2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race

J.C. Jack Carbutt
B.J. Bill James
A.M. Al Moore
R.A. Ron Anderson
P.M. Paula Moore
L.S. Len Smith
B.H. Bob Harkins

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And on provincial scenes today, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be featuring highlights of the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race and the first of our highlights is an interview on the shore of the Stuart River, a few moments before starting time. Here is Bill James.

B.J. Interior Power Saw Sales and Service bring you another broadcast from the bank of the Stuart River where the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race is about to start in just a few minutes now. We have some canoers from Prince George here we’d like to talk to for a moment. First of all, we have Al Moore and Al, this is your second year, I understand, on the course

A.M. Yes, that’s right, Bill.

B.J. And, what’s your position last year, Al, do you remember?

A.M. Ah, position, second.

B.J. Second, by the way. And at that time, who was your partner.

A.M. My brother, Clarence.

B.J. And where is Clarence?

A.M. My brother is (unintelligible) William’s.

B.J. I see, so who is your new partner this year? Perhaps you’d like to introduce him to us.

A.M. Yes, Mr. Ron Anderson.

B.J Ron, would you come over here? Were you in the race last year, Ron?

R.A. Yes, I was Bill.

B.J. And who was your partner last year?

R.A. Gordon Wilson.

B.J. And how did you make out?

R.A. We come in fifth.

B.J. You came in fifth. Well this is the second time that you guys have decided to let yourselves take this punishment. Now, tell me, why are you doing it?

R.A. Sportsmanship I guess.

B.J. Well, look, I wanna ask you the same question, Al. What made you come back and try this thing all over again this year?

A.M Well, (tape cuts out) rapid (tape cuts out) gives me the feeling that somehow man should beat them.

B.J. Well, I guess that the spirit it takes for these boys to 14 or 15 hours down that river. Well, we have another interesting little thing here and that is the wives of these two canoers, have come down to the show here this morning, to see them off. And (unintelligible) you’ll be down at Prince George later on, will you not Paula?

P.M. That’s right, I sure will.

B.J. And by the way, this is Mrs. Al Moore. Well, what do you think of your husband taking that trip down there?

P.M. I (tape cuts out)

B.J. (tape cuts out) After that race last year.

P.M. He was (unintelligible)

B.J. He really was (tape cuts out)

P.M. He certainly was, very surprising.

B.J. It didn’t seem to bother him too much at all.

P.M. No it certainly didn’t. (tape cuts out)

B.J. Well that’s wonderful. You’re not too worried or concerned about it at all?

P.M. Not really, no. I am right (tape cuts out)

B.J. Well that’s wonderful.

J.C. And now the time is 4:34 on Friday morning, July 17th and time for the starting of the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race, 139 miles of treacherous waters, including the Stuart, Nechako and Fraser Rivers. Here is Bill James to report to you.

B.J. Interior Power Saw Sales and Service, your (unintelligible) dealer in Prince George, brings you the broadcast of the start of the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race from Fort St. James. I am now standing on the bank of the Stuart Lake and the canoes are now slipping out into the water and are lining up against the rope which has been let out from shore and is anchored about 150 feet out from shore to a riverboat. The canoeists are lining up, all 15 of them, that is 30 canoeists with 15 canoes. The rear canoe man is taking hold of the rope from the rear of the canoe. And at the signal, of course, this race will begin and probably you will be able to hear the shotgun rapport when the gun is fired.

Del Morlan (phonetic spelling) is now on the shore, he is the chairman of the Canoe Race Committee of the Prince George Rod and Gun Club and he is shouting instructions to the canoeists as they line up for the start of this big race, 140 miles down to Prince George. Canoe number 15, R. Alexander and G. Smith of Fort St. James has lined up followed by P. Marshall and S. Hall of Prince George in canoe 14. Then Wilson and Rob Chalmers (phonetic spelling) of Summit Lake in canoe 13. Charlie Davidson and George Smith of Vanderhoof in canoe number 12. Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner of (unintelligible) Michigan in 11. Leroy and Albert Whiting (phonetic spelling) of Holly, Michigan in number 10. Jimmy and Andy Miller of Summit Lake in number 9. Gordon Wilson and Arthur Bracey (phonetic spelling) of Prince George in number 8. Leo Le Rock (phonetic spelling) and Dan Dennsion of Vanderhoof in number 7. Wayne Stolts (phonetic spelling) and Elwood Morris of Isle Pierre in number 6. Bill Blackburn and Neil Patterson of Prince George in number 5 canoe. Arnold and Harry Schwartz of Prince George in number 4. Dave Blackburn and Eddy Dion (phonetic spelling) of Fort St. James in number 3. Frank and Bob Buchanan (phonetic spelling) of Summit Lake in canoe number 2. And in canoe number 1,  A.M. Moore and Ron Anderson of Prince George. There you have the line up and almost all the canoes are lined up at that rope stretched out into Stuart Lake. And final instructions are being shouted by Del Morlan. The photographers down here are very, very busy, we’ve got amateurs and professionals. The newspaper photographers are down here snapping pictures. You’ll see those pictures in tomorrow’s newspaper, perhaps today’s newspaper.

Shouldn’t be more than a few minutes now before the start of this race. And a very, very busy town has been Fort St. James these past few hours.

The chairman of the Canoe Race Committee, Del Morlan, has just announced that the countdown will begin in approximately five minutes, so that means that one man will shout out loud and clear number 10, 9, 8, 7, 6… Sort of a Cape Canaveral type thing, and of course when they reach zero, bang goes the gun and away go the canoes. So we’re waiting for that to happen right now.

There are many, many boats down here this morning. Many, many riverboats and other type crafts. All official boats in this canoe race. There is the press boat of course, and boats operated by the Prince George Rod and Gun Club. Many of them are safety boats, some of them are spotters. One boat will follow the last canoe down to make sure that tabs will be kept on all the canoes in this race.

Well, the canoes seem to be all lined up at this time. Some of the canoeists are flapping back and forth because it’s very cool here in Fort St. James this morning. I might add that comparing this year’s start of the race with last year’s, there’s quite a difference. I remember last year it was five o’clock in the morning when the race actually began, instead of this earlier time and the Stuart Lake was whipped by quite strong winds, so dangerous in fact that they couldn’t leave at the earlier time. This year the lake is very calm the weather is cool but there’s no winds and the visions are ideal. There is lots of light at this time of morning. Just coming from the other direction now, up river so to speak, on the Stuart Lake is an RCMP boat, and that boat will be patrolling the river course throughout the day, to see to it that these canoeists are not interfered with.

Just trying to catch was Del Morlan is shouting to the canoeists down at the shore. He says I am starting the countdown. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. And there they go, ladies and gentlemen, the start of the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race and they’re away and are they ever away. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a wonderful sight to see these boys shoving off from here this morning. And now people having seen the race begin are dashing up to their cars here in Fort St. James and they’re going to race further down to a vantage point along the Stuart Rapids where they can watch the canoes go through those rapids.

J.C. Now we pick up on a rerun of the race held Friday. We pick up Bill James at the Stuart River Rapids.

B.J. A short time ago we passed down the Stuart River Rapids. A plane just flying by us right now, and the highlight of this race so far is the two entries from the state of Michigan in this canoe race are leading this race by far. Here are the line-ups as the canoes pass through Stuart Canyon. Canoe number 11 manned by Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner from of (unintelligible), Michigan was in first place. Canoe number 10 manned by Leroy and Albert Whiting of Holly, Michigan was in second place. Third came Jimmy and Andy Miller of Summit Lake. In fourth place Frank and Bob Buchanan also of Summit Lake. In fifth place Bill Blackburn and Neil Patterson of Prince George. In sixth placeA.M. Moore and Ron Anderson also of Prince George. In seventh place, Dave Blackburn and Eddy Dion of Fort St. James. In eighth place, Glen Wilson and Rob Chalmers of Summit Lake. In ninth place Arnold and Harry Schwartz of Prince George. In tenth place, Charlie Davidson and George Smith of Vanderhoof. There you have the first ten positions in the Northwest Brigade Canoe Race up to this time. Another highlight of the race as the canoeists came through the Stuart River Rapids was that the first capsized canoe in the history of the Northwest Brigade Canoe Race took place at the Stuart River Rapids and the dubious honour goes to canoe number 7 manned by Leo Le Rock and Dan Dennison of Vanderhoof. However, the boys did not give up the race at that point. They went to shore, went to shallower water, dumped out their canoe, continued on their way and now, I believe, have passed two or three canoes and are on their way up in this race.

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B.J. At this time we know of 5 canoes that have dropped out of the race leaving 10 still in. Here is a list of canoes that are still in the race at this time according to the information we have. Number 6 manned by Wayne and Morris of Isle Pierre. Canoe number 7 manned Leo Le Rock and Dan Dennison from Vanderhoof. Canoe number 13 manned by Glen Wilson and Rob Chalmers of Summit Lake. Canoe number, number 15 manned by R. Alexander and G. Smith of Fort St. James. They are the canoeists that are out of the race at this time, and incidentally, ladies and gentlemen, we are, just at this moment, going through the Chilako Rapids behind by approximately 100 yards is the team of Leroy and Albert Whiting of Holly, Michigan and they are the second place canoe in this race. We are now moving further down river and shortly we hope to be able to see the fellas who are in first place. The big mystery down here right now for all of us, and I imagine for those of you at home too, is what has happened to the Miller canoe manned by Jimmy and Andy Miller of Summit Lake, canoe number 9. (unintelligible sequence) and whether or not that was a mistake (unintelligible) has been made. Perhaps the canoe was (tape cuts out) … We don’t know but we do hope that we find out soon and clear up what has happened to the canoe number 9 manned by the Millers of Summit Lake. And that’s a brief report from the Chilako rapids on today’s Northwest Brigade Canoe Race and brought to you by Interior Power Saw Sales and Service through the facilities of the Northwest Telephone Company.

J.C. And from this point the race seemed to move very quickly to completion. Our next report received from Bill James was at Miworth.

B.J. Our position right now is Miworth. We are at Miworth, 13 miles by river from Prince George we are right alongside canoe number 7 manned by Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner of (unintelligible), Michigan, and they are way in the lead. Their counterparts from Michigan are approximately 2 to 3 miles behind them so these are the boys evidently who are going to be arriving in Prince George in approximately an hour and a half’s time. I am sure that you will be able to see these boys from the Nechako Bridge or the Fraser Bridge within an hour and a half. These boys have been paddling very hard. They have slowed down their pace somewhat as they pull alongside here and we see that one of them has a very deep suntan where the other one has just today and evidently developed what would appear to be quite a severe burn. These are the boys of course who we told you earlier won the Michigan International Marathon at a distance of 240 miles in 17 hours and 20 minutes. And they have certainly proven themselves to be the champions that we knew they were when they arrived here. Our position now is approximately one hour canoe’s time from Prince George. We expect to be in Prince George with the winning canoe in approximately one hour. I understand that you folks down there have heard the story about canoe number 9 manned by Andy Miller and Jim Miller of Summit Lake. So, from what we understand at this time a total of 6 canoes have dropped out of this race today. That means that as far as we know there are 9 canoes still in the race. Here is a list of the canoes that have dropped out today. Canoe number 6 manned by Wayne Stolts and Elwood Morris of Isle Pierre, canoe number 7 manned by Leo Le Rock and Dan Dennison of Vanderhoof, canoe number 9 manned by Jimmy and Andy Miller of Summit Lake, canoe number 13, Glen Wilson and Rob Chalmers of Summit Lake, canoe number 14 P. Marshall and S. Hall of Prince George and canoe number 15 R. Alexander and G. Smith of Fort St. James. We are now just coming up side by side with the winning canoeists in this race so far and I might add they’re winning by, we would estimate, three of four miles over their companions from Michigan, and the winning canoeists of course are Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner in canoe number 11 of (unintelligible), Michigan and canoe should be arriving at Fort George Park in approximately one hour from now.

Our location now as closely as we can estimate it, is seven to eight miles from Prince George. So it won’t be very long before that leading canoe comes into view of those of you who may be waiting at Fort George Park at the new Nechako Bridge, the old Nechako Bridge and the Fraser Bridge, and so on. Of course the stands as far as we’re concerned are still the same. It is still Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner of (unintelligible), Michigan in first place, well ahead of their companions Leroy and Albert Whiting of Holly, Michigan. When we last had a further report than that it was still the Buchanans in third place, quite well behind the two American canoes.

I’d like to talk now to Mr. Les Smith who is the manager of Interior Power Saw Sales and Service. Throughout the past few days, Les, we have been traveling around with the help of (tape cuts out) Scott at Water Motors and I’d like you to tell us just how this motor has performed.

L.S. Well actually, it’s just a form without a hitch. If there is one thing I should say, Bill, it’s that a (unintelligible) motor is fuelled and the fuel for this motor is Imperial Fuel and Oils and they’re kindly supplied by, and as is all the fuel for the all the boats in this race, the safety boats, there’s about 8, it’s supplied courtesy of Imperial Oil Company. But the motors perform without a hitch on this oil so it’s good (unintelligible).

B.J. Well, thank you very much Les Smith and I’m very glad you brought that up Les. Imperial Oil of Prince George has supplied all the gasoline and believe me we burnt up a lot of it in the last few days, not only our own boats but the boats being operated by the Prince George Rod and Gun Club, various officials and so on, and (unintelligible) ladies and gentlemen, we’d just like to give our thanks to Imperial Oil in Prince George. Well, we have given you our approximate location and we hope you’re going to be waiting there at Fort George Park for us and we’ll be talking to Jack Carbutt and Ron East along the shore there before very long.

J.C. Well as we said anytime now, anytime at all, we should see that canoe heading right down here to the finish line and apparently that canoe is canoe number 11. That’s the way it will be marked if everything is set up and nothing happens to them just coming around here number 11 and will be in number 1 post position Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner of Michigan. And we hope when these boys get out of the canoe and are driven back up here that all of you around will give them a great big hand clap and a great big and a great big cheer as they come down for that matter. 13 and a half hours on a day like this that’s a wonderful time and they must be, apparently are, in very, very good shape. We’ll see in a short while. Now, I wonder Ron over in the Nechako, have you seen any sign of any other canoes? We’ll butt in on top of you in a moment if we need it right back.

R.E. Okay Jack, thanks very much. The second canoe hasn’t come in sight yet and I imagine you’ll be interrupting us very quickly there as our (unintelligible) is nearly at the mouth of the Nechako River where it empties into the Fraser. They’ll have to swing fairly wide out in there among those islands before you’ll see them, but I imagine you will be interrupting us fairly quickly. The RCMP boat has gone by and is now down in front of the Cache area, also another boat, a very fast white speedboat, went sailing by here and under the bridge and even there he got quite a cheer from the people on the bridge itself. As we say we’re still waiting for that second canoe and at least 2 miles now between the (unintelligible) the lead canoe to be at the junction of the Stuart and Fraser and as far up as we can see here and still no sign of the second one. But I’ll hand it back to you, Jack, right now.

J.C. Where are they Bob, can you see them?

B.H. Through the first pier, rather the second stand, Jack, I think that’s them coming through the second stand there.

J.C. Coming through the second stand, Bob says. I see yes, that’s right too. So, anytime now we’ll be able to give that great big welcome to this first canoe that is coming down through the finish line after some 13 and a half hours of travel today. That first canoe will be Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner out of Michigan, and passing under the Nechako Bridge just a few minutes ago was the second entry Leroy and Albert Whiting of Holly Michigan, and apparently still in third place is Frank and Bob Buchanan from Summit Lake. Six of the canoes, as we told you so far that we know up to this time have dropped out of this race today.

Len   Jack?

J.C. Yes Len?

Len We have a further report from the Justin (phonetic spelling) farm at Miworth. Apparantly four canoes in a group have just passed by there and they’re all battling out for the forthcoming position so I think that pretty well accounts for all the canoes.

J.C. Well I think it does too, Len, and looks about all we’d have left in the race and if they are bunchied up like that back there at Miworth then we should see a very, very good finish here for 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th position at least and they should be down here within an hour’s time around about 7. Apparantly the boys are coming in very, very close to the bank here. That’s what they’ve been doing apparently all day, they’ve been hugging the banks all the way around and they are coming in here. I just can’t see them, even from where I’m standing on this vantage point, but Bob is over there now taking a squint to see if he can see the boys coming in. They’re about 200 yards down. I can see the (unintelligible) boats there following them along. The boats have been with them all the time. Bill James, no doubt, is down there. I don’t know whether we can bring you in, Bill, if you’re available at all to us, if you could, we’d appreciate it. Give ‘em a great big hand. I can here everybody starting to clap and holler down below. They must be coming very, very close and hugging the bank very closely too because I can still not see them. About 100 yards away for the first canoe in around 13 hours and 40 odd minutes. Here they are, you can here the people now. All the way up the side of the bank. Ralph Sawyer, Jerry Wagner from Michigan. I don’t know whether we’ll still be able to get a glimpse of them. They know they’re home now, they’re taking it easy. I don’t know whether they can see the signs. Now give them a great big hand there will you? That’s the stuff. I know they’re right down beside me now. Yes they are, everybody’s pointing to them. In a moment I think maybe I’ll be able to get just a… There they are! I can see the police boat, I can see the police boat there. They must be just about right under the bank right now. There they are, paddling away, the two boys and they’re looking very, very fit as they’re going by our vantage point and a great big hand to these fellas. There they are, they have crossed the finish line and still paddling, still paddling down there putting on that last great big little spurt for all the people that are lining the banks. Well these boys now, at the beginning of the race, led all the way and they are now going to be greeted. They have passed the finish line officially at 6:04:40, so if somebody is a mathematician and can add it up from 4:34 AM this morning to 6:04:40 tonight, we’ll get the official time on that… 6:05 and three quarters, I have the official 6:05 and three quarters on your watch there, thank you very much. So, we’ll figure out the exact time of that, have that in a little while for you. The boys are still paddling down, right in, well as we look at them now, they’re only, I’d say 6-700 yards from our vantage point but still in sequence changing paddles, doing a beautiful job. Synchronized as all the, all wound up and could keep on going if it was necessary tonight. That’s the way they look from here. We hope to be able to talk to these two winners in a few moment’s time after they have been greeted officially at the landing spot and the photographers have their field day with them and when they get up past here, they’ll be driven past our microphone. We hope to have an interview with both of these boys. Now we should be expecting the second canoe, which is another Michigan team, the second team from Michigan. The boys that came in first were Ralph Sawyer and Jerry Wagner and the other team is Leroy and Albert Whiting of Holly, Michigan.

J.C. And there we have our rerun of the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race presented by Prince George Motors, your Ford (unintelligible) dealer at Fifth and George. We’ll give you the run down of the top three positions right after this word from Prince George Motors. No one can afford to take a blind chance when buying a used car no matter how low the price may appear to be. And you don’t need to take a chance, not when you can be fully sure that the car you buy is the safest things on wheels. Simply by getting it at Prince George Motors, where all the cars are unconditionally guaranteed to meet the strictest safety lane requirements. To buy a quality used car, one you can depend on, buy it from Prince George Motors on the corner of Fifth and George. They have slashed prices on all used cars and trucks on the lot to assure you have top quality at a bargain price. Call around and see for yourself soon. And now the top three finishers in the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race, Jerry Wagner, Ralph Sawyer of (unintelligible), Michigan placed number 1. Leroy and Albert Whiting of Holly, Michigan in number 2 position, and in number 3 position Frank and Bob Buchanan of Summit Lake.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our presentation of the rerun of the 2nd Annual Northwest Brigade Canoe Race.