Fundraiser fills a grain field with combines

Two out of three ain’t bad, they say.

Therefore, 303 out of 306 is very, very good.

On Aug. 4, 306 combines lined up to harvest a field of winter wheat near Winkler, Man. Of those, 303 made it across the field and set a new Guinness World Record for most combines harvesting a field simultaneously.

About 14,000 spectators watched as the 303 combines rolled across the field south of Winkler, and thousands more followed the event online.

People from about 50 countries watched a live stream of the combining world record on the website of Harvest for Kids, an initiative of Children’s Camps International.

The 303 farmers who helped set the new record came mostly from Manitoba, but there were also participants from North Dakota.

The new record would have been marginally higher, except one combine had electrical issues and two others had undiagnosed problems.

The Guinness record breaks the old one of 244, set in 2012 by Harvest for Kids in Dalmeny, Sask.

Dave Thiessen, Harvest for Kids national director, isn’t sure if Children’s Camps International will try to top 303 combines in the future. After 18 months of organizing, he’s just grateful for all the volunteers who helped with the massive event.

“A huge shout out to all the volunteers in southern Manitoba,” he said.

“All the people involved … serving hot dogs and hamburgers, to cleaning up in the field and field set up.”

Children’s Camps International is an evangelical organization based in Winkler that works with churches in countries such as India, Cambodia, Kenya and Mexico to send kids to camp.

“It’s very much like a day camp. The kids will come for day, go home at night, and come back again,” said Thiessen.

The day camps are a venue for recreation, fun and games, but also for sharing the benefits of a relationship with Christ. The camps are in the poorer regions of the world, so the cost is only $5 per child.

Children’s Camps International uses the combining world record to build awareness and raise funds for its charity work.

Right now, the organization helps send about 200,000 kids to camp annually. It hopes to raise enough money to send one million kids to camp. Children’s Camps International doesn’t cover the entire cost of the camp. Instead, it provides a financial “jump start” to churches that want to start such a program.

“Our goal is to help the churches get it going and running the program, then us getting out of the way,” Thiessen said.

“We don’t think it’s healthy to fund it all for them.”

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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