Local crews shine in Arkansas Race

Published 8:32 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A spring of intensive canoe practice by the local Venturer Scouts of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 and Varnado Venturer Crew 200 paid dividends, as they combined to win four of the five major racing division in the 48th White River Canoe Race.

The 120-mile marathon race was held in the Ozark Mountains of Northern Arkansas July 23-26. It began at Bull Shoals, Ark., which is located just south of the Missouri state line and ended in Batesville, Ark. The three-day, eight-leg race includes two portages around two dams with water temperatures averaging 44 degrees.

Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313, sponsored by the Daily News and the Bogalusa Lions Club, was on both ends of their motto, “win with humility, lose with dignity.” They won national championships in the boys’ Advance, Novice and Beginners Racing Divisions. Their only loss to another team came in the Open Cruising Racing Division.

Varnado Venturer Crew 200, which is sponsored by Davis Products of Bogalusa, captured the national championship in the girls’ Cruising Racing Division, and girls Beginners Aluminum Racing Division, as the local venturer scouts continue to dominate the national event.

Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 won their first national title and the Ron Eddings Memorial Trophy for having the shortest accumulative time in the boys Advanced Aluminum Racing Division. It is the 25th such national title. They posted a winning time of 15 hours, 30 minutes and 36 seconds. The 313 Crew ‘B’ Team was second (17:08.08), followed by Fayetteville, Ark Venturer Crew 142 (17:39.46).

Paddling for the Crew ‘A’ Team, the national champions, were Austin Hunt, A.J. Holmes, Brannon Crosby and Landon Arabie. Canoeing for the runner-ups, were Duncan McLinden, Adam Mitchell, Zane Thomas, Tyler Rester and Matthew Russell.

Earning their second major title, Bogalusa Crew 313 repeated as National Champions in the boys Novice Aluminum Racing Division. It was the crew’s 25th such National Title. The winning time was 15:47.14. Fayetteville Crew 142 was second at 18:11.15.

The 313 group had Spencer Hunt, Rory Breland, Justin Mixon and JohnWilliam Hartzog, Dylan Seals and Chris Weintritt.

Adding to the achievements of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313, the team of brothers William and Jacob Pounds won the crew’s third national championship in the boys Beginner Aluminum Racing Division. Their time was 5:18.59, followed by Batesville, Ark Venturer Crew 320 (6:20.11) and Longview, Texas Troop 201 (6:42.00).

The beginners paddle just one leg each day and 78 total miles. Jacob and William Pounds were also awarded the Doyle Rogers Youth Challenge Award.

It features the inscription “Success-it’s not measured by what you do, but what you complete” for being the first canoe to arrive at the finish line of the final leg of the race, an amazing feat by the first-year paddlers.

Bogalusa Crew 313’s only loss came to a team from Russellville, Ark. Venturer Crew 300 in the elite and highly contested Open Cruising Racing Division, which completed the event in 13:42.58. Crew 313 recorded a time of 13:46.15 to finish runner-up, just three minutes, 18 seconds behind the champs. Crew 313 was attempting to win its 15th national title in this division, having won the last three years.

Canoeing for Crew 313 were Roo Breland, Colby Spears, Adam Economu, Tyler Seals and Jonathan Pierce.

“It was a great race and we were beat by a well-deserving, well-coached team,” Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 advisor Col. Bobby Miller said about the loss. “We had the lead the first two days, but were outpaddled the third day and couldn’t catch up. So we follow the second part of our motto, ‘lose with dignity,’ and congratulate the open cruiser team of Russellville Venturer Crew 300.”

Varnado Venturer Crew 200, after winning the girls Advanced Aluminum Racing Division the last two years uncontested, elected to compete in the girls Cruising Racing Division in hopes of having competition in this year’s national race. Again the competition failed to show, so once again, the team claimed another uncontested trophy in winning the national championship. They paddled the 120-mile race in 16:09.49. The team featured Kirsten Barber, Grace Fornea, Morgan Thigpen and Laiton Jenkins.

Crew 200 captured their second national title in the girls Beginners Aluminum Racing Division with a time of 5:52.31. Batesville, Ark.Venturer Crew 320 was second in 6:52.01. The crew 200 paddlers were Abbi Fornea and Maria Heitman.

Varnado Venturer Crew 200 also received the Sportsmanship Trophy voted on by all team captains at the conclusion of the race to be the best crew representing the attributes of fair play, respect for others, helpfulness, positive attitude, fellowship, encouragement and effort.

The overall performance in the national canoe race by the local youth again brought favorable attention to Bogalusa, the surrounding communities and reflected positively on the area’s exploring and venturing scouting program, its youth and leaders.

On hand to witness the race and provide logistical and moral support for the paddlers were a very large contingent of parents, relatives, former paddlers and friends of the competitors. A grueling 120-mile event, the race is considered the foremost water event for scouts. Participation is unrivaled as one of the most memorable experiences of a scout’s life, which necessitates each participants’ utmost in canoeship, conditioning, discipline, attitude and stamina with competition in this super activity amongst scouts nationwide.The local canoers are members of the Bogue Tuchenna Scouting District, Boy Scouts of America, which encompasses all of Washington Parish and Western St. Tammany Parish. The participants in the race extend their thanks to all who support the race and their fundraising efforts.