November 2009

Friendly fire in Fort McMurray

CIM and APEGGA join forces in student draw

By C. West


Herman Huang gears up for a day of fun.

The CIM Oils Sands Branch, in conjunction with the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA), hosted their first student paintball and barbeque last August. Twenty-two students braved threatening clouds — and perhaps the after-effects of their final Friday night in Fort McMurray — to come out for an afternoon of paintball.

Students met for the event at Thunder Ridge Paintball, north of boomtown, where they were geared up with the appropriate personal protective equipment, a paintball gun and an initial supply of paintballs. They were divided into two teams by the Thunder Ridge staff who then led them through the woods for a series of thrilling games.

Within the hour, smiling students were streaming back for additional paintballs with which to settle a score or two on the field. By the end of the three-hour game, they poured out of the woods covered from head to toe in mud, laughing and regaling each other with “war” stories.

With rain clouds threatening to wash out the afternoon barbeque, plans were replaced with a quick order of pizza. Between mouthfuls, energetic students reflected on the thrills of their battles.

In an effort to ensure student participation, the branch and APEGGA both subsidized student participation costs. Special thanks are extended to Suncor, who sponsored the registration fee of students within their company. These joint efforts generated substantial student participation from the production sites surrounding Fort McMurray.

Christian West is chairman of the CIM Oil Sands Branch.

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