Raising a total of $19,350, an unorthodox breast cancer research fundraiser entitled “Layin' pipe in the fight” was a surprising success for its organizers.
Held Saturday in a field just west of Pinewood, the event featured a barbecue, penny table, and a chance for people to watch specially-made pink drainage tile being placed in the ground.
It was a collaboration between local grain producers Brielmann Ag, drainage specialists Tait Bros. Contracting, and Prinsco Canada (the makers of the drainage pipe).
The six rolls of pink weeping tile were donated by Prinsco Canada and had been sitting along Highway 11 for a few weeks leading up to the event.
The roughly 10 acres of tile-laying work Saturday was donated by Tait Bros. Contracting, which is based out of southern Ontario but has been doing large amounts of tile work in the district for the past few years.
The cost of the tile and labour was matched as a donation by Brielmann Ag, which was added to a few big donations from local businesses and made a sizeable sum even before the event began.
“Our goal was $18,000 and this morning we had just over $15,000,” Timo Brielmann noted Saturday.
The idea began two years ago when Brielmann and Jesse Tait flew to Fargo, N.D. to see the plant where Prinsco manufactures the weeping tile.
“We saw them putting plastic pieces in and melting them down," Brielmann recalled. "They would then colour it with black dye, so we asked if they could make some pink pipe.”
He said they had been thinking about a fundraiser ever since after the company claimed it could make any colour of pipe.
This year, Brielmann said they had the time to run the event.
“We sent out the e-mail and then thought, 'Oh wow, we're doing this,' and it came together pretty quick,” he noted.
During Saturday's event, those on hand could grab some food, watch the chisel plow place the tile, and take part in the various draws and penny table.
“People like penny tables so we thought it would give them something to do instead of just watching the guys work,” Brielmann remarked, adding every item was donated.
“Also, if there is free food, people usually come by for lunch and check it out,” he laughed.
Brielmann said the food was provided by the organizers and would not be taken out of the donated funds, ensuring all the money raised went to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
“We wanted to give back because we do get the grants for all the tiling, and we make a mess of things and rip trees out,” he admitted.
“We just wanted to show people that this is what tiling is about and try to give back to the community,” he explained.
Jesse Tait said he's aware people notice the tile work being done in the area, especially when fields have the large rolls of pipe sitting in them waiting to be placed.
“We thought the pink tile would grab peoples' attention because it is really noticeable,” he remarked.
“And it's funny seeing the big guy in pink," Brielmann joked, referring to the "Layin' pipe in the fight” T-shirt Tait was wearing.
Tait added he was really happy with the turnout, especially because he wasn't sure how well the event would run or how many people would show up.
“We were happy just giving back, but people came out and I think they had a good time,” he said.
Both Brielmann and Tait said they've thought about doing this again in the future, but perhaps for a different cause—and with a different colour of pipe.
“We thought maybe next year we'd do blue tile for prostate cancer, but we don't know yet,” Brielmann said.
"We'll have to see.
“I think that we can do it again because it's good for the community and it worked out pretty well,” echoed Tait.
“It was a little outside the box,” he conceded.
“You hardly see the correlation between drainage and cancer research, but it was a nice fundraiser.”
Guests also were able to sign their names on the pipe or write down their stories.
Brielmann noted one woman, in particular, was very pleased by the idea.
“There was one lady who was really happy that she could do that and was taking pictures because it is almost like a time capsule,” he explained.
“Or it's like burying it and burying your problems,” offered Tait.
The two also thanked everyone who made donations, offered prizes, or otherwise helped make Saturday's event a success.
“Everyone who pitched in from the community was fantastic,” Tait enthused.
“The people were awesome.”