The skull and crossbones flag flies on Powell Beach at the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Kelm wins Okanagan Ogopogo tubbing championship

Robbie Kelm edged out Dr. Lloyd Westby to take the Great Ogopogo Bathtub race title

Coming down to the wire, only seconds separated tubs one and two. But in the end, it was Great Estates’ Robbie Kelm emerging victorious.

Kelm and Dr. Lloyd Westby, in the Penticton Regional Hospital tub, battled it out in the final of the A division in the fifth Summerland Yacht Club Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race, Saturday at Powell Beach Park in Trout Creek.

“The conditions were great compared to last year,” said Kelm after the race. “The biggest things is your legs start falling asleep with how you’re crouching and stuff. Hundred per cent we’ll be back next year, it was a blast.”

READ MORE: Tubbers revving up for fifth annual Okanagan Great Ogogogo Bathtub Race

Runner up Westby added: “It was really fun to have a couple boats really neck-and-neck, but I didn’t quite get the fine-tuning done as I would have liked.

“It’s kind of painful. It really is rough, even on a day like today, a flat day, it still jostles you a lot.”

This year was far better than the 2018 event where many of the tubs, including the doctor’s, overturned in the windy, and very smoky conditions.

This was the final event of a five-year fundraising program for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, which is hoping to reach $120,000.

READ MORE: Ogopogo Bathtub Race finishes despite worsening weather

At this stage, according to Jim Cavin of the Summerland Yacht Club, which organizes the event, it hasn’t been decided if the races will continue.

There are thoughts about possibly combining it with another summer event.

The Great Estates tub has won at least three of the A event races in the five years including 2018.

B champ this time around was Brian Bolding of Peachland, his second victory in four tries.

“Controlling the boat, that’s the whole thing,” he said after running up and ringing the finishing bell on the beach.

The total amount raised is still being tabulated.



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Kyle Johnson (foreground) and Dr. Lloyd Westby prepare to head out onto the course. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Spectators watch as the A division racers prepare for the start of the race. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Robbie Kelm reaches for the finish bell and was the eventual winner of the A division of the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race Saturday at Powell Beach Park. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Seth Krick leads Kyle Johnson coming into the turn. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Keenan O’Blenis get some air in the Summerland Dental Centre tub. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Keenan O’Blenis reaches for the bell at the finish. (Mark Brett - Western News)

SPLASH AND DASH— Dr. Lloyd Westby hoofs it up the beach ahead of Robbie Kelm in the first heat of the Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race Saturday. Kelm won the championship race just seconds ahead of Westby. See page 10 for more on the event. (Mark Brett - Western News)

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