Local crews very successful at Bayou Liberty Race

Published 9:39 am Monday, June 13, 2016

By Col. Bobby Miller

Special to the Daily News

Venturer Scouts of the Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 and Bush Venturer Crew 213, Boy Scouts of America, participated in the 64th annual Bayou Liberty Pirogue and Canoe Race on Bayou Liberty in Slidell on Sunday.

The daylong event is sponsored by the Bayou Liberty Civic Center as their fundraiser and has become one of the top family attractions of St. Tammany Parish, having 14 racing events — 10 pirogue, three canoe and one kayak.

The races involving youth and adult competitors evoke a healthy dose of South Louisiana with fierce competition and lots of fun for the participants and spectators alike.

The local scouts participated in 12 of the races and captured 11 first place finishes and one second in an outstanding effort.

Their efforts and results achieved was very impressive and a credit to themselves, their leaders and their parents and appreciated by the many followers in attendance.

The paddlers of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 jumpstarted the very successful effort with Adam Economu taking first and Josh Gulczynski second in the common boat race.

In the first pirogue race, the boys 8-12 years old, Nicholas Miller won first place and Cain Kelehan second. Both are pre-venturer scouts of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313. Post Advisor Col. Bob Miller jokingly stated that you have to start training them early.

The boys ages 13-16 pirogue race was swept by Crew 313 with James Stevenson III winning the event, Gulczynski second, Rage Rivers third, Chase Kelehan fourth and Lee Boutwell fifth.

In the men’s over-40 pirogue race, Charles Kelehan, an alumni of Explorer Post 313, won first place.

In the girls’ 13-16s pirogue race, Bush Venturer Crew 213 paddler Lauren Haik won first place.

In the girls’ 8-12s pirogue race, Melia Rivers won first and Ainsley Miller second for Crew 213.

In the Ladies Championship Pirogue Race, Kirsten Barber placed second for Crew 213.

The final pirogue race event was the Men’s Championship Pirogue Race with former Crew 313 Scout Paul Dauterive winning his fourth consecutive championship ahead of a number of other contestants in the adult competition.

Current 313 paddlers Landon Arabie finished second with Economu third, to sweep the premier racing event of the race for Crew 313.

Dauterive, who graduated from Louisiana Tech University last month, recently won the Bogalusa Rotary Club 5K Milltown Classic in Bogalusa for the fourth-straight time.

The Zaney Blindfold Race was won by Crew 313’s Chase Kelehan with Matthew Dennis second and Barber third. This event had a large number of contestants, which provided some very entertaining action.

The remaining canoeing events consisted of 2-person canoe race elimination heats with first-fourth place paddlers of each heat competing in the finals of the finals of the two-man Canoe Championship Race.

Heat winners in the first elimination race were Crew 313 paddlers Brannan Crosby/Colby Spears first, followed by Stevenson III/Chris Weintritt, Barber/Haik and Chase Kelehan/Dennis.

Second heat winners were Economu/Arabie. The team of Rivers/Dennis were second, followed by John Gulczynski/Josh Gulczynski and Robert Laws/Boutwell.

The finals of the 2-person canoe championship, which featured eight teams, had only canoes of Crews 313 and 213 qualifying. Economu/Arabie captured the event.

Stevenson III/Weintritt were second, followed by Crosby/Spears, Matthew Russell/Rivers, Barber/Haik, John Gulczynski/Boutwell and Chase Kelehan/Dennis. The other team dropped out because of injury.

Overall it was a banner day for the scouts of Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313 and Bush Venturer Crew 213 in the Bayou Liberty Pirogue and Canoe Race.