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Woman carries more than quarter ton of flour on her back

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Flour packing is one of the most unique events seen throughout festivals in northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. With a long history of testing both mental and physical strength, the event often wows spectators with the sheer weight of what competitors carry on their backs.
This year’s Opasqkwayak Indigenous Days was no less exciting with both men and woman competing in the John Flett Sr. Memorial Flour packing event for flour packing glory.
In the womens division, ten women stepped up to the challenge with a minimum starting carry weight of 300 pounds. Unique in flour packing is once someone has carried a weight, the next competitor must go up in intervals of 25 pounds. In the women’s division this meant attempts ranging from 300 to the final heaviest carry of 550 pounds.
That feat was done by Norway House resident Megan Menow, who just began packing flour this year.
“I just started this year and my dad got me into because my parents been doing it for twenty years,” Megan said after the win.
Both Menow’s parents competed in the event this year, with her mother attempting an unsuccessful 600 pound carry. As it went, Megan was potentially faced with the same amount to carry to finish in first place if fellow competitor Tia Smith was successful with a 575 pound carry. Smith could not complete it so Menow took the first place finish with her 500 pounds. It was the second carry of the event for her as her first carry was 450 pounds to stay in the competition.
Menow says the 500 pound carry was the heaviest she has carried.
“I didn’t think I would be able to but my dad is my biggest supporter,” she said of her success. Menow competes because she wants to keep the tradition going in her family.
When asked if there was a technique she used for carrying or wearing specific shoes, she simply commented, “no technique I just tried it and I always wore Converse most of my life” of her choice of footwear.
Menow encourages any women to give the event a try. “I would say go for it and try it, you don’t have to lift the heaviest as long as you try,” she said, adding, “Anybody could do it, you just got to have that mind set that you could do it. It’s a good event.”
Four competitors took part in the men’s division with John Hendrickson taking top spot carrying 700 pounds for the win.
The event is held annually at OID in honour of John Flett Sr., a legend in flour packing.

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Jenn
REPORTER