On Saturday, October 31, we held our annual Otter Creek Challenge youth open-water rowing race at the Vergennes Basin on Otter Creek. All things aligned perfectly for this pandemic-era rowing race: A full moon in the sky, an early morning start in a crisp 18 degrees with no wind at race time, and (most importantly) it was Halloween.
With the Vergennes Falls as the striking backdrop to the race, 147 rowers from Mt. Abraham Union Middle and High School, Vergennes Middle and High School, Champlain Valley Union High School, Rice Memorial High School, South Burlington High School, and Burlington High School showed up, many in costume, to row their hearts out. Spirits were high, the competition was lively, and the costumes were out of this world.
Novice rowers raced a two-mile course and intermediate and experienced rowers took on a three-mile course. With the low water levels we’ve had recently in Lake Champlain and Otter Creek, there were plenty of obstacles in the water along the race course making this annual challenge race even more challenging for each team’s coxswain.
Similar to our Wakefield Rescue Row, this race was run in a time-trial format as each team showed up for their own individual time slot over the course of the day, with boats and oars sanitized in between each heat. Race times were tracked in real time on a white board onsite and shared online through live updates on our Instagram (watch a recap of live footage on Instagram as well!).
All teams garnered either a first or second place finish. See below for a full chart of race times and division winners:
And what about the costumes? Teams who came in costume all competed in an unofficial costume contest. Click through the gallery below to see the costumes of the day and join us in congratulating our costume contest winners: The Mt. Abraham Union High Bananas!
While this race marks the end of the 2020 Fall Rowing Season for some of our Champlain Longboats Youth Rowing League, several teams will continue to row until mid-November. Keep an eye out for our iconic pilot gigs and tag us @lakechamplainmaritime if you take a photo.
We want to give a huge shout-out to all of our coaches and volunteers who made this fall pandemic rowing season a possibility. Being able to row this fall helped us all connect and have some sense of normalcy in a year that has been anything but normal.
Otter Creek Challenge Photo Gallery
All photos by Buzz Kuhns
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