Meduxnekeag River race challenges canoeists, kayakers
HOULTON, Maine — A smaller than normal group of boaters traversed down the Meduxnekeag River Saturday as part of the annual canoe and kayak race.
A chilly start to Saturday morning did not deter many from gathering on local bridges and riverbanks to cheer on the racers.
A total of 42 boats and 68 paddlers participated in the race this year. That number is down dramatically from the 2017 race when a total of 126 paddlers manned 80 vessels. In 2018, the race was canceled on the morning of the event due to dangerous water conditions.
“We had about half the boats we usually have due to the late spring, but the paddlers who ran the race were awesome,” said event organizer Jane Torres. “We repeatedly hear that the Meduxnekeag race is their favorite and really they are like family to us, returning year after year. River conditions were near perfect.”
The Meduxnekeag River got its name from Maliseet Indians in the area. Its name means “rocks at its mouth.” The river is 35 miles long and flows east from Drews Lake to Woodstock, New Brunswick, where it enters the St. John River.
The course winds from Mill Stream into the Meduxnekeag River and finishes below the Highland Avenue bridge at the public landing. Refreshments such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and sodas, typically await the tired, hungry and sometimes wet paddlers at Riverfront Park.
The individual race results by division were:
K-1 Short (kayak) — 1, Brian Foley, 1:23.16; and 2, Larry Merrill, 1:27.11.
K-1 Long — 1, Ben Randall, 1:08.24.
OC-1 — 1, R.W. Estella, 1:33.01.
OC-2 (medium) — 1, Mark Ranco and Bill Anderson, 1:16.45; 2, Billy Smith and Robert Martin, 1:20.01; and 3, Sam Holmes and Chris Corey, 1:27.33.
OC-2 (mixed) — 1, Mark Rinsinger and Allisen Risinger, 1:24.30; and 2, Tammy Kelley and Robert Hessler, 1:25.37.
K-1 Short (men) –1, Ben Murchie, 1:53.56; 2, Kennedy Rubert-Norm, 2:01.03; 3, Derek Rose, 2:02.49; 4, Justin Barry, 2:25.37; and 5, Paul Littlefield, 2:50.30.
K-1 Short (women) — 1, Madison Grant, 2:03.13; and 2, Amy Russell, 2:03.28.
K-1 Long (men) — 1, John Massey, 2:01.01; and 2, Marcus Russell, 2:03.31.
OC-2 (women) — Rhonda London and Mali Dana, 1:35.22.
OC-2 (mixed) — 1, Ravis Debay and Rose Guy, 1:29.02; 2, Brian MacDonald and Kelsey MacDonald, 1:35.20; and 3, Dan Swallow and Sam Swallow, 1:37.28.
OC-2 Senior/Junior (13 and younger) — 1, Tammi Matula and Danlen Espenscheid, 1:39.01; and 2, Mike Qualey and Phillip Espenscheid, 1:39.17.
OC-2 Senior/Junior (14-and older) — 1, Will Cliff and Benji Gilman, 1:29.06; 2, Dave Conley and Hunter Scharnick,1:43.52; and 3, Garth Bean and Bradley Bean, 1:43.54.
Open — 1, Ben Galipeau, Jeff Owen, Hashim Wise and Amneh Wise, 1:17.53; 2, Emmanduel Boss, 1:44.23.
Century — 1, Ralph Robertson and Tim Cady, 1:23.27; and 2, Chip Loring and Terry Wescott, 1:24.05.
OC-1 Student — 1, Nolan Mabee, 1:23.12; 2, Ashton Mabee, 1:23.51; 3, Anna Drinkert, 1:37.53.
Law Enforcement — Chad Robertson and Aaron Cross, 1:23.15.
High School — Matthew Shay and Isaac Crone (East Grand), 1:32.35
Students — Kell Fremow and Daisy Drinker (Orono High School), 1:27.08; and Faith Lindsey and Steve Rowe (East Grand), 2:31.25.