OQUOSSOC — Much to the delight of over 100 middle-schoolers from throughout the region, the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum hosted the third annual Rangeley Regatta on the grounds of the museum and nearby Oquossoc Cove Marina.
One of the smallest schools in terms of enrollment, Stratton cruised to a second team title in three years and took home the Rangeley Regatta Cup for the second year in a row.
It was a perfect day weather-wise and a good crowd turned out to take in the day-long event. Local teams made up of middle school students from the towns of Rangeley, Stratton, Kingfield, Strong and Phillips went to the museum for a wide range of competitions.
Students from each school vie for points toward the overall title in poetry, art, public speaking, a one-mile road race, fly-tying, fly-casting, outdoor trivia, kayak and canoe races.
The finale and feature event of the competition consisted of boys’, girls’ and co-ed team crew-style races in the museum’s fleet of six vintage Rangeley boats.
“These sleek and beautiful boats are classic symbols of the region’s proud outdoor heritage and to see the kids working in unison at the oars with the coxswain calling out the strokes is a lot of fun and a sight to see,” said Historical Society Executive Director Bill Pierce.
The museum acquired and restored the boats two years ago via a grant from PARC Foundation. Each boat is named for an iconic personality from the region’s sporting past, such as Fly Rod Crosby, Carrie Stevens and Herb Welch.
The day kicked off with a new Prep Division Competition for the “Indian Rock Trophy.” Hebron Academy edged out Gould Academy for the top spot, followed by Kents Hill.
The Prep Division competitors then served as volunteer mentors, coaches and venue operators for the middle school portion of the regatta later in the afternoon. “It was very rewarding to watch the Prep students interact with the younger kids as they coached them and cheered them on. They really performed their volunteer roles very well,” said Kevin Sinnett, historical society board member and race course director.
When it was all said and done, Stratton took home the cup for the second year in a row, followed closely by the team from Rangeley, who won the inaugural event two years ago. Third place went to Phillips, followed by Kingfield and Strong respectively.
Volunteers consisted of staff from all the local schools, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Rangeley Lakes Region Historical Society, Mollyockett Trout Unlimited and Junior Maine Guides.
“Every year the event has grown in one way or another and this year’s edition was clearly our best and biggest ever. Without the dedication and hard work of all our volunteers, sponsors and partners, this great day of fun and learning would be completely impossible to pull off,” added Pierce.