Venturer crews ready for competition

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

After countless hours of practice and several canoe races behind them, local explorer scouts and venturer scouts are set to compete in the 53rd Explorer/Venturer 110-mile Bogue Chitto River Canoe Marathon Race.

The annual event takes place Thursday-Saturday.

The competition is a six-leg, 110-mile course begins at the Highway 98 bridge in McComb, Miss. and ends at Lock No. 3 on the Pearl River Navigational Canal in Sun.

Registration begins at 8:30 tomorrow morning at the bridge with competition getting underway at 9 a.m.

The local Tuchenna Scout District, which encompasses Washington Parish and neighboring western St. Tammany parishes, hosts the event.

The Istrouma Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, headquartered in Baton Rouge, sponsors the race.

The competition includes boys’ and girls’ aluminum canoes and an open cruising racing division.

There is a novice division for first-time canoers in each racing division and a beginners’ class in the aluminum canoe division.

The opening leg is from the Highway 98 bridge to the Walker Bridge Waterpark in Tylertown, Miss.

There is a quick change for paddlers.

New paddlers take over for the second leg, which ends at Warnerton.

After lunch, the third leg starts at 1:30 p.m., going to Franklinton where participants are expected to arrive at the Franklinton/Kentwood VFW Post 7196 at approximately 4:15 p.m.

The post is proving a meal, which will end the first day of competition.

The fourth led gets underway at 8 a.m. Friday proceeding from Franklinton to Enon with participants getting there about 10:30 a.m. at the Wayne’s World Canoe and Tubing Center near the Enon Bridge.

After lunch, the fifth leg is at 1:30 p.m. and ends about 4 p.m. at the Five Lakes Campground and it is located about three miles west of Fifth Ward School on Louisiana Highway 40.

Scouts and guests will be treated to a dinner hosted by Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seals.

The final leg is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, ending at Lock No. 3 at approximately 11 a.m.

On the last leg, the scouts will be joined by a special division of former competitors. The alumni explorer/venture canoers will compete for the coveted Spot Bankston Memorial Trophy.

The trophy is named for a dedicated supporter of the race.

He passed away in 1996.

Individual awards will be presented after the race between 11:30 a.m. and noon.

During the race the Varnado Fire Department will provide safety patrol boats.

Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313, sponsored by the Daily News and Bogalusa Lions Club and Varnado Crew 200, sponsored by Davis Products of Bogalusa will be defending their respective titles they won last year. Following the competition, the two crews will depart for the National Explorer/Venturer 120-mile White River Canoe Marathon Race, which begins on the White River in the Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas July 24. Both crews will be defending their titles from that race as well.