Rotarians reflect on Dowagiac’s Amazing Race

Published 9:28 am Friday, July 24, 2015

Despite the fact his team came up just short of the trophy last Saturday, Mark Herman is already feeling confident that he and his fellow Dowagiac Rotarians will walk away with the top prize at next year’s Dowagiac Amazing Race.

The team, comprised of Herman, Matt Cripe, Richard Behnke and Sandra Bessey, took second place during the inaugural race around the city, losing to a team fielded by Chi Ishobak, a financial institution with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.

“Chi Ishobak is a client of mine,” said Herman, an attorney with Magyar Law Office. “[Member Sean Winters] came in to sign some paperwork Monday morning and I told him, ‘don’t get too comfortable with that trophy now. It’s coming to Rotary when we’re done.’”

While the Rotarian racers failed to win the top prize that weekend, they did receive the honor of serving as the featured program of Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club. The members of the team that were present that after described some of the challenges they had to overcome while participating in the event, which ran in conjunction with the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce’s Summer in the City Festival last weekend.

Like the other teams participating in the race, the quartet of Rotarians were tasked with completing a series of 12 challenges set hosted at businesses, parks and other locations throughout the greater Dowagiac area. These challenges ranged from physical activities like climbing monkey bars at the Russom Park playground to more cerebral ones, like answering a series of 10 questions at the Dowagiac Area History Museum, Herman said.

“There was an equal contribution from the four members of our team,” Behnke said. “Everybody gave equal amounts. There was no star, so to speak.”

Team Rotary finished the race, which began at 11 a.m., at around 2:15 p.m., Herman said. They also had the distinction of being the only team that managed to complete all 12 challenges successfully, he said.

Herman praised fellow Rotarian and Chamber of Commerce Board Member Joe Silvia for chairing the committee that put the Amazing Race together, and hopes to see increase participation from local businesses in the races to come, he said.

“If we get more people going to businesses, that will bring more people in,” Herman said.