'OCN' is Opaskwayak Cree Nation, the reserve on the bank of the Saskatchewan River opposite the Pas in Manitoba. A 6-hour drive from Saskatoon, just getting to the Pas is a northern adventure. This year was the 50th anniversary of Treaty Days festival, an amazing array of sport and cultural events: pow wow and jig dancing, trapper competitions, archery, ax throwing, running, biking, talent competitions, and... canoeing, of course!
The canoe race is about 2 hours of racing every day for 3 days, and placing is by sum of times over all the days. The course on days 1 and 3 is 4 laps around buoys on the river in front of the community centre. On day 2 there is one lap then a looooong slog upstream followed by a portage over to a lake and a finish on the lake beach. The community is small but super friendly and involved in the events. People watched from all along the river bank, cheering and commenting on the action, particularly at the buoy turns where a lot of jostling and re-positioning happens.
Saskatoon Canoe Club Members had a very successful event:
Ivan English (with partner Mike Vincent of Regina): 1st overall
Catherine Trask and Alex Buck: 5th overall, 1st mixed
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