Gasquet Raft Races

July 16, 2007 11:00 pm
 (The Daily Triplicate/ Ron Gastineau).
(The Daily Triplicate/ Ron Gastineau).

By Adam Madison

Triplicate staff writer

Del Norte County residents and visitors found a way to beat the heat in the Smith River at the 38th Annual Gasquet American Legion Hall Raft Race and Barbecue on July 14.

"This is the most entries I've ever had," said Candy Fox, event coordinator for the American Legion Hall in Gasquet.

"People are in (the race) from 6 years old to 75, some of the older guys do pretty well," said Jerry Johnson, who is serving his 10th year as scorekeeper for the races.

Johnson has been scorekeeper for 10 years.

"There were 96 entries last year, and 113 this year," Johnson said.

"We check here to make sure everyone crosses the finish line safely," said Johnson about himself and scorekeper Sunshine Watkin's duties.

"I'm pumped," said Tony Maestas as he raised his hands in triumph about his first place win in his division.

Maestas and his paddling partner James Woods finished first in the two-man-oar paddle division and 16th overall.

Maestas moved to Crescent City three years ago from Los Angeles. He watched the races each year, but entered for the first time this year.

"I told my boy next year we're getting top 10, Maestas said. "I'll be back every year."

"I never stopped, except to have a sip of my beer," said Steve Borglund, an employee of Mad River Brewery, one of the sponsors for the event.

Borglund received second place in the hand-paddled inflatables division.

Borglund also received an award for "Best Pirate," as he piloted his craft in a pirate costume.

Borglund came with his family from Blue Lake to attend the event.

"I feel great. It's a great accomplishment—two of my older boys with me made it better," said Del Norte County resident Jeremy Turner about his first place win with his two sons in their division.

"We have enough money for all the donations we wanted to make," Fox said.

According to Fox, 225 shirts were sold, leaving only 25 left over.

"There was only one package of meat left," Fox said, noting the success of the barbecue.

There was more than 260 pounds of meat cooked, leaving one 30-pound package.

All of the Taylor's hot dogs and polish sausages sold out at the barbecue as well, according to Fox.

Lost Coast Brewery, Mad River Brewery and Six Rivers Brewery, each donated beer for the event.

Six Rivers and Mad River breweries have donated beer to the event for seven years. Lost Coast has donated for four years, according to Birdena Williams, trafficking manager for Lost Coast Brewery.

"They gave them a camp spot and they feed them," said Williams of how the employees were compensated for their time.

Local businesses Ray's Food Place, Safeway and ShopSmart also donated to the event.

Proceeds are donated to "Support Our Troops," the Del Norte High School Scholarship Fund, the Gasquet Bible Church and Del Norte Youth among others, according to Fox.

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Gasquet Raft Race

First Place Winners

•Sponsored kayaks: Little Red School House

•Sponsored rafts: Benoit Designs and Fine Jewelry

•Inflatable kayaks: Ages 12 to 35–Tyson Cleveland and Perry Marlin, Ages 36 and up–Jeremy Turner and his sons Eric and Colson

•Oar driven rafts: Ages 12 to 16–Heather Milton and Nigel McKinnon, ages 17 to 40–Tony Maestas and James Wood, ages 41 and up–Jim and Jerye Mooney

•Hand paddled rafts: Ages 12 to 16–Cameron Merker, ages 17 to 40–Jim Segna, ages 41 and up– Gordon, Katie, Jonathan and Christopher Hanka and Brigette Florshutz

•Most unusual raft: Team Anonymous 2 (Identities kept a mystery for 2 years now)

•Booby prize: Mike Walz, for painting his body like a woman.

SOURCE: Candy Fox