59th Canton Canoe Weekend sees over 100 paddlers from several states compete
Lisa and Dave Guccione, Canton, were among the participants in the Rushton Recreational Races held Sunday at Taylor Park. Over 100 paddlers were in the 59th annual Canton Canoe Weekend. Photo provided by Blanche Town.
BY CHERYL SHUMWAY
North Country This Week
CANTON – Over 100 paddlers from several states competed at the 59th annual Canton Canoe Weekend last weekend at Taylor Park, but without the usual Canadian participants.“I was really happy with the turnout, with all the pandemic restrictions,” said organizer Gene Newman. “There were a good number who came this year and the support from the community has been great.”
“Everybody is happy to get out and do things this year,” he added.
The many Canadians who usually come were unable to cross the border this year, due to COVID restrictions.
The event was cancelled last year, and this year it was a scaled down version of past years, with major Pro events all held on Saturday alone. Distances of the longer races were shortened to 8 miles to fit into the tighter schedule.
The races were a mix of professionals, amateurs and recreational paddlers.
Many of the paddlers came from Michigan, including C-1 Pro Men’s winner Mike Davis and C1 Pro Women winner Mary Schlimmer.
Among the local participants were Canton’s Peter Cain, Blanche Town, Matt Skeels, Fernando Pantoja, Martin Duffany, Paula Jensen-Moulton, Debra and Paul Backus, Marty Duffany, Lyn Short, Lisa and David Guccione ; Potsdam’s Eileen Visser, Bill Jemison, Will Siegfried, Charlie Shene, Emily and Oscar Shaw; Rensselaer Falls Allen and Mary Kelly; and Heuvelton Kerry Newell.
“It’s a real competition here. This is a really vibrant paddling group. They are very friendly and very competitive,” said volunteer Elizabeth Cain.
“We’ve been trying to grow the race with more paddlers over the years. There is great potential as a St. Lawrence County tourist destination,” said Cain.