Gunflint Trail Canoe Races 2009

A wicked wind and overcast skies did not put a damper on the fun at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races on Wednesday evening.  The races are held every summer in mid-July as a benefit for the Gunflint Trail Fire Department.  Many participants are staff members from Gunflint Trail resorts and outfitters.   After several years of minimal or nonexistent participation in the races, Bearskin is currently in Year 2 of the Canoe Race Domination Rebuilding Program. 

Our winning eating contest participant, Megan Lessard, is now the proud owner of this certificate:  

canoes race certif
Creme puff champ!

  We think her certificate for eating 30 crème puffs should be placed in a prominent place on her wall next to the certificate commemorating her other big event of this summer, graduating from Columbia University.  Megan is a nationally ranked runner who tends to take all competition very, very seriously.  The crème puff eating contest was no exception.

Bob & Quinn starting the long distance race
Bob & Quinn starting the long distance race

Bob and Quinn entered the long distance paddling race and were in a tough contest for 2nd place until the end of the race.  The old saying “age and treachery will always triumph over youth and skill” did not hold true in this event.   Too bad there wasn’t a prize for “First place to a strong stern paddler stuck with an old guy in the bow.”  In the end, a burst of speed from a pair of youthful paddlers from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters overtook Bob and Quinn and they came in 3rd.


Mary & Laura were holding strong on the far right, while Kate & Caitlin worked to maintain a straight canoe on the left.  Wind made this a difficult, and overly slow, race start.
Mary & Laura far right, Kate & Caitlin holding firm on the left.
Kate and Caitlin paddling hard to win the race.
Kate and Caitlin paddling hard to win the race.

The wind grew especially strong at the start of the women’s short race, persistently blowing the contestants into the starter’s nearby pontoon boat.  Bearskin’s team of Mary Sweeney and Laura Escobar succeeded in maintaining a position well out of the chaos for awhile, but by the time the race started they’d blown behind several canoes, making for a crashing start.  Bearskin’s team of “Sternin” Kate Vernon and Caitlin Healey came in first, Kate’s second year winning this event.  Kate and Quinn then took first in the short race for coed teams.  It was a great showing for Bearskin’s enthusiastic young staff.

Quinn & Kate easily won the coed race.
Quinn & Kate's finish--it wasn't even very close.


The canoe races are an entertaining event for both participants and spectators. Raffles, silent auctions, and plentiful prizes add to the festive occasion. The races are always held on Wednesday, midway through July.  If you’re planning a vacation for next summer, consider coming during canoe race week.  It’s an enjoyable way to support a great cause.

Kate, Mary, Laura & Caitlin after a race.
Kate, Mary, Laura & Caitlin after a race.

2 thoughts on “Gunflint Trail Canoe Races 2009

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