On the windy and sunny morning of Saturday July 18, paddling sports competitors and spectators enjoyed a day of friendly competition on Telford Lake, in the heart of the City of Leduc.
For several years now, the Leduc Boat Club has organized the Big Boat Regatta, which this year saw dragon boats and OCs compete for the honours of the day. OCs are outrigger canoes, sleek, colourful and sometimes shiny white canoes equipped with a stabilizing arm. Designed for one (OC1), two (OC2) and 6 (OC6) paddlers, they provide a smooth ride on a usually stable craft. But when a turn goes awry and the paddlers fall into the soup, someone on the shore yells “Huli!”, the Hawaiian term for dunk; then the paddlers have to right the vessel and climb back aboard.
On this day, two dragon boats held 20 paddlers each: veterans, intermediates and novice paddlers joined members of OCC, the Oil City Crew River Rafters, a club for visually-impaired paddlers who hail from all over the capital region, in a scrambled fun race. While the race was going on, a dad and two small children were enjoying a leisurely canoe ride on the lake when the morning breeze became fiercer, pushing them farther away from the dock. An OC6 went to offer assistance and the dad could not decline: secured within the outrigger arm of the OC6, the trio’s canoe was returned safely to the shore as the race continued.
Over the years, the Leduc Boat Club has introduced the paddling sports to thousands of water lovers, trained countless teams and promoted this great venue via numerous races; it also successfully hosted the iconic Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival a few years ago when the North Saskatchewan River levels were dangerously high. Kayaking, traditional canoeing and stand up paddling are part of the list of competitive and fun paddling sports enjoyed by many on this scenic lake. In early July, 15 young paddlers 8 to 15 years old enjoyed the LBC’s first kids’ summer camp; the club is preparing for its second summer camp, eight days of fun and training on the water, scheduled for August 5-14 and led by Nathan, a young coach and former racer. There are a few spots left…780-902-4211.
In this region, equine sports are also very popular as many rural and urban dwellers own horses and enjoy being competitive with them. The fastest growing equine sport in Canada, Mounted shooting requires for adult and young riders alike to complete a course where they aim black powder-loaded weapons and air guns at balloons perched on a stick. Recently, Sharon Wickham and her husband Doug, rodeo announcer, took their passion for this sport to a new level: they built an arena on their airport-area farm for their own practice time, as well as for other mounted shooters’ training and introduction to the sport. On Canada Day, the Wickhams hosted a jackpot event in Thorsby. They were planning for twenty competitors, and got… 38! Spectators thoroughly enjoyed the fast action in the ring, and the Wickhams are already planning their next event, scheduled for early fall.
Recently I attended the 2015 ASB Tour in Grande-Prairie (Ag Service Boards). I will share the amazing sights I enjoyed, in a future edition of the Pipestone Flyer.