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Kinship hosts an 'Amazing Chase'

"Check the tires!" detainee Allison Spahn directed brother-in-law Karl Carlson. She was not referring to air pressure... (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)1 / 3
Coborn's engaged Jaiden McCollum, left, and Kennedy Carlson on a mad shopping spree. J&B challenged the Chasers to make, and walk with, a Jell-O box pyramid. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)2 / 3
Strike! Steph Carlson sends the ball down Lori Lea Lanes, one of the 10 stops on the challenge. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)3 / 3

The perfect storm descended on Park Rapids Saturday.

A high-pressure front - a bodacious, creative cast of Kinship supporters - met an energetic cadre of wily contestants.

A tsunami of fun ensued.

Eleven teams entered Kinship's first Amazing Chase, with merchants, law enforcement, firefighters and a church donning thinking caps to engage the teams in madcap shenanigans.

The Amazing Chase began and ended at Heartland Park, Kinship culminating the event with a final challenge and picnic in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the program matching mentors with kids.

Each team, comprised of four to six people, headed out to meet timed "challenges."

"Who'd have thought a Coin Caper had something to do with worms?" Allison Spahn said, grimacing as she washed her hands.

She and her Kindness Matters teammates - Karl, Stephanie, Kaleb, and Kennedy Carlson and Jaiden McCollum - began with a bowling challenge at Lori Lea Lanes, scoring points with combinations of strikes and/or spares.

They moved on to the now-infamous Delaney's where two teams of two were asked to choose a card - Robin Hood or Coin Caper.

Robin Hood, as might be surmised, required bow and arrow accuracy. But the Coin Caper sent fingers into a bucket of night crawlers in search of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters - a stash that had to add up to $1.62.

Then it was off to Park Ace where they were challenged to a nuts and bolts "match." Just when the team of four thought they'd matched all the nuts with bolts, Brad Dahn rolled out another can of miniscule fasteners - with the clock ticking.

Coborn's grocery list proved to be a challenge on a grand scale, with obscure items aplenty.

At Citizens National Bank the team competed at three timed stations, including matching famous faces to currency, Ulysses S. Grant causing some consternation.

Then it was a dash across the boulevard, where Sheriff Cory Aukes ordered four of the ruffians to don orange inmate attire and handcuffs, with three to enter the squad car.

Inside, they were directed to find the handcuff key. After a few moments of scrounging, they discovered its whereabouts, de-cuffed themselves and sent it out to their fellow criminal, who disengaged his manacles.

But the hoodlums were to remain in the car until their partner in crime found the key to the car (hidden atop a wheel).

"Look on top of the tires!" proved to be good advice for Spahn's brother-in-law, Karl Carlson.

Then it was off to NorthStar Orthodontics where a "boxing match" ensued. Karl Carlson and Spahn assembled 55 boxes in a seven-minute period, missing the course record (up to that point) by a box.

Cindy Kelly, "quality control monitor," noted NorthStar sends out, on average, 350 boxes per day.

An "agility test" at the fire hall proved to be a team effort, choreographed expertly at 1.49 minutes.

Then it was off to J&B, where "sound minds and steady hands" were required to create a pyramid of Jell-o boxes (in a defined order), carry them via tray and set them down - gingerly.

"Bend your knees!" Steph directed her sister as she lowered them - with a minor quake. The gelatin gals earned a first for their efforts.

Calvary Lutheran sent competitors on a hike and a bike around the block, with stipulations.

Teams then headed to Heartland Park, where the Kinship board had concocted a dastardly finale.

Fab Four Kids earned first place and $500, the team comprised Tanya Peterson and Karla Peterson Mueller, along with Tom Mueller and Ross Terman, all of Rochester.

Paul Bicke's team won the bonus prize of $500. Each $50 raised over the minimum $250 sent the team name in a hat for the drawing.

Meanwhile, despite earning top dog honors in many of the events, Kindness Matters claimed third overall, faltering a bit in the finals.

Kinship director Jennifer Therkilsen reports the event grossed almost $6,000 and resounding agreement among the teams:

"That was fun!"

"We're doing this next year!"