HOOP AND HOLLER BEND -- As recently as Mother's Day, this obscure stretch of highway along the Assiniboine River was unknown to almost everyone outside the Portage la Prairie area.
But that all changed when Manitoba Water Stewardship decided to make Hoop and Holler Bend the site of the riskiest manoeuvre of the 2011 flood fight -- the now-infamous "controlled breakout" of the Assiniboine River into the La Salle River watershed.
While many Manitobans remain transfixed upon the question of what will happen when the Hoop and Holler Cut is finally made, another question of vital importance remains unanswered.
Specifically, why does this non-descript stretch of Provincial Road 331 southeast of Portage deserve its own place name on the central Manitoban road map? And how did it get that name in the first place?
The answer depends on who you talk to in the area. Here are the leading three theories, according to residents of the rural municipality of Portage la Prairie:
1. The Barn-Dance Theory
According to the most popular theory, Hoop and Holler Bend was once the site of a party venue that saw the locals hoot and holler. In some variations, this was just a barn where impromptu parties were held. In others, it was an actual club. Still others suggest it was just a bend in the road where teenagers held parties.
2. The Phantom Barn-Dance Theory
A minority account suggests a supernatural origin to the name. According to this account, there was indeed a popular barn at Hoop and Holler Bend, but the venue wound up getting burned down. Years later, you can still hear the hooting and hollering, even though no revellers remain.
3. The Kids-in-the-Back Theory
The least exciting etymology of Hoop and Holler Bend involves simple geography. According to this theory, children riding in the back of horse-driven buggies back in the day would shout excitedly when their vehicles rounded the bend in the road.
Where does the truth lie? Perhaps someone has the definitive answer. Feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.