2006 La Ronge Canoe Race

On Saturday, August 26, our Club held its 12th annual Nut Point Challenge canoe race on McGibbon Bay with all races starting from the Club’s boat house at Eagle Point Marina. Three events were held with a 27-km voyageur race starting at 9:00 a.m., the 16-km tandem race starting at 10:00 a.m., and the 7-km tandem race starting at 11:00 a.m.

This year, the only canoe to enter the voyageur race was La Ronge’s Old Yellar. As it turned out, our race weekend coincided with the annual Dene gathering held at Patuanak this year. Several voyageur canoes from northern Saskatchewan were at the gathering to participate in a two-day race from Beauval to Patuanak (won by a Hatchet Lake team). So, with no competition, Old Yellar’s crew had a relaxing race that even allowed for a short rest break on Nut Portage. Their finish time of 3:22:31 was well short of last year’s winning time of 2:46:08 set by Team Grandmother’s Bay.

While the voyageur race lacked competition, the 16-km tandem race perhaps had the best competition our race has seen to date. This was thanks largely to the six Saskatoon paddlers who came up to race the event. In total, 8 canoes took part with the winning team being Randy Chapman and Bob Farthing of Saskatoon who finished the 16-km course with a time of 1:47:31. Initially, it was thought that this was announced as a course record. However, when the records were checked, it was found that Randy and Bob’s time was an exact tie with the1:47:31 winning time made by Winston McKay and Kevin Robinson in our 2004 race. So 1:47:31 remains the time to beat!

In the 16-km race, Ken English and Cathy Rae of Saskatoon had the fastest mixed time-finishing in 2nd place with a time of 1:50:06. Blake Charles and John Williams were the fastest La Ronge team-finishing in 3rd place just behind Ken and Cathy with a time of 1:50:20. Haley Robinson, 16, and Justin Stacey, 15, of La Ronge were the youngest team in the 16-km. Though they finished in 8th place, they had a very respectable time of 2:14:44.

5 canoes raced in the 7-km event (which prior to 2005 had been either a 5-km or 6-km event). Rob Mackenzie and Jordan Charles of La Ronge had the winning time of 46:00. John Stacey and Marlene Stacey were 2nd at 48:05. Ragnar Robinson and Kandra Stacey, both 13, were 3rd at 50:27. Ragnar and Kandra won the $60 cash prize for fastest team under 16 years old.

As soon as Rob Mackenzie was back from the 7-km race, he began barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs for the paddlers. Then, when the last canoe, that being Old Yellar, was finally in, everyone was fed, and an awards ceremony was held with prizes awarded to the top finishers. Thanks to sponsors-several draw prizes were also handed out. La Ronge sponsors included Robertson Trading, True Value Hardware, Northern Health, New North, Victim Services, Sagastew Recreation and Saskatchewan Environment. Saskatoon sponsors were Boomtown Outfitters and Eb’s Sport & Sail. At the awards, special thanks was given to Eagle Point Marina who provide our Club with a first class paddling venue.

Our Club members are already looking forward to next year’s paddling season. Members are particularly interested in attending the Marathon Canoe Nationals to be held at Lumsden, Saskatchewan on August 10, 11 and 12, 2007. Glen Watchel of our Club has arranged to have a good strong trailer built to tow our canoes, so we should have no problem getting canoes down to Lumsden. The Nationals will also include a voyageur canoe race on Wascana Lake in Regina, so there is a good chance Old Yellar will be making the trip south too.

It is now September, so the season is drawing to a close. But for diehard paddlers, there is at least a month of good paddling left. That leaves lots of time for a good long trip or a string of short outings.

Sid Robinson

September 9, 2006



Weather: Sunny, light south wind @ 9 km/hr.

7-Km Event

1 Rob Mackenzie & Jordon Charles, La Ronge 0:46:00
2 John Stacey & Marlene Stacey, La Ronge 0:48:05
3 Ragnar Robinson & Kandra Stacey, La Ronge 0:50:27
4 Dianne Allen & Jennifer, Malmsten, La Ronge 1:18:32
5 Fran Atkinson, Bert Loeffen, Prince Albert 1:18:52
6 Anthony Loeffen & Amanda Loeffen, 1:18:52

16-Km Event

1 Randy Chapman & Bob Farthing, Saskatoon 1:47:31
2 Ken English & Cathy Rae, Saskatoon 1:50:06
3 Blake Charles & John Williams, La Ronge 1:50:20
4 Winston McKay & Norman McKenzie, Saskatoon/La Ronge 1:53:51
5 Hilary Johnstone & Eddie Risseeuw, La Ronge/Saskatoon 1:54:05
6 Warren Kelly & Kent Pointon, La Ronge 1:58:02
7 Clayton Roberts & Absolom McLeod, La Ronge 2:13:31
8 Haley Robinson & Justin Stacey, La Ronge 2:14:44

27-Km Voyageur Canoe Event
Team La Ronge: 3:22:31

Martina Cain, La Ronge
Naomi Carriere, La Ronge
Nicole Charles, La Ronge
Mike Bertrand, La Ronge
Sid Robinson, La Ronge
Jane Laxdal, Pinehouse