Piscataquis River Race returns after a 2-year hiatus

More than 68 paddlers competed in 38 canoes and kayaks for the 48th annual Piscataquis River Race on Saturday. The race, a distance of around 10 miles, started at King Cummings Park in Guilford and finished at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

More than 68 paddlers competed in 38 canoes and kayaks for the 48th annual Piscataquis River Race on Saturday.

The race, a distance of around 10 miles, started at King Cummings Park in Guilford and finished at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft.

After a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the race, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Dover-Foxcroft, returned and drew paddlers from across Maine. Families and friends of paddlers quickly traveled from stop to stop along the Piscatquis River, stopping to take photos and cheer on their loved ones.

Photo by Observer/Valerie Royzman
TOP TEAM – From left, paddlers Chris Francis, Chip Loring, Rick Gause and Mark Ranco near the finish line of the Piscataquis River Race on Saturday. Their team placed first overall.

The four-paddler team of Chris Francis and Mark Ranco of Bangor, Chip Loring of Old Town and Rick Gause of North Yarmouth placed first overall, finishing the race in 51 minutes and 31 seconds.

“A team effort,” Ranco said after the paddlers pulled their canoe out of the river. “Team effort. All four [paddlers] were working there 100 percent.

Some members of the group also competed and placed successfully in the 55th running of the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race earlier this month. For most of the group, paddling is a lifelong hobby and sport, Ranco said.

Photo by Observer/Valerie Royzman
READY TO START – Ray Wirth gets in the water before the start of the Piscataquis River Race on Saturday.

The race featured 16 distinct classes of canoes and kayaks in three categories: racing, recreation and challenge.

Ray Wirth paddled the fastest kayak in the race category, finishing in 55 minutes and 51 seconds. He competed in a long one-person kayak.

Margaret Hughes and Martin Hamilton finished with the same time, despite being in the recreational category and using a short two-person open canoe.

Photo by Observer/Valerie Royzman
STARTING LINE – Paddlers cross the start line at Guilford during the Piscataquis River Race on Saturday

A team of paddlers fell out of their canoe somewhere along the Piscataquis River. Emergency personnel monitoring the race got them out safely and towed their boat to the finish line.

It was strange to hold the event after two years without it, said Jeff Kelly, race chairman and Kiwanis member. At the same time, the race is “a well-oiled machine,” and Kiwanis members know how to plan, so everything went smoothly, he said.

Each year, the Bob Darling Memorial Trophy — named after the late Darling, former Kiwanis president and race chairman — is awarded to the fastest canoe and kayak.

Photo by Observer/Valerie Royzman
RIVER RACE – Two teams of paddlers race to the finish line during the Piscataquis River Race on Saturday. The race started in Guilford and finished in Dover-Foxcroft.

Wirth was honored for the fastest kayak this weekend. Francis, Gause, Loring and Ranco were honored for the fastest canoe.

The race, which brings in money from sponsors and registrations, is one of the Kiwanis Club of Dover-Foxcroft’s biggest fundraisers to benefit area children, said Brian Woodworth, one of the directors of the club. Kiwanis is an international organization that serves children and works to improve the community.

The club uses funds for various efforts, including a backpacking program that benefits students in School Administrative District 4 in Guilford and Regional School Unit 68 in Dover-Foxcroft; the Foxcroft Academy Key Club; swimming programs at the YMCA; and other activities.

Photo by Observer/Valerie Royzman
RIVER PADDLE — Paddlers smile as they traverse a 10-mile stretch of the Piscataquis River on Saturday. During the Piscataquis River Race, local residents and family and friends of paddlers cheered them on at various points along the route from Guilford to Dover-Foxcroft.

Puritan Medical Products, AE Robinson, Pleasant River Lumber, Foxcroft Academy and Eastern Gazette were sponsors, along with dozens of others.

The complete results of the Piscataquis River Race are as follows.

Class 1, Open Speed ​​Challenge:

1. Chip Loring, Mark Ranco, Rick Gause, Chris Francis 0:51:31.

2. War Canoe — Bill Deighan, James Mabee, Jr., Tammy Kelley, Lauri Sproul, Mike Sproul, Bob Hessler 0:57:01.

Photo by Observer/Valerie Royzman
TROPHY WINNERS – The fastest canoe and kayak paddlers in the Piscataquis River Race received the Bob Darling Memorial Trophy. Left to right are Mark Ranco; Doris Darling, wife of the late Bob Darling; Chris Francis, Ray Wirth; and Chip Loring. Rick Gause – who took part in a canoe with Francis, Loring and Ranco – stands in the back.

Class 2, Race – One Person Kayak, Short – K-1:

1. Mark Bamford 1:02:39.

2. Larry Merrill 1:08:42.

Class 3, Racing – Single Person Kayak, Long (Wildwater Hull) K-1:

1. Ray Wirth 0:55:51

2. Dan Baumert 0:57:29

3. Jeff Sanos 0:58:20

Class 4, Racing – One Person Open Canoe – OC-1:

1. Ashton Mabee 0:58:25

2. Barry Dana 0:59:03

3.Sam Jenkins 1:06:25

4. Ella Allan-Rahill 1:07:27

Class 5, Racing – Two Person Open Canoe, Short – OC-2:

1. Bob Martin, Raven Berry 1:06:49

2. Aaron Emerson, Kip Emerson 1:26:21

Class 6, Race – Two Person Open Canoe, Medium – OC-2:

1. Dean Redding, Mark Resinger 0:56:26

2. Apemesim and Damon Gallippeau 0:57:49

3. Andrew Thiband, Bill Anderson 0:58:26

Class 7, Recreational – K-1 Single Kayak:

1. Jim Greehey 1:08:39

Class 8, Recreational – Women’s Kayak – K-1:

1. Leslie Gregoire 1:04:27

2. Victoria Bartchell 1:26:43

Class 9, Recreational – Kayak for two people – K-2:

1. Timothy Johnston, Orion Fleming 1:03:56

2. Peter Devine, Colby Burton 1:13:46

Class 10, Recreational – One Person Open Canoe – OC-1:

1.Jack Burke 1:12:05

2. Ryder Drinkert 1:18:08

Class 11, Recreational – Two Person Open Canoe, Short – OC-2:

1. Martin Hamilton, Margaret Hughes 0:55:51

2. Rebecca and Orrin Huetner 1:14:59

3. Bryan Albee, Justin Lawson 1:15:04

4. Andrew Hutchins, Corey Bjornson 0:00:00

Class 12, Recreational – Two Person Open Canoe, Medium – OC-2:

1. Dwight Blease and Alden Blease 1:01:04

2. Chad Robertson, Greg Caruso 1:03:44

3. Peggy McKee, Ellen Mallory 1:08:14

4. Evan and Kaleb Worthing 1:24:44

Class 13, Recreational – Junior/Senior Open Canoe – OC-2:

1. Evan Smith, Jeff Owen 0:57:50

2. Mackenzie Todd, Mason Hartery 1:07:04

3. Chris and Wyeth LaMotte 1:20:44

Class 14, Recreational – Former Sailors Freestyle Canoe – OC-2:

1. Terry Westcott, Eric Gallandt 1:03:13

Class 15, Challenge – Couples Challenge – OC-2:

1. Jake Berry and Charley Martin-Berry 1:08:40

2. James Pullen, Jenene Parrish 1:14:52

Class 16, Challenge – Key Club/High School Challenge – OC-2:

1. Emma Eckert, Camden La Bree 1:12:47

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