Brock Friedel never imagined in his wildest dreams that a few words he wrote to promote snowmobile safety would end up being such a big deal.
Elementary-aged students were asked to write a 60-second commercial about sled safety and what it means to them.
Not only did the talented and friendly 12-year-old Grade 6 student at Iron River School win a snowmobile safety contest sponsored by Alberta Health Services (AHS), but because of his winning entry, he's going to be shooting a professional television commercial with a full production crew on his parents' farm out in Iron River on March 19.
The completed commercial will be played in Alberta hospitals and waiting rooms, uploaded to the AHS website (www.albertahealthservices.ca) and YouTube, while also being distributed to media outlets across Alberta.
“I'm really looking forward to that,” said Brock, talking about the upcoming shooting of the television commercial. “It will be pretty cool to be in a TV commercial. It should be a very fun experience.”
The 12 year old credits his father Bruce and mother Avis for teaching him safety is paramount when it comes to operating a snowmobile — as well as an ATV.
“My parents have always stressed how important it is to be safe when you're using big machines like snowmobiles and ATVs,” he said proudly. “We were taught the right way.”
As part of his Grade 6 health class led by teacher Nicole Cross, Friedel said he and several classmates entered the snowmobile safety essay contest sponsored by AHS.
He found out he was the winner the last week in February.
After writing an introduction, Brock wrote, “use a helmet to protect your head because your brain is the most important thing you have. So use it or lose it.”
He further encourages northern Albertans to “use your brain, not the throttle” in describing safe operation of a snowmobile, while emphasizing the importance of always using a helmet, using proper safety equipment, having the right training and using common sense.
The youngster knows of what he speaks because he does his daily chores around his parents' elk farm using a snowmobile.
“I haul wood and I haul the garbage and do other chores around the farm,” he said.
As part of his prize for winning the contest, Brock will be able to invite three other young friends to take an official snowmobile safety course in the coming months.
“The positive message and strong call for people to think about safety in Brock's commercial entry stood out,” said Dr. Albert de Villiers, Medical Officer of Health, North Zone for Alberta Health Services.
Brock also won a new helmet, donated by ATV World, as well as a backpack full of emergency kit contents, and snowmobile gloves.
De Villiers believes the contest and TV commercial will help raise awareness of snowmobile safety throughout northern Alberta.
“Every year, people are injured from riding snowmobiles, but this doesn't have to keep happening. Injuries can be prevented,” he said. “We hope Brock's commercial will motivate people to ride safely, engage their best common sense and prepare correctly by taking training and having the right gear.”
Brock's father said he couldn't be prouder of his son, who takes pride in everything he does.
“I give a lot of credit to AHS for coming up with such a good idea to promote safety, especially among young riders,” he said. “I also credit Brock's teacher and the school division for supporting such an important program.
“Brock did a great job writing his commercial and we were very excited when we found out he had won. It has been exciting.”