SHOOTING FOR THE STARS

Pipestone Flyer

Leduc resident Matt Ingvardsen is hoping that the people of Leduc will rally behind his goal to make it into space. Matt has entered a contest that, with enough votes, could see him competing with one other person to be the only Canadian on a space shuttle flight.

    Twenty nine year old Leduc resident Matthew Ingvardsen, husband and father of three, has a bigger than life dream, and he is hoping his community will help him to achieve it.

    It all began just a short time ago when Matt saw a TV commercial put out by Axe Fragrances for men, a division of Unilever Canada, where they show a woman single handedly rescued from a shark attack by a handsome lifeguard, and upon reaching the beach safely she immediately breaks away from him to run into the arms of a man in an astronaut suit. The tag line is "nothing beats an astronaut", and then an announcer's voice comes on to direct you to the Axe website for a chance to win a trip into space.

Matt said his first reaction was that there had to be some sort of weird catch, or that he would find it was all a joke once he got to their website because a chance to really go into space seemed like such an unrealistic prize to offer. However, once he checked it out, Matt discovered that it was exactly as it claimed to be; an actual opportunity to make it into space. He said from that moment on he felt compelled to try and win this contest.

    "This is about living and doing it for my kids." said Matt, "Doing something crazy like reaching for the surreal, teaching them to break away from the norm and live life."

    He shared that he came a little late to the game and doesn't truly expect to win but he definitely wants to give it his best shot. "I don't need to convince anyone that I'm 'unique' or 'the one' to go, but I would really love to win and be able to say that Leduc is my home and they sent me here." 

    The top two Canadians with the most votes will be sent to Global Space Camp in Orlando Florida where they will enter into training. The training includes take off training which is done in high performance aircraft flown by former fighter pilots, zero G maneuvers in a parabolic flight, and re-entry training in a flight simulator that recreates the g-forces in an actual re-entry situation. At the end, a panel of experts will decide who is the most suitable candidate to go into space. The winner will then take a flight on a currently undetermined date, 103 kms above the earth with space tourism company SXC.

    When Matt signed on to compete just two weeks ago there were already 1,300 contestants registered. With help from family and friends he quickly rose to the 677th position, and since then, with a lot more help just from word of mouth, Matt jumped up to 193. But upon checking his standings as this story was being written, Matt has again leapfrogged ahead to #106! 

    Matt laughed a little as he shared that he never had aspirations of becoming an astronaut as a child. "This is all about growth and trying new things." said Matt. "I wouldn't even have tried to run if life events hadn't placed me in the position I'm in now. The scariest part for me is putting myself out there to be voted on. I don't want to fail people. I'm a face to face person and have never really been a part of this whole social media thing before. I just joined Facebook so I could compete in this contest!" 

    His wife Katie was a trifle unsure when Matt first expressed his interest in entering this contest, but once she realized how serious he was, Matt says she is now "totally on board".

    In order to break into the top ten candidates, Matt has to gather over 1000 votes. He is unsure how many he currently has as the voting site does not track how many votes he has, just his placement in the ranks.

    Matt shared his philosophy of why he really decided to enter this race for space. "I think one of the most important values is the value of community, and showing what a community can do by working together to achieve something surrealistic. It's really all about the race to get there. I also want my kids to know that the buck doesn't stop here until you say it does."

    The contest itself requires people to vote for Matt through Facebook, so you must have a Facebook account to place a vote for any of the contestants. To vote for Matt go to www.Leducinspace.com and click on the "vote" tab just to the left of his photo. Voting ends on August 31, 2013. 

    Follow the Pipestone Flyer on Twitter and we will be posting updates of Matt's (hopefully) meteoric rise into the top spot of the contest!