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‘Canoe’ believe it?: Prince George’s premier boat race sees another Blackburn go the distance

Tom Blackburn is 2019 champion with Harry James a year after brother Greg took the trophy

The 2019 Northern Hardware Prince George Canoe Race saw over 50 competitors this weekend take the local waters in search of pride and glory.

Greg Blackburn took home the long-distance title in 2018, but this year, it was his brother Tom setting the pace.

He, alongside his boating partner Harry James, racing together since the 1980s, won the 67.5 km Alexander Mackenzie class with a time of 4.03:12, a full 17 seconds ahead of Greg’s canoe with Scott Decker.

The contest on Saturday (July 6) saw 19 boats paddle down from Isle Pierre to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park along the Nechako and Fraser Rivers, a race that was revitalized in 2015 by Northern Hardware after a 30-year hiatus.

The win for Tom and Harry earned them a cool $2,000; that’s $1,000 for the Master's category win and another $1,000 for crossing the finish line first ahead of all the participants.

The Prince George duo was also the top Masters canoe team for 2018.

Greg and Scott did not leave empty-handed, however, cashing in $500 for finishing second among Men’s division racers.

Patrick Turner and Kevin Taylor won the Men’s category with a time of 4.03:19, rowing seven seconds behind Tom and Harry for the overall top spot.

On the women’s side, Maya Jacob and Nikki Kassel, both from Prince George, easily won their $1,000 at 4.12:16, more than an hour ahead of their only opposing canoe and good enough for sixth among the 19 racers.

Meanwhile, after winning the 25 km Simon Fraser race paddling solo a year ago, Chris Cupp decided to go the full distance in 2019 by teaming up with Rebecca Pohlman in the mixed division.

They claimed the $1,000 first-place prize by crossing the finish line at 4.13.03, more than five-and-a-half minutes ahead of their nearest competitor.

The 2019 installment of the Simon Fraser race was claimed by the father-son duo of Peter and Damian Georgyev with a 1.37:08 time, 21 seconds ahead of Brian Chadwick and Dan Mcgauhey, for the $500 jackpot.

The 25 km journey floats from Wilkin’s Regional Park in Miworth to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.

More information on the Northern Hardware Prince George Canoe Race and its results are available on the event’s website.


Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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