Beast Mode!

beastThis past Saturday was our fourth annual “Barber Beast on the Bay.” For those readers who are not from the Erie area, the Beast on the Bay is an adventure obstacle course challenge that includes natural and manmade obstacles on Presque Isle State park. The annual event helps support the Barber National Institute and its work with children and adults with disabilities and behavioral health challenges.

What even local readers may not know is that in addition to the 10 mile obstacle course, we also offer a one-mile adapted course will also be offered for adults (age 16+) with physical or intellectual disabilities at adjacent Waldameer Park.

This year we had a record number of individuals complete the adapted course. Participants are welcome to have a course buddy to go through the course with them at no extra charge. The adapted course is one of the highlights of the Beast event; it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase how important inclusiveness and equal opportunity are to our mission.

I think that challenges like this are a great moral booster for schools and organizations nationwide. Many groups offer 5K runs in honor of a disability, but few offer the opportunity for those with disabilities to participate in their own cause. I would encourage any group to consider an obstacle course similar to the adapted Beast for their own fundraising efforts, which is why I would like to share some of our obstacles as examples that could even serve as a model for your own “Beast!”bni-2016-beast-on-the-bay_375

“Feed the Beast”

In this obstacle the participants stand a few feet in front of two hand painted boards, one deigned to look like “the beast” and the like a scary pirate, with sections cut out for participants to throw bean bags through the holes.

“Beast Cave”

This obstacle was a 10-foot high structure that the participants had to go through the middle of. Inside, there were different weighted bags that hung from the ceiling. Participants had to push these bags out of the way to get to the other side.

“The Watering Hole”

This obstacle was in the in the Waldameer Wave Pool. Participants can either enter the wave pool or stay on shore if they do not want to get wet. The object is to throw a beach ball in to a hoop to score a point. After scoring, participants use water shooters and attempt to get the volunteers wet!

Of course, none of this would be possible without great support from our community. The Beast on the Bay had over 200 volunteers helping throughout the day, from setting up and tearing down, to cheer teams on the sidelines, water stops, and of course assisting on the obstacles themselves. It is truly a wonderful team-building event for all!

The 5th annual Barber Beast on the Bay is set for Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA. We hope to see you there, or hear of your own “Beast” happening in your town!


Ryan, with friends Bryant and Craig, beat the Beast in 3 hours this year!

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