Bogue Chitto Race gets underway tomorrow for local venturer crews

Published 6:06 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016

By Col. Bobby Miller

Special to the Daily News

After many hours of practice and several canoe races behind them, local venturer scouts are ready to compete in the 55th Explorer/Venturer 110-mile Bogue Chitto River Marathon Canoe Race.

The annual event takes place Thursday through Saturday, with competition being held over a six-leg, 110-mile course on the Bogue Chitto River.

It begins at the Mississippi Highway 98 Bridge near McComb and ends at Lock No. 3 on the Pearl River Navigational Canal in Sun.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, with competition getting underway at 9 a.m.

The local Tuchenna Scout District, which encompasses Washington and 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 open cruising racing divisions.

In addition to the advanced canoe racing divisions, there is a novice division and a beginners’ class in the aluminum canoes for first-time canoers.

The opening leg is from the Highway 98 Bridge to the Walker Waterpark in Tylertown, Miss., with a quick-change for paddlers. The new paddlers continue on the second leg to the Warnerton Bridge.

After lunch, the third leg starts at 1:30 p.m. with the paddlers going to Franklinton where they are expected to arrive at approximately at 4:30 p.m. at the Franklinton/KentwoodVFW Post 7195, which will treat the paddlers to a meal.

This will end the competition for the first day.

The fourth leg gets underway at 8 a.m. Friday morning proceeding from Franklinton to Enon with canoers arriving at the Bogue Chitto River Adventure Tube and Kayak Center near the Enon Bridge at about 10:30 a.m.

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

Scouts will be treated to a dinner hosted by Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal.

The final day’s start begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at Five Lakes and ends at Lock No. 3 in Sun at about 11:30 a.m.

On the last leg, the scouts will be joined by a special division of former competitors of the race. The alumni explorer/venturer canoers compete for the coveted Spot Bankston Memorial Trophy, named for a dedicated supporter of the race, who 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 and Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies will provide safety patrol boats.

Bogalusa Venturer Crew 313, sponsored by The Daily News, will be defending their titles won the last two years, as will Bush Venturer Crew 213, sponsored by Bateman Ford Tractor.

Following the race and awards ceremony, the two venturer crews will depart for the 50th annual Explorer/Venturer 120-mile marathon race on the White River in northern Arkansas. It begins July 28 and is a three-day, eight-leg race.