Tippicanoe Race in Lafayette, IN 5.13.17

Tippecanoe Race Report and Results 5.13.17

Terry Pontius must have been behaving himself this year; I don’t think I’ve ever seen nicer conditions or a larger turnout for the Tippecanoe Race, our traditional season opener.  The Hoosier Regatta would have had the honors this year, but an excessive dumping of rain “dampened” the prospects of that race.  Sort of ironic when you think of cancelling a canoe race due to too much water, but when the starting location of the race is several feet underwater precautions must be observed.  At Tippe we had just enough extra water to make the morning race pretty much hazard-free, while you would have had to work at it in the afternoon race to collide with a rock (the water levels were a little lower and the wind somewhat stronger in the afternoon).

Weirdness was heavily minimized this year, with one exception: as Terry Pontius and Brent Ernsberger headed down river, they passed a woman who told them she wouldn’t kill the snake until they passed.  A few seconds later both men nearly fell out of their boats as this dear woman apparently sent the snake on to its eternal reward by means of a shotgun – the noise of which neither paddler was expecting!  During our meeting following the races someone not far off start doing a bit of target shooting, leading us to remark that they must be dealing with one heck of a tough snake if it took that many rounds to do it in!

The start of the race went off without a hitch, and I had a relatively smooth and solitary run to the end – once the “hut…hut…hut” of the C2 Gilman boat faded in the distance.  There were some ripples here and there and a fairly light wind later in the race, but the only real challenges to remaining vertical came in the form of two fishing boats that went zooming by.  Thankfully they were heading upstream so it was simply a matter of turning head-on into the wake and riding through it.

Little did I know that behind me a fierce battle for C1 dominance was taking place.  Bill Kanost, Tom Thomas, and Ted Beatty were running side-by-side for almost the first half of the race.  But being the unsociable type of guy he is, Bill decided that “two’s company and three’s a crowd”.  Lowering his head, ol’ Bill laid into that paddle and pulled a “Kanost”, dropping Tom and Ted like hot potatoes.  Now Tom wasn’t one to take that sitting down.  Or maybe he was, since he isn’t into high-kneel paddling, but he poured out his heart chasing down Bill.  Alas, Bill was tuned a bit too highly to allow himself to be overtaken, but Tom kept second place fairly close.  Ted, rueing his decision to race C1 instead of smoking me with his down-river kayak, nevertheless pulled in third about 2 minutes behind Tom.  Skeet Craig, just weeks out of eye surgery, pulled in just a few seconds behind Ted.  I had a sneaking suspicion as I was meandering down the river that it wouldn’t be wise to let up; Bill & the gang were out for blood.  Or at least inattentive kayakers.

In hot pursuit of the Three Amigos C1ers, the Gilman’s followed with the hut…hut…hut of their C2 mixed boat, claiming the only lack of marital harmony along the way came at the end.  Lacking any means of verification, we believe their claim, especially noting they were able to fill in the gap between Tom and Ted in the overall standing.

Matt Conrad was back in fine form, leading the Sea Kayakers and coming in only 1 second behind Ted’s C1.  Awesome performance Matt! Larry Swift and Ken Stelter were dueling it out at this race, Larry paddling his recently acquired Epic V10 Sport while Ken Stelter demonstrating his newfound comfort level in his home-built Pax 18.  Larry hadn’t planned on attending this race, but the day was so nice he couldn’t resist.

Deb Kanost is really demonstrating a mastery of her kayak, coming in just seconds behind Ken Stelter and just ahead of Dave Hendrich. Terry and Brent manage to survive the snake attack and had a great paddle otherwise, with Terry rounding out the C1 field and Brent dominating the K1 Down River class.

Wendy Brinson joined in the fun, paddling a C1 rec canoe so light you could see through it.  She and Sue Douglas paddled Recreational.  Sue is our newest paddler, and she opted to paddler her trusty more stable sea kayak until she’s more comfortable with her Epic 18X.  Lori brought her plastic sea kayak to stay with Sue and help her learn some racing strategy.  It was really neat to see Lori give up a speed run to pass along the knowledge she had been given previously.  Lori said Bob Stwalley mentored her at this race previously, so she felt it was something she wanted to do as well.  Great job Lori!

The now legendary duo of George Tinsley and Hilman Culp wrapped up the race in their classic aluminum canoe, enjoying the trip to the fullest!

Afternoon racing participation was limited, with Bill and Deb Kanost running C2 and our ever faithful timer Roger Crisp heading out in his stunning stripwood kayak.  With the offer of two C2 canoes and a desire to run the river on the “dark side”, I launched out in search of a partner.  Everyone said “no”, but something in Lori’s voice told us she had the possibility of being convinced.   Expressing concern that she had only been in a canoe three times and doubtful of her abilities, the remainder of our paddling gang convinced her she would have a good time and find it a great training opportunity.  Eventually Lori gave in, and the rest is history.  Or at least she had a lot of fun, running her first canoe race and doing an excellent job in the process.  We really pushed the Kanost’s hard in the afternoon race.  We were just pushing from a little further back… J

Many thanks to Terry Pontius for putting on a great race and to Roger Crisp for timing the morning runs!

Results are listed below.  My GPS gave the distance as 9.75 miles.



Morning Race Results

C-1 Man  

1st      Bill Kanost           1:10:01

2nd     Tom Thomas         1:10:58

3rd     Ted Beatty            1:12:53

4th      Skeet Craig          1:13:01

5th      Dave Hendrich      1:17:59

6th     Terry Pontius         1:20:40

K-1 Man Sea Kayak

1st Matt Conrad              1:12:54

2nd Ken Stelter               1:16:59

K-1 Woman Sea Kayak

1st  Deb Kanost              1:17:11

2nd Lori Blaylock             1:35:20


1st Steve Horney             1:08:56

2nd Larry Swift                1:16:53

K-1 Downriver 

1st   Brent Ernsberger     1:21:16


1st   Windy Brinson         1:35:30

2nd  Sue Douglas            1:35:53

C-2 Mixed

1st  Sonja Gilman / Guy Gilman    1:11:53

C-2 Aluminum

1st  George Tinsley / Hilman Culp   1:22:56

Afternoon Race Results

C-2 Men

1st  Deb Kanost / Bill Kanost                   1:13:24

2nd  Lori Blaylock / Steven Horney            1:20:12


1st  Roger Crisp     1:22:32


Comment by Pont: “Weather was super along with the water level of 4.50.”



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