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Pair of races for venture crews canceled

Each year, the local venture scouts from venture crews compete in canoe racing competitions.

They start working toward the goal of winning on the first warm Sunday in January or February.

This year, the group was going to start practicing in March because of cold and rainy weather, but that plan has been postponed because of the Stay at Home Order from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the group had three competitions scheduled.

According to Col. Bobby Miller, two of the races have been canceled.

The Bayou Liberty Race in Slidell and the 54th annual Boy Scouts of America White River Canoe Race in Arkansas have been canceled for this year.

“We’re very very disappointed,” Miller said.

With the Stay at Home order being lifted later on this week, Miller said the crews will begin practicing on Sunday.

“We’ll also teach new paddlers as we do every year,” Miller said. “That’s what makes our program so good. When kids age out for youth canoeing, we’re very fortunate to recruit new paddlers and have trained replacements. That’s why our program is so successful.”

The teams are still competing in the Bogue Chitto Race that is still scheduled for July 16-18.

The Bayou Liberty Race was set for June 7, while the race in Arkansas was being run July 23-25.

MIller said the race in Arkansas is the biggest they compete in as far as team participation. He said in terms of challenges on the river, the Bogue Chitto requires more skill to navigate the river because of the obstacles like logs, trees and fast water.

The teams have been going to the race in Arkansas since 1977.

Last year, the crews combined for plenty of success in Arkansas.

Crew 313 won their 19th National Championship, their 28th title in the Boys Advanced Aluminum Racing Division and their 27th championship in the Boys Novice Aluminum Racing Division.

Bush Venture Crew 213 captured the Coed Cruising National Championship for the fourth time last year.

The crews have been competing in the Bayou Liberty Race for about 30 years.

The Bogue Chitto Race is a three-day, 110-mile race.