It was a perfect day for the Snake River Canoe Race on Saturday, May 7, 2022. The day was warm and the water at a perfect level to traverse about 15 miles of river near Mora. This year, 120 boats entered the race, from serious racers to casual canoeists.
This year was the 41st running of the race, which began in 1980. The race was canceled for the first time in 2020 because of COVID-19.
I paddled the race with friend and frequent paddle partner Jon Van Zee. Our objective is usually just to have a nice trip and watch the race from the water. Bloodroot was blooming on the banks (usually it’s trilliums, but things are behind this year). Birds sang from the banks and overhead. Numerous riverside residents stood around fires on the banks and cheered on passing paddlers.
The race course is a sweet section of river, featuring ample flat but fast-moving waters occasionally punctuated by sets of rapids. With plenty of water in the river, we rode right over the rocks, hooting as we bounced down chains of standing waves. The “pro-boat” racers start last in the several waves, so we once again got to see them about 15 minutes into our race as they went blasting past at top speed.
The fastest time down the river was one hour, 57 minutes, and 42 seconds marked by “pro boaters” Devin Arenz of St. Paul and Mike Vincent of Regina, Saskatchewan. Less than a minute later, there was a battle for second place, with the next two finishers crossing the line one second apart at one hour, fifty-eight minutes, and 24 or 25 seconds.
The fastest kayaker was Jonathan Sanborn of Minneapolis, who completed the course just after the first pro-boaters, in one hour, fifty-eight minutes, and 37 seconds.
In the aluminum canoe class, where competition is also fierce, Chris and Matthew Broderson of Maple Grove boastedthe fastest time, less than 20 minutes after the pro boat winner. The pair set a time of two hours, 14 minutes, and 24 seconds. Frequent aluminum competitors Dave Dahl, Osseo, and Doug Berg, Excelsior, made it in two hours, 15 minutes, and 52 seconds. Brody Halverson and Lynn Stegeman of Mora crossed two hours, 19 minutes, and three seconds.