Did you see all of the canoes on the Blanco River this past Saturday? Things were really skimming along! There were Boy Scouts everywhere. Blanco Boy Scouts Troop 497 is reviving the Canoe Races that started in 1970 and were held until the early 1980s. The intent is to have this as a yearly event.
There were Troops entered in the Races from San Marcos, Fredericksburg, Lockhart, Hutto, and, of course, Blanco. Most of the Troops had three teams signed up. Each team consisted of three Scouts whose combined age could not exceed forty four. Each boy had to be a registered Scout in the Troop for whom he was racing.
Larry Kuebel carted the canoes up the river to the starting line and started the races. Joe Lockwood, helped by Judge Don Barnett, timed each of the canoe teams as they crossed the finish line in the State Park. Volunteers Jim Heard and David Crawford officiated portage around Water’s Dam, and parents and scout leaders officiated portage around City Dam below Klepac Greenhouses. Dean Woodley represented BSA Capitol Area Council and Morgan Baxter, the BSA Hill Country District.
Jimmy Klepac offered a beautiful campsite on the bank of the Blanco River under giant pecan trees; without this camp area, the races could not have been held. Perry Kuebel offered her talents to draw up a design that was used for the t-shirts. It was a sight to see from the bridge with all the tents set up. The Scouts camped out Friday night and on Saturday morning the races began at 9am. There were 36 Scouts participating in the races and with leaders and spectators the crowd reached nearly a hundred.
Greg and Roberta Baker provided the prizes for the races. First place prize was a canoe and paddles. Second and third place prizes were camp cook stoves. Hutto Troop 12 took home the First Prize Canoe. Coming in Second and Third were Lockhart Troop 215 and San Marcos Troop 18. They each received a camp cook stove. Each scout from the top three teams also received a medal.
The Races began above Water’s Dam and the Scouts had to port their canoes around Water’s Dam and Flat Rock Dam and paddle hard to the finish at the dam in the State Park. The course was approximately a mile long. Blanco Scouts used the aluminum canoe that won the 1973 race for Mark Kuebel, Will Weber, and Mickey Lear.
There were only a few minor incidents such as a canoe being swamped and a strong head wind impeding progress. There were a few bumps, bruises and scrapes but nothing that could dampen the spirit of these Scouts. See you next year!