Pi Kappa Alpha hosts first-annual fire truck pull

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By Kimberly Wethal

Oct. 28, 2015

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Members of Pi Kappa Alpha work together to pull the fire truck across the Center of the Arts parking lot. Pi Kappa Alpha sponsored the fire truck pull and all proceeds went to the Whitewater Fire Department and blood cancer research. Photo by Amber Levenhagen.

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Sophomore Matt Yontz pulls at the end of the rope attached to the truck for the Pikes’ team during the fundraiser event. Photo by Amber Levenhagen.

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Senior Wes Vance looks on at the event near the middle of the day. Photo by Amber Levenhagen.

It’s like tug-of-war, but instead of two evenly distributed teams, it was eight people versus a fire truck.

That’s how fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha ( Pikes) External Vice President Wes Vance described the  first-annual fire truck pull that took place last 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct.25  in the parking lot of the Greenhill Center of the Arts.

“I’m just excited to get everybody on campus and in the community involved,” Vance said. “I hope it’s a beautiful day to get everyone in one spot, play some music, pull a truck, have a good time.”

Approximately 100 people showed up, and the fundraiser is being considered a success, said Vance, after it profited $800 after initial expenses.

The majority of the competitors arrived early in the fundraiser, which benefited blood cancer research through the Taylor Trudeau Cycle for Life, the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Alpha, and the Whitewater Fire Department, which currently staffs Pikes Carl Strait and alumni Josh Leverenz as firefighters.

“Because of our two brothers on the fire department, we wanted to help them out,” Vance said. “We wanted to give them a little kick-back for letting us use the truck and helping us out.”

For the teams of eight, the goal was to pull a fire truck 25 feet in the shortest time possible. A team comprised of the fire chief’s son and his friends won the event, Vance said, pulling the truck in 14.2 seconds, one second faster than the second-place team.

Each member of the winning team received a $25 gift card for a restaurant in the Whitewater area.

The fire truck pull, which has been in the works since the summer months, was a suggestion from the Cycle for Life fundraiser, since there’s not a facility big enough on UW-Whitewater’s campus to hold the charity’s preferred fundraiser.

The fire truck pull also replaces their old fundraiser Pike Spike, a round-robin volleyball tournament. While it was fun, Vance said, it didn’t bring in a lot of funds for their philanthropy.

Other chapters around the country have done similar fundraisers – part of the concept of the event also came from a chapter in Louisville who held a variation of the fire truck pull a few weeks earlier, Pike member Tyler Sasse said.

The goal of the fire truck pull was $2,000, but anything over $1,000 would meet the chapter’s minimum goal and be considered a success, Vance said. The cost of the event was $15 for the t-shirt, but pulling the truck was free.

The community support for the event started within the Greek family, as the Pikes reached out to other fraternities and sororities to begin with donated funds and put together teams for the event. From there, they reached out to other campus organizations and put together a “pretty popular” Facebook event, Sasse said, to build as much community outreach and support as they could.

“I’m just so excited that so many different people from different groups and organizations … all want to get teams together,” Sasse said. “It’s going to be great having everyone out.”