'Round the Island Canoe Race draws two dozen competitors to Higley Flow in Colton
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 8:51 am


Allen Kelly, the overall race winner, is pictured on the right.

Racers begin paddling during one of the heats.

COLTON -- The ‘Round the Island Canoe Race recently featured 24 canoe and kayak racers in the waters of Higley Flow.

Many racers proclaimed this year as one of the most memorable of the twenty years the race has existed, according to race officials.

There were many families in the race, paddling together in canoes or separately in kayaks. The four-mile race and the one-mile fledgling race were followed by heated pedal boat competitions with both youth and adults participating.

Fastest times of the day went to Mary and Allen Kelly, 39.15 and 35.25 respectively, and Eli Thomas in fledgling at 9.24.

Had an award been given for a family brought together over the largest geographical area it might have gone to the Harrison family of Stowe as summer resident Sam Harrison, was joined by her daughter Abby, a student at Colorado State, and her son, Julian, stationed in Tacoma, Washington, with the Army Rangers. Each participated in their respective kayak classes, garnering one first and two Seconds.

Three unique awards were presented: Mary Kelly of Rensselaer Falls won the Chris Murphy Memorial Award for her excellence in paddling and her enthusiasm for the race. Chris set the tone for this family oriented event for many years. The Veteran Paddler Award, given in memory of C.M. Palmer, former racer and avid advocate for bringing people into outdoor activities, by his family went to Jim Plumley of Colton. Spencer Bartkus won the Phyllis Baker Youth Sportsmanship Award. Phyllis was a long time officer of the club and supporter of all activities.

The highlight of the day was the drawing for the kayak previously paddled by C.M. Palmer, donated by son Larry Palmer, of Higley. In a fairytale like scenario, Todd Harris, summer Higley resident and Norwood resident saw the information about the raffle on the internet on the morning of the race. A former neighbor and friend of Charlie’s in Norwood; he had actually paddled the boat; he recognized the unlikelihood that he might win it, but felt compelled to at least come to the race and submit his name. Out of the hundreds of names to draw from, his was chosen.

Charlie was a proud member of 101st Airborne, having fought in the European Theatre in WWII. The 101st was the precursor of the Army Rangers. Charlie knew Julian Harrison when Julian was just a toddler. Julian, recently back from deployment to Afghanistan, was asked to honor Charlie by drawing the winning ticket.

Race winners were as follows:

Women’s Canoe-Becky Bartkus, Janet Bickford

Youth Canoe-Spencer Bartkus, Jacob Thomas

Fledgling Canoe-Mary Kate Mace, J.J. Levandowski

Men’s Composite Long Kayak-Allen Kelly

Men’s Long Rotomolded-Dave Everding

Women’s Long Composite-Mary Kelly

Women’s Long Rotomolded-Abby Harrison

Men’s Medium-Ron Morrow

K2-Kim & Lynde Wangler

Women’ Short-Diane Miller

Youth Kayak-KC Bartkus

Flegling-Eli Thomas

Young Fledgling-Jayden Burcum