Oquossoc- The Outdoor Heritage Museum hosted the first ever “Oquossoc Day Challenge Cup” races to kick -off a big slated of events on the Cove last Saturday. Three person teams from the Rangeley Police Department, Maine Warden Service, U.S. Border Patrol and the Rangeley Fire Department competed in Kayak Relay, Blind Canoe, and Crew Style races in the Museum’s classic Rangeley Boats. It was a close, spirited and friendly competition with a lot of agency pride and good sportsmanship exhibited throughout.

The Rangeley Fire Department digs for home in the “Fly Rod Crosby” to clain the first-ever Oquossoc Day Challenge Cup.

When all splashing subsided after the three events only 2 points separated the two teams tied for 1st place and the two tied for 3rd! Maine Warden Service had to win its qualifier and the finals of the Rangeley Boat races to force a row-off with the Fire Department. RFD won a coin toss and selected the Museum’s “Fly Rod Crosby” boat which had not lost a race regardless of what crew was at the oars all day. In the final race to see which team would hold the Cup for the year, the Warden Service had a strong start but bow oarsmen, Warden Kyle Hladik caught a grab on a deeply placed oar and popped it from the oarlock. The Rangeley Fire crew of Conner Christian, Donna Brown and Logan Buker quickly took advantage of the miscue to grab the lead in the first quarter. Warden Boat Captain, Cynthia Egan quickly had the crew back in line and her team closed on the Fire department, swept by their stern and surged back into a half a boat lead with 40 yards to go as the spectators cheered them on. No sooner than when Captain Egan had shouted to her crew “to just stay steady and straight and we got this”, when disaster struck aboard the Captain Barker. As Sweep Rower, Warden Scott Stevens wailed into another powerful stroke to finish the RFD boat, his footrest broke lose under the strain sending him ass over tea kettle into his fellow oarsmen’s wheelhouse. The untimely disaster was all the Firefighters needed and they glided by and crossed the line before the unfortunate warden crew could recover. To say the races were exciting would be a vast understatement.

The Outdoor Heritage Museum’s Bill Pierce (center right) exhorts the crowd to applaud the winning team from Rangeley Fire Department (Left to Right) Conner Christian, Donna Brown and Logan Buker.

Rangeley Fire Department will defend their title at next year’s Oquossoc Day and all the agencies represented that serve this wonderful region have promised to return for another go at it. The Outdoor Heritage Museum wishes to thank River’s Edge Sports, Oquossoc Marine, the Oquossoc Day Committee, the terrific competitors, and volunteer race officials Gary Langille and Kevin Sinnett for making this inaugural Oquossoc Day Challenge Cup event such a success.

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