. This seems to be the driving idea behind the event and why it feels like more of a friendly party than a contest. Outside of snowboarding, the Rat Race serves an even greater purpose. One hundred percent of proceeds from the race go to water.org, an organization with the sole mission of providing clean water to developing countries around the world. The first Rat Race raised over eleven thousand dollars, and this year's turnout looked even better. If gathering with a group of great snowboarders at a grassroots event and having lots of fun while raising funds to help people in need sounds good to you, I suggest you check out next year’s Rat Race.