By Ted Waddell
CALLICOON July 13, 2007 Last year, the Callicoon Canoe Regatta had to be cancelled because both the traditional starting point and the finish line were washed away in the Flood of 2006.
This year, the race was moved a little downstream and made a bit longer. The event began at Lander’s Rivermart in Callicoon and ended at the Lander’s canoe base just above Skinner’s Falls, a distance of about 7 miles.
The father and daughter team of Gary Mathern and Lisa Wood were back for another try at a medal.
“I hope the water’s fast,” said Wood before the race began.
In the youth/adult class, a couple of fathers took to the Upper Delaware River with their 11-year-old daughters.
Bill Klaber and Sienna Klaber of Acidalia placed third, just behind Rod Schmidt and Amanda Schmidt from Stockholm, Mass.
“It was just beautiful, everybody was in a great mood,” Bill Klaber said.
“We were splashing the competition, and kept suggesting they take a rest, but they didn’t listen to us,” he added.
“We kept looking in the rear view mirror or over the rear end [stern],” Rod Schmidt said. “They gave us the power to go.”
Evan Williams of Rock Hill was back for the sixth time.
“It’s local people and people from around the Northeast just having fun, nothing cutthroat,” he said. “It’s rewarding, it’s a good thing.”
Asked for a thumbnail sketch of his 2007 Callicoon Canoe Regatta experience, Williams replied, “I started up there, wound up here and stayed upright.”
At the age of 78, Al Camp of Otego is one of the legends of canoeing. He is a builder of wooden striper canoes, a paddle maker and a racer.
In the 1960s, Camp started making striper canoes so folks in the United States would have something to race in against the Canadians, other than the sluggish aluminum boats of the day.
As Camp and his partner Dave Knapp of Oneonta prepare for the nationals next month, they get out on the water four or five times a week.
“We work our asses off, this was a good workout right here,” said Camp of the 2007 Callicoon Canoe Regatta.
“It’s competitive,” he said of racing. “It ain’t about beating somebody, it’s beating yourself.”
After all of the competitors returned to shore, a raffle for a new kayak was held. The lucky winner was Thomas Pilkington of Binghamton.