They’re a big part of every parade on Dryden’s streets. Local members of the Khartum Shrine folded up into ridiculously tiny automobiles, flitting about the town like idle schoolboys.
But there is one among their number whose commitment to clowning is beyond question.
When it was announced that the Midwest Shrine Association would host their annual convention in Winnipeg for the first time in 14 years, local Shriner Matt Queau — also known as Mr. ‘Q’ — recognized an opportunity for a grand gesture.
‘Q’ will drive his tiny Shrine car from Dryden to Winnipeg, departing June 30 and arriving Aug. 2.
“I’ve been thinking about doing this for about two or three years, trying to figure out the logistics of it and how to go about it,” he said. “Then the ‘Midwest’ came up, once every 14 years. I figured this is the year to do it. It’s a good reason.”
Preparations for journey of this magnitude have required a little tinkering to the old ‘Tin Lizzy’ and ‘Q’ says he’s ‘put a little mustard on it’.
“We’ve modified the engine on the Shrine Car and we’re hoping to get 20 km/h — we’re testing driving it this week,” he said.
Typically running on a four horsepower Honda motor, ‘Q’ says a new more powerful engine, courtesy of a lawnmower should get the car up to eight horsepower.
‘Q’ stops for balloon animal and facepainting breaks in Vermilion Bay around noon June 30; in Kenora 11 a.m. to noon on Aug. 31; and in Prawda, MB on Aug. 1.
Supporters can pledge donations for his effort. he’s asking for $10 kilometre in support of a transportation fund to benefit northwestern Ontario patients and families receiving care through Shriners Hospitals For Children.
Beyond his charitable ambitions, ‘Q’ says he simply wants to draw attention to the Shrine, a charitable and more public chapter of the Masonic Lodge.
“If I only make $100 for the charity that’s fine, but if I can make $100 and convince one person to become a Shriner, that’s what I’m doing it for. I enjoy clowning, I joined the Shrine to become a clown. I didn’t know anything about the Masons when I joined.”
To make a donation call Matt Queau at 937-6617.
The Shrine Band will meet ‘Q’ at the edge of Winnipeg, on Aug. 2.
By Chris Marchand