USCA – Indiana Division
Fall Meeting & Awards Banquet
Food, fun, and fellowship is probably a good description of our end-of-year meeting today. 10 or so of us gathered at St Patrick Park around some excellent food, before proceeding to awards, a small amount of business, and then to our classic post-meeting easy, recreational paddle. If you believe that last one, you don’t know racers…
Naturally most of the talk focused on paddling. Matt Meersman regaled us with an exciting blow-by-blow description of the recent Elkhart Race (Ted Beatty, Brent Ernsberger, John Christensen, Steve Petersen, and Austin Schwinn competed as well), followed by some details about the AuSable saga (for those who don’t know, Matt and his partner won this year’s AuSable Race – an astounding feat!) Talk also went to tales of the past and people we’ve known.
I don’t have all the awards memorized, but Brent did a great job going over everyone’s points and then who ultimately prevailed. It wasn’t always the fastest – sometimes the most persistent (attended the most races) won. If I recall correctly, Bill Kanost won C1 Man, Hilman Culp Jr. won C2 Aluminum (he did one more race than George), Deb Kanost won K1 Woman Sea Kayak, Matt Conrad won K1 Man Sea Kayak, Brent Ernsberger won K1 Downriver, Guy and Sonja Gilman won C2 Mixed, and I won K1 Open and OC1. We also had one Rookie award: Kymberly Byers.
This year’s Paddler of the Year was split between two people, for very different reasons. Matt Meersman won for bringing glory to Indiana with his phenomenal win of the AuSable Marathon. My wife, Julie Horney, also won for the incredible work she did in fully recreating our website (https://indianapaddlers.com/) and in keeping it updated. Congratulations to both of you!
Two items of business were discussed this year: a recap of the Nationals and an intriguing offer to train Culver Military Academy cadets in the fine art of canoe (and kayak) paddling. A former Olympic team canoe paddler (with Roland Muhlen) and Culver alumni is wanting to train approximately 1400 Culver cadets, and he wants the help of the USCA if possible. Ideally he’d like someone available for up to 6 weeks (room & food provided, along with a small stipend). That might be a tough challenge, unless someone who’s retired or possibly college age wants to get involved, but we might be able to rotate volunteers through for a day or two each. If you’re interested, let me know. This would be an awesome opportunity to get young people involved in paddling. Apparently Culver has already purchased a number of Wenonah canoes for the training.
Following the meeting we hit the St. Joe River for a beautiful afternoon of paddling. Brent Ernberger, Roger Crisp, and his daughter Julie had to leave, but the rest of us went at it. Ted Beatty paddled his pretty wood C1 (his carbon boat had some damage from the Elkhart race), Matt and Danielle Meersman paddled C2, while Bill Kanost, Paul Kane, and I paddled kayaks. Deb Kanost wanted to hike instead, so she headed out for a 3 mile hike while our paddling gang went out for a 6 or so mile paddle to the island and back. Going upstream to the island we pushed it pretty hard, being “slightly” competitive, but we backed off just a bit for the downstream return. Ted even took a voluntary swim up at the island. What a great way to put a cap on the season! Ya’ should’ve been there! 🙂