Photography by Wendy Carlson
Members of Troop 15, of Redding, huddle together under a
makeshift tarp they erected over their sled during the
annual Klondike Derby for Boy Scouts held last Saturday.
Signs direct the scouts through the course.
Bobby Cotton, left and Chris Carozza, from Troop 52 in
Danbury participate in the log sawing competition.
Sam Otey of New Fairfield’s Troop 42, checks out his
surroundings. His troop opted to camp overnight.
From left, Paul Makai, Alan Owen and James Branson from
Troop 135 in Brookfield strain to push their sled over a
hump in the course.
REDDING — A local campground was transformed into the Alaskan
frontier for a few hours Saturday as Boy Scouts from across the area
took part in the annual Klondike Derby.
Snow fell throughout the morning as 270 local scouts used
homemade sleds to participate in a competition fashioned after the
famous Iditarod dog sled race.
"One of the main parts of scouting is being outside,” said Brian
Larcom, scoutmaster of Troop 42 in New Fairfield. "This is a great
way to teach teamwork and get the boys out and active. It’s like a
dog sled race, but instead of dogs, it’s scouts pulling the sled.”
Scouts from 22 troops in the area pushed and pulled wooden sleds
around the Hoyt Scouting Reservation, competing against other troops
in events like sawing logs, building fires, an obstacle course,
target shooting and first aid procedures.
The theme of this year’s derby was "2001: A Klondike Odyssey,”
and in keeping with the space theme, the scouts earned points at
each station to protect Alaska from an alien invasion.
"It’s fun to be out here with everybody,” said Phil Zercey, 14,
of Newtown. "You have to work together to win. It’s really about
Scouts were scored on their performance in events as well as
following directions, working as a group and exhibiting
Sleds went out with six to eight scouts per team, along with an
adult supervisor, but adults were not allowed to help during the
"At the derby, they put to use everything that they’ve been
learning throughout the year,” said Larry Hepner, of Troop 42 in New
Fairfield. "It’s fun for everybody, of course, but there’s a strong
learning element as well.”
Each team made its own sled and carried all its supplies on board
including meals, water, rope, blankets and anything team members
would need for the competition. At lunch time, the scouts cooked
over open fires.
"Everybody has the same equipment, but it’s up to us to use it in
the most resourceful way,” said Tim Duffy, 14, of Newtown. "We’re
supposed to be completely prepared and have everything we need right
Contact Martin Schneider
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