46th Annual National Invitational White River Canoe Race

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Following the advice of suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton to his 2012 football team, “Do Your Job,” members of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 and Varnado Venturer Crew 200, Boy Scouts of America, “Did Just That,” in winning most of the major racing divisions in the 46th Annual Explorer/Venturer National Invitational White River 120-mile Canoe Marathon Race recently held in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas.

In this day and age of youth spending their leisure time with their iPods, cell phones, computers and tweeting in an air-conditioned environment, a remarkable group of area teenagers devoted, instead, their leisure hours toiling in outdoor conditions ranging from frigid in the early spring to hot and humid in late spring and summer.

These kids were canoeist preparing for and competing in marathon canoe races local and national – members of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 and Varnado Venturer Crew 200, Boys Scouts of America, representing Bogalusa, Varnado and surrounding communities in an exemplary manner.

The local canoers are members of the Bogue Tuchenna District, Istrouma Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, which encompasses all of Washington Parish and neighboring St. Tammany Parish.

Their exploits in participating and competing in this outdoor super activity speaks volumes for themselves, their leaders and who they represent!

It begins on the first warm Sunday afternoon in early spring and continues once school is out with canoe practices on the Pearl River and its navigational canal Mondays thru Thursdays and Sunday afternoons on the Bogue Chitto River.

It ends the last two weeks of July when they compete in the local Explorer/Venturer Scout 110-mile Bogue Chitto and national 120-mile White River canoe marathon races.

Participation in these and other local races is unrivaled as one of the most memorable experiences of a venturer scout’s life necessitating each participant’s utmost in canoemanship, conditioning, stamina, discipline and attitude. The challenge is formidable but the rewards are genuine and lasting. Their efforts have paid dividends!

Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313, sponsored by The Daily News in Bogalusa and the Bogalusa Lions Club, brought home three national divisional championships including the national rotating trophy for having the shortest accumulative time on the river and three second place trophies, two of which were to the respective Crew 313A Teams.

Varnado Venturer Crew 200, sponsored by Davis Products of Bogalusa, accomplished the same feat in winning two national divisional championships with the area venturer scouts sweeping all but one of the major racing divisions in the national race.

A grueling 120-mile event, it begins at Bull Shoals, Ark. located just south of the Missouri state line and ends downriver at Batesville, Ark.

A three-day, eight-leg canoe race on the White River, it includes two portages around dams with water temperature averaging a very cool 43 degrees.

Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 won their 13th National Championship and the coveted Doug Sumner Memorial Rotating Trophy in the Open Cruising Racing Division.

Paddling for Crew 313, their second consecutive championship, were Team Captain Paul Dauterive and Josh Treadway, Rupert “Roo” Breland III and Colby Spears with a winning time of 15 hours, three minutes and 36 seconds with was 7:38 faster than second place Russellville, Ark. Venturer Crew 300 with a time of 15:11:14 and New Brighton, Minn. Venturer Crew 9566 placing third in 15:21:14.

The Crew 313A Team won the national championship in the Boys Novice Aluminum Racing Division with a time of 14:16:33, Crew 313’s 22nd such national title with the 313B Team taking second place (14:59:55) and third pace Fayetteville, Ark Venturer Crew 142 in third (17:56:52).

Paddling for Crew 313A Team were Team Captain Austin Hunt and Tyler Seals, Tim Smith, Brannan Crosby, Adam Economo and Eric Richard. Crew 313B Team paddlers were Team Captain Duncan McLinden, Kyle Pennino, Maison Montgomery, Zach Mitchell and Hayden Thornton.

In the Boys Beginners Aluminum Racing Division, Bogalusa Venture Crew 313A Team won first place with a time of 4:55:28 with Team Captain Mason Cooper and Joseph Arabie and the Crew 313B Team second (5:18:28) with Team Captain Travis Singley and Landon Arabie. Russellville was a distant third (5:24:23).

The Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 Boys Advanced Aluminum Racing Division Team finished in second place with a time of 17:03:18 behind first place Russellville with a time of 16:50:15.

Paddling for Crew 313 were Team Captain “A” “J” Holmes and Luke Owens, Tyler Milner, Jonathan Pierce, Johnathan Turner and James Stillwell III to complete another excellent performance by Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 in the national race.

Varnado Venturer Crew 200 won the national championship in the Girls Novice Aluminum Racing Division and the Dr. R.J. Van Patter Memorial Traveling Trophy with a winning time of 15:37:23 with Team Captain Kirsten Barber and Morgan Thigpen, Grace Fornea, Lation Jenkins and Sabrina Meyn.

Crew 200 also won their second national championship in the Girls Beginners Aluminum Racing Division with a time of 5:12:29 with Team Captain Jessica Lann, Sierra Rowe and Ryan Smith to complete a successful return to the national event.

The overall performance by the local youths again brought national attention to Bogalusa and the surrounding communities and reflected favorable on this area’s youth, their leaders and the local exploring and venturing program.

A well deserved thanks and appreciation is extended to the very large contingent of parents, relatives, former paddlers and friends of the competitors who witnessed the race and who provided assistance, logistical and moral support to the paddlers. Also very noteworthy and appreciated by the leaders and members of the Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 and Varnado Venturer Crew 200 was the fundraising efforts community-wide, which was instrumental in a very successful trip to Arkansas.

Thanks and well done!