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Upper James bar sings into first place

Annual bar challenge hoping to raise $20,000 to help children read

 By Mark Newman, News Staff

With local radio celebrities Sunni Genesco and Matt Hayes lending a hand and their voices, Tracie’s Place has grabbed an early lead in the fourth annual Mountain Bar Challenge.

The karaoke bar on Upper James raised $1,894.35 over two hours last Friday night with proceeds going to support the tutoring program at Neighbour to Neighbour Centre.

“We raised $300 per song,” beamed bar owner and karaoke enthusiast Tracie Rowe-Huskins, who even had a couple of patrons inquire about becoming volunteer tutors. “It’s an incredible start.”

She noted Sunni and Hayes teamed on I Got You Babe and Love Shack.

Rowe-Huskins said she struggled with reading as a child and didn’t hesitate to participate when she learned about the bar challenge to support literacy.

Deban Brunette, coordinator of the free tutoring program that is helping youngsters in grades 1-3 at 12 Mountain elementary schools with their reading and comprehension skills, said a record 10 bars are taking part this year with the goal of raising $20,000 by the time the challenge ends on July 31st.

The bar that raises the most money gets bragging rights and a plaque donated by central Mountain councillor Scott Duvall.

“I think the (campaign goal) is very doable,” said Brunette, who noted the tutoring program is about to wrap up its ninth year of service. “We have over 200 kids in the program and 100 volunteers.”

The other participants this year are former bar challenge winners Cagney’s Pub and the Wobbly Scotsman, along with Boomer’s, Bottom’s Up Bar and Grill, Ace Family Restaurant, Frankie’s Bar and Grill, Jack’s Roadhouse, Rumak Eatery and Bar and Stone Roads Bar and Grill.

Brunette said the bars are running a variety of fundraising activities including karaoke, 50/50 draws, meat draws, golf tournaments and baseball games.

She noted about 1,400 children have used the tutoring program since it began and the bar challenge has raised nearly $40,000 in the last three years.

It costs Neighbour to Neighbour Centre about $7,000 per school to run the tutoring program.

 

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