King of Clubs 2011 – September 3, 2011 – Ottawa River
The 2011 King of Clubs has drawn to a close. It was another amazing event for rank and file kayakers to engage in friendly competitions that crush opposing kayak clubs. The gathering of the clubs started Friday night of Labour Day but the real work started months before. First off a decision of location had to made. We were approached by the Ottawa Kayak Festival to join our events with their competition. For this year, it was decided not to mess with a good thing and to keep the King of Clubs at River Run. Part of the allure of River Run is that the friendly rivalry between the clubs continues all weekend as we visit/attack opposing teams’ camps. We were not sure that we could arrange the same format with the Wilderness camping set up. Then we had to decide on events as well as rules for the events. There was some jockeying by club representatives to skew rules in their club’s favour (or at least to make sure the other team did not have an unfair advantage). There were discussions of safety and logistics but finally all was ready.
Then Friday night, as the kayakers rolled in, questions about events were asked. The number one question I heard was “What happened to the Cardboard boat race?” The second question was from people pulling in past midnight which was “Why the hell isn’t this thing being held on Sunday?” I am pretty sure that we’ll be resolving both those issues next year.
This year we had 5 clubs competing. Georgian Bay (GBKC), Western (WKC), Guelph (GKC), Kawartha Whitewater Paddlers (KWP) and the returning champions from 2010 the Petawawa River Rats (PRR). All in all we had 115 competitors and another 20 or so spectators, groupies, what have you.
Scoring for the competition started early in the year at Hell or High Water. (A fantastic race that’s main goal is to raise awareness that the Petawawa river is in danger of being dammed and a fantastic natural kayak run stolen from recreational boaters).
At the HOHW race the top five racers’ times are tallied to decide the winning teams. As with all of our events, the scoring is 5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third and 2 points for participation. The scoring at HOHW was as follows:
KWP 5, Guelph 4, CdB 3, PRR 2, CUKC 2, WKC 2, MW 2, GBKC 0
Saturday morning, after a 7:45am meeting where waivers were returned, we headed to the river for 9am so we could put on the river and be ready for the relay race at 10 am sharp.
After a short delay, the event began. I competed in this event for Guelph and although we missed one eddy and experienced problems with one rubber chicken (baton) hand off, we also had some quite flawless legs. The Guelph team time was a blistering 7:22. After hearing that and remembering some times in previous years of 11 minutes, I was sure the GKC had clinched this event. My confidence did not last; the little upstart group from the University of Western Ontario crushed our time by one minute hauling in a time of 6:23. But that time didn’t stand because the Petawawa River Rats used their home river advantage to show everyone who was boss. They crushed us all with a time of 5:20 and it was the time to beat. No one came close. Georgian Bay put in a respectable 8:52 and the KWP put in an unrespectable 10:21. This destroyed the lead the KWP had coming into KOC and caused a 3 way tie for first place between PRR, KWP and GKC with 7 points each. Western moved up to 4th with 6 and the GBKC was in 5th with 2 points.
We then moved on to the boat rescue event. Two boats from each team were thrown into the river behind Garb while two rescuers from each team waited below Waikiki wave. This event was very close and kept the officials on their toes. In order to finish all four boats from each team had to be on shore (two rescuers and two rescuees). Jesse from Western was the first with both boats on shore but all four GKC boats managed to be safe on shore before Jesse’s Western team mate could land his boats. When the sand had settled, the order of finish was Guelph, WKC, PRR, Georgian and KWP. A protest was lodged by the KWP because their rescue boat was saved out from under them by another team. However, since it was by the Georgian club it didn’t affect the standings.
With these results, the Guelph club snuck into the lead with 12 points, PRR and WKC had 10, KWP close with 9 and Georgian was bringing up the rear with 4.
Next, we moved on to one of the premier events of the KOC. The advanced boater cross. This is where the top boaters from each team race each other down the largest rapids on the Ottawa: Normans and Coliseum. The first year saw this event run at 3 feet which made Coliseum much more formidable and tended to spread out the teams. At lower water (-1.25 on the gauge), all of the clubs came in very close to one another. During the line up for the race it was discovered that Chuck of the Georgian contingent managed to forget his event so the amazing Clivey stepped in to fill his booties. Chuck was halfway down the race course watching 4/5th of his team pass and then he had to watch his stand-in float by in last place. The top three teams all thought they were first. In the end it was decided that Western won and GKC and KWP tied for 2nd with PRR and Georgian taking participation points.
This event helped WKC close the gap to within one point. It was GKC 16, WKC 15, KWP 13, PRR 12 and Georgian 6.
We then moved on to the Intermediate boater cross. Each team managed to have a full roster for this event. To make things more exciting, GKC included two canoes, a risky move since any advantage the canoes offered in slow water is balanced by the increased chance of a swim. The finish of this race was far easier to decide than the advanced race. Western took an easy first place. The last boat on the course seemed to be a GKC canoe but since one member from each of the other clubs was swimming this gave GKC a second place finish. KWP must have more practice reuniting swimmers with their boats because they beat the PRR and GBKC to the line to take 3rd place.
This made for a tie for first place between Guelph and Western at 20 points, KWP 16 points for third, PRR at 14 and GBKC with 8.
But this could all change as we were heading into the events that the PRR are very strong. The tractor pull is an event where brute strength and teamwork make the difference. Teams have to pull submerged barrels across the River Run Bay in the fastest time.
The event started with KWP pulling hard across the bay making good time. They were pulling so hard that they broke the dollar store carabiners that were holding the boats together. This temporarily halted the race until we could get more hardware. It was decided to let the KWP go last in order to give them time to recharge. GKC were first up with a time of 47.77, Western posted a time of 55.04 then PRR came up with a time of 51.03, shocking everyone present. GBKC crossed the line at 51.52 then the KWP shocked everyone by clinching 2nd with a time of 49.24. This pushed Western out of the high points and gave the Guelph club a 3 point lead going into the land events.
The standings were now 25 for GKC, 22 Western, 20 KWP, 17 PRR and 10 GBKC.
The first land event was the boat toss which is like a hammer throw only using a kayak. The KWP somehow managed to find a freak of nature that throws further than anyone. No matter how big they are or what they try, no one can take down Jacob. One person should not be able to win the event but he did make a difference. The scoring system is based on the distance of your team’s three longest throws. One of the throws has to be made by a woman. People were throwing respectable distances in the mid 30’s and one person tossed a boat 41 feet but Jacob hurled the boat 53 feet. When the distances were combined Georgian Bay threw for 93 feet, Western for 98 feet, Guelph for 101 feet, PRR for 103 feet and KWP took the win with 123 feet.
The final event was the throw rope accuracy toss. Two tosses from 5 players per team, 5 points for a hit, 0 for a miss. Now it has been brought to our attention that land events tend to be decided by the proximity of your team to a cooler. (The closer you are to your cooler the worse the scoring) This may have been proven since the KWP scored 5, WKC 10, PRR 10, GKC whose team members were fed rice cakes and juice until the event scored 30 but the GBKC whose team are all tea drinkers scored 35. So this event was not only the final event, it was also the first event that GBKC placed first and we congratulate them.
When all was tallied the GBKC totalled 17 points, PRR slipped from their mighty perch to score 24, KWP and Western tied for 2nd with 27 points each and the GKC were 1st with 32 points.
In between the water and land events, people entertained themselves with a slip n slide while a GKC trebuchet mounted on a truck launched water balloons at the Western club. The KWP were saved from a soaking because of poor engineering which cause the throwing arm to break.
Later that night, clubs took turns visiting each other’s campfires, where music was provided by club musicians. The rest of the weekend was spent playing on the many features of the Ottawa.
All of the participants were grateful for the put in and take out parking provided free of charge by Owl/MKC and Wilderness tours. River run provided the free use of their BBQ so that last year’s winning team could cook up the Saturday night meal.
Sally Ann Doyle with assistance from Kim Barrington and her son James saw to it that the River Rats put on a fantastic meal. (Perhaps if we had known in time the rest of the clubs could have thrown the event so they would have to prepare next years meal.)
Results sheet is attached.