The Railyard is going to be jumping Saturday, literally.
Canopy Street in the Haymarket will be transformed into a pole vaulting strip, and some of the area’s top vaulters will be there to take on the daylong challenge.
It’s called the Canopy Street Vault, an event that developer Will Scott always wanted to bring to Lincoln.
“It’s an electric scene,” said Scott of WRK, which has helped develop the West Haymarket. “It’s something I thought would be fun, to help promote the sport and also promote the University (of Nebraska), and provide something unique for Lincoln.”
Street pole vaulting may be unique to Lincoln, but it’s far from a new concept. It’s quite popular in Europe, and Fremont, Aurora and Seward are among local communities to host such events.
It was in Europe where Scott first saw street pole vaulting. He wanted to bring it to Lincoln, and eventually turned to WRK’s Tessa Warner to help get it off the ground.
“I bugged her and bugged her,” Scott said. “It’s awesome that we’re pulling it off.”
The turnout — the field was cut off at 70 competitors — surprised organizers, especially considering they relied mostly on word of mouth to promote the event.
“I thought maybe we would have 20, 30 people,” Scott said. “Before we knew it, we had 70.”
The concept is simple. There are no divisions, no classes and no age groups. The bar will be set at 6 feet when competition begins at 11 a.m., and will gradually rise to about 18 feet by evening, when the elite competitors will own the stage.
The field includes some of the area’s top high school vaulters, local college standouts and older competitors.
“We’re going to have quite the group,” said Warner, who is the Railyard’s entertainment sales and business manager. “It’s a pretty elite group. I thought we’d have trouble signing people up. That definitely wasn’t the case.”
WRK also has received support from area coaches. Nebraska pole vault coach T.J. Pierce and Lincoln Public Schools vault coach Chris Johnson have played roles in getting the event set, and will be there Saturday with other volunteers.
Nebraska provided two pits, and a runway was brought in.
Organizers said they want the street pole vaulting contest to become an annual event, and they want to see it grow.
“We’re going to learn a lot,” Scott said. “I would love for this to become regional, something bigger. The opportunity is here with the entertainment district.”
Scott said Saturday’s event may spark other sporting events on Canopy Street, such as sand volleyball, basketball tournaments or zip line competitions.
Scott, who grew up west of Denver, attended Nebraska. His collegiate pole vaulting career was cut short by injury.
Any urge to join the field Saturday?
“My last jump I mangled myself,” Scott said.
“I would like to go out on a better note. But I think my wife, Tracy, would kill me,” he added with a laugh.