In the lead up to this year’s Challenge Penticton triathlon, one of the most talked about items wasn’t the race or who was competing, but a mistake made on promotional banners.
Large banners placed around the city promoted the race as “Challenge Pentiction” — in some cases the extra “i” was covered up with red marker, and in others a circular Challenge logo was used to cover the mistake.
“It’s actually an autocorrect mistake we didn’t catch,” said Michael Brown, a co-owner of the race, along with Kevin Cutjar. He explained they contracted for the banners with a southeast Asia supplier, Quidy Apparel, that is a regular Challenge Family contractor, and has appropriate templates for banners and other materials.
“It’s a Challenge Family global partner that does a lot of printing for them. It’s a template that they would just change the name of the city in,” said Brown, who admitted the mistake was made on both sides.
“It’s a 50/50 mistake. They sent it to us, and I didn’t recognize it when it came through,” Brown said. “It is unfortunate, but it is one of those things that happens sometimes.”
The mistake, however, raised concerns among residents who shared the pictures on social media of the misprinted banners that were out on display before they were caught. The concerns include whether Challenge Penticton is investing in the community.
When the City of Penticton purchased the Challenge Family license in 2012, leaving a 30-year relationship with Ironman, one of the selling points was that the community, through the local race society, now controlled purchasing. Dan Ashton, who was mayor of Penticton at the time, said it was the intent of the society to engage local merchants and local suppliers.
“It is only because of an error that it has become quite the talking point,” said Jason Cox, president of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.
“It uncovered the fact the work was not done locally. As the largest business advocate in the community, it is not something we are excited about,” continued Cox. “The event is so well supported by local athletes, by local volunteers, by the local business community in terms of sponsorship, to go overseas to save a few dollars for the banners and materials seems to have not worked out well.”
Brown said they looked at local suppliers, and in many cases that was who ended up getting the work for their promotional material and other items.
“Sherwood Signs is a big supporter of the race and they did 90 per cent of our signage,” said Brown, who also noted they hired local staff, used the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre for all their catering, used Westminster Rentals and Moduloc Fencing for site setup, along with contracts to other local businesses.
“Kevin and I are trying to stay financially viable and sometimes you have to make hard decisions on that, to either be able to put on a race or not. We decided we needed to make sure we put on a race. With that, some stuff had to get outsourced but we tried to do the majority of our stuff locally,” said Brown, who doesn’t want the spelling mistake to take attention away from the race.
“The event is what matters and the event was amazing. I just think it was an unfortunate printing error, it was a small amount of stuff we got from this company,” Brown said.
Cox said he remains positive and supportive of the race, but is concerned about not using local suppliers.
“The event is so well supported by the community, I think that where you can have something done locally, it should be done,” said Cox. “I really do support it and don’t want to come across as the chamber slamming Challenge for making one mistake.”