The Garter Snakes at Inwood could not slither past the Lundar Goose in Travel Manitoba’s content. (File photo)
Flin Flon’s Flintabbatey Flonatin has emerged from the mines as Manitoba’s most beloved roadside attraction in Travel Manitoba’s inaugural ‘Roadside Madness’ contest.
But it was close, as the statue of the fictional character barely beat out Glenboro’s Sara the Camel in the final tally.
“I was kind of hoping for the camel because she was such a Cinderella story,” Travel Manitoba’s social media specialist Kirsten Neil said March 29. “She beat out the heavyweights, like (Gladstone’s) Happy Rock, (Churchill’s) polar bear and (Boissevain’s) Tommy the Turtle.
“But I think Flin Flon’s won because he’s so well-known and a Canadian vignette.”
The contest was the brainstorm of Neil and a co-worker, and was modelled after the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. The number of rural statues were pared to 32 and then divided into four brackets. More than 50,000 votes were cast.
“It was a lot of fun to see people get behind their own attractions and talk about what they meant to them and their towns,” Neil said. “There was also some trash-talking. My favourite was on Twitter when a guy was asking how (Onanole’s) elk could possibly be losing to a camel.
“The biggest surprise came when Selkirk’s (Chuck the) Catfish lost so soon (to the elk). But I was overwhelmed with how much traction it got. As the week went on, it got bigger and bigger even as there were fewer attractions to vote on. I thought people would drop out once their own was knocked out.”
The response to Manitoba’s own Madness was unexpected, to the point where it was debated on Facebook and in local media.
“We’re shocked at how popular it got,” Neil said. “It was so quirky and so funny. It was a lot of fun.”
Besides Chuck getting eliminated in the opening round, most of the other Interlake challengers did not get far. Only two of the seven entries made it to the quarter finals. After the Canada Goose (Lundar) flew past Interlake rival Garter Snakes (Inwood), its wings were clipped by the Polar Bear (Churchill). The Viking (Gimli) drove Gilbert the Golfer (Gilbert Plains) out in the first round, but was arrested by the Mountie (Emerson) in its next match-up. In other head-to-heads:
• The Curling Rock (Arborg) was taken out by the Smoking Pipe (St. Claude)
• The Whispering Giant (Winnipeg Beach) was silenced by the Beaver (Dauphin)
• The Mushrooms (Meleb) were cooked by the Crocuses (Arden).
-with files from Glen Hallick, Interlake Publishing