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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

The Fastest Lad In Vermilion

During The Great Depression, Sports Days were extremely popular. These were the days when times were tough and any break from dealing with droughts, dust storms and unemployment was welcomed.

As a result, nearly everyone in the community and the surrounding area came out to see a young man race on June 6, 1931.

It was on that day that Jimmy Howlett took part in the annual race organized by the Vermilion Amateur Athletic Association. For the event, over 1,500 people came out to see him race for the Morrison Three-Mile Road Race Cup.

The race was eagerly greeted by the crowd and was called the best race held in the area in years. In all, there were six people running from the area, and the pace was grueling. Everyone was able to keep pace until the last lap when the two front-runners took off with speed.

Jimmie Howlett pushed fellow racer Howlett Larcombe to run his fastest. Unfortunately, Larcombe pushed himself too hard in that and ended up collapsing within 50 feet of the tape. Howlett was able to win and beat out the record set by Bruce Gibbons years earlier. Howlett was one minute faster than Gibbons was in his race.

Howlett’s final time was 17 minutes 15 seconds to complete the race.

Also held that day were a number of junior and senior baseball tournaments featuring 31 teams. Clandonald took first place, while Vegreville finished second and Lloydminster finished third. In the junior event, Manville won and Vermillion took second.

Vermilion high school took the senior softball competition and Vermilion public school took the junior competition.

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Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

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