There is an excellent chance of a Bigfoot sighting on Sunday, Sept. 29. In fact, one would have to race through the Ragged Mountain Scuttle obstacle course with one's eyes closed to avoid it.

A few life-size Bigfoot wooden cutouts are some of the new features of the scuttle, which will take place at the Camden Snow Bowl for a sixth straight year.

"The event succeeds because of incredible partnerships, many industrious volunteers and generous sponsors," said Audrey Lovering, the lead race organizer and beneficiary for One Community Many Voices.

OCMV is a Rockland-based organization providing mini-grants that keep people’s financial setbacks from becoming debilitating.

“A big part of our job with OCMV is cultivating community connections, so that we can do our work of helping one person at a time and then helping them to pay it forward,” Lovering said. “The scuttle is a shining example of this kind of relationship-building that creates community and allows us to provide such hand-ups. Last year, we had more than 100 volunteers who put in an estimated 1,700 hours to make this race a success. It’s a huge team effort.”

As a result, the course always is evolving. Many fun new obstacles await runners and walkers in 2019, thanks to the handiwork of inmate employees of Maine State Prison Industries. Inmates build about 600 products ranging from simple ball-in-cup toys for $1 to $2,000 intricate model boats, which are sold in the Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston.

MSPI started building scuttle obstacles a few years ago after Lovering got a serendipitous email around the time OCMV was wondering how to get better obstacles built. [The email] was from Scott Hastings, a federal probation officer in Portland who was involved in a leadership program that required him to get involved in a community-based project.

“I’d been thinking and reading a lot about the literal and figurative obstacles in life and came upon One Community Many Voices," said Hastings. "I was impressed by its philosophy of ‘what if we could help people better/' That, plus a personal interest in running obstacle course races, led him to reach out to the charitable organization.

Lovering embraced his offer to help, and Hastings mentioned the prison woodworking operation which Lovering was “a diehard prison store fan,” and together they approached Prison Industries Manager Ken Lindsey, who was happy to get inmates involved.

“It’s everything from barriers with ropes to ninja steps, [and] the four Bigfoot silhouettes this year,” said Lindsey. “It’s great to be involved. OCMV has the ideas, and we have the ability and all the machinery to get these things done. We’re proud of this program and love being able to show off what we do. We also love helping OCMV and the community.”

Inmates also built new additions for the children's course this year. The “ever-improving hodgepodge of hay bales, lobster traps and wooden obstacles that keep kids busy running around”," said Morgan Laidlaw, Bangor Savings Bank's vice president of small business lending, and who directs the course for scuttlers in the making.

The course is sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank and Laidlaw, the Scuttle’s second-place finisher in 2018, explains the bank was all in favor when OCMV sought financial support a few years ago.

“An event like the scuttle is great for adults, but it’s family-friendly now, too,” said Laidlaw, who noted the bank fields a race team each year and enjoys the team-building aspect of the event. “A lot of us love what OCMV does — people in this area struggle more than many realize — and what they do is really meaningful. So this is a home run for the bank and the community.”

Beth Ward, general manager of the Camden Snow Bowl, has the same mindset. When the Snow Bowl decided to join other ski areas that were hosting obstacle races, she knew she would need help.

“Partnering with OCMV has been great,” Ward said. “We needed help to put on an event like this, and OCMV is a great beneficiary. It’s great exposure for us. Plus, OCMV donates a portion of the proceeds to our fourth-grade learn to ski program each year.”

Noticeable enhancements for the scuttle this year beyond the new physical obstacles over the 5-kilometer or 3.1-mile course are a new chip-timing system; an advanced course for “racers who want another mile of torture,” Ward said. There also is a “alphanumeric psychological obstacle” that adds another dimension, Hastings said.

For more information visit ocmv.org, or to volunteer email info@onecommunitymanyvoices.org or call Lovering at (207) 899-6925.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.