Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tour Du Teche Winners

A 43-foot, six-man Texas Unlimited canoe named “314” walked away with top honors in the inaugural Tour du Teche this month, completing the 130-mile journey from Port Barre to Patterson in just 18 hours and 29 minutes.
Andrew Stephens, 30, New York City; William Russell, 27, San Antonio, Texas; Andrew Soles, 37, Arlington, Va.; Sam Ritchie, Philadelphia, Pa.; Dan Hammer, 26, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Amado Cruz, 22, Esperanza, Cayo, Belize, will share in at least $3,225 in winnings.
They won base prizes of $500 for being first over-all, and $100 for being first Texas Unlimited from Tour du Teche, plus $100 each prizes for firsts in class not claimed: first male tandem unlimited, first female tandem unlimited, first female solo unlimited, first solo composite kayak, first male and female recreational, first solo canoe recreational, and first solo and tandem pirogues.
Added to that is another $3,500 from the Town of Berwick, which has pledged to match all of the Tour du Teche base prize money provided by a grant from Teche Federal Bank.
Prizes could rise as expenses are sorted out.
On top of Tour du Teche prizes, the Texas Unlimited team won the “Prix du Gabriel Award” for the first male to reach St. Martinville, $100; another $100 for the first boat to reach New Iberia; and the $25 “Eugene Arnaud Award” for being the first boat to reach Arnaudville.
A unique feature of Tour du Teche is that communities along the way set up their own unofficial finish lines and awarded their own prizes.
“Steppe Missile,” Alan Lamb, 24, of Lansing, N.Y., and Richard Steppe, 52, Dallas, Texas, were second overall and first in tandem kayak composite at 21 hours, 17 minutes.
Their first-in-class finish earned them a base of $100 from Tour du Teche plus a matching $100 from the Town of Berwick.
Hot on their heels was “Illinois Brigade,” paddled by Wally Werderich, 37, Yorkville, Ill., and Gustave “Tave” Lamperez, 50, St. Charles, Ill. Their finish in 21 hours and 24 minutes was a first-in-class for tandem canoe composite, winning $100 from the Teche Federal Bank funding and a matching $100 from the Town of Berwick.
Adventure racers Laurence Cohen, 54, New Orleans, and Rusty Bernard, 52, Mandeville, paddling “La Madeleine” in tandem kayak recreational, shaved miles off the course by innovative portages across the necks of loops above New Iberia and Franklin to finish in 23 hours, 14 minutes, again winning of $100 from Tour du Teche $100 from the Town of Berwick.
Grady Reed, 33, Lockhart, Texas; Ginsie Stauss, 51, Austin, Texas, a.k.a. “Gatorhead and Da Shrimp,” were in the money as first mixed tandem unlimited at 26 hours, 30 minutes, winning the $200 in official prizes. Stauss will also receive $100 for being the first female paddler to reach Breaux Bridge – the “Scholastique Picou Breaux Award” – and $100 for being the first woman to reach New Iberia. She and Reed share another $100 for being the first mixed tandem unlimited to reach Patterson, a special award of the Pellerin Companies.
At 35 hours and 20 minutes, “XMA” paddled by David Dupuis, 47, was sixth overall and first in solo kayak recreational. Prizes total $200.
Ted Edinger, 61, Pineville, paddling “332,” a Texas Unlimited Solo, finished in 35 hours, 44 minutes, winning in addition to the $200 in official prizes $100 from the City of St. Martinville as the first male solo unlimited to reach that check point.
“Pogy,” Dennis Wise, 52, of Cecilia, and Tami St. Germain, 48, Arnaudville; paddling in mixed canoe recreational, finished in 39 hours and 8 minutes, earning $200 in first-in-class money plus $100 from Buck & Johnny’s Pizzeria of Breaux Bridge for being the first mixed canoe recreational to reach the Breaux Bridge check point. On top of that, Wise will get the “Golden Bed Pan Award” from the St. Mary Council on Aging for being the first senior to reach Franklin. With the award comes one night at the Fairfax Bed and Breakfast in Franklin and dinner for two at Main Street Cafe in Franklin.
Others who didn’t place officially but won unofficial awards include:
•Kenneth “Trey” Snyder, 38, St. Martinville, whose “Pont Breaux Pirogue” was the first solo pirogue to reach the Breaux Bridge check point, earning him $100 from the Kiwanis Club de Pont Breaux.
•Taylor Trahan, 16, of Breaux Bridge, paddling with Bo Lester, 19, also of Breaux Bridge, in “Budmaster,” a tandem canoe composite, wins $100 as the first junior paddler to reach St. Martinville, courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of St. Martinville, and $100 from the New Iberia Kiwanis Club as the first junior to reach that check point. The pair made it to Patterson in just 33 hours and 4 minutes but finished second in class behind Werderich and Lamperez.
•Bruce Bodson, 56, of Missouri City, Texas, paddling a solo kayak recreational named “Dagger Seeker,” was first solo senior to reach St. Martinville, earning $100 from the Rotary Club of St. Martinville.
Special prizes going unclaimed are $100 for the first tandem pirogue to reach Breaux Bridge (Kiwanis Club de Pont Breaux) and $100 for the first all-female tandem unlimited to reach St. Martinville (Pat Theriot, State Farm Insurance).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Something Old, Something New....

As most of you know, the front of our shop was turned into a drive-thru by an out of control car last December. Since then, we've taken some time to decide what we wanted to do with this area. Since it's the front entrance of the shop, we wanted it to be in keeping with the building - but also wanted to do something different with it.

We have finally finished repairing the window and wall that were knocked in during the crash. For the project, we hired our good friend Mark Menou. Mark is one of those people that can do pretty much anything. Plus - he and his wife Jennifer have a fun, funky and artistic flair that we thought would add to the project. Mark did all the carpentry and painting work on the project and we couldn't be happier!

The way this window came together was this: We had decided to use some of our old windows from the previous project in the boat room. While searching around in the back, I came across three flat objects wrapped in brown paper. I pulled them out from the dust in the back of the garage and found some beautiful leaded glass panes. We then called another friend - Claude Martin to come by and help us create a panel. We started working on the design of the panel - but needed something to make it all come together.

That's when I thought of a stained glass panel that was up in a wall at the top of the shop in an area that nobody could really see. Claude took one look at it and said "That's it. Get that window and it will go right here in the middle".

This window was in an area of the shop that was originally the office in the late 70's. This photo shows my mom sitting at her desk probably the first or second year we were open at this location. Notice behind her (sorry it's a little washed out) is the window that we reclaimed and made the centerpiece of our new window. In talking to my dad about the leaded panes, he told me that those were panes taken out of my great grandmothers house during the depression in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

We're very excited and proud of how the finished window came out. We hope that you will come by soon to see - But please - leave your car outside!

I wanted to share this description of the Tour Du Teche from one of the racers that's also one of our customers. Jeri St. Blanc paddled the 130 mile route in her Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145. Thought you might enjoy reading it:

Hello to all Tour Du Teche participants! What a wild week-end! It was such a pleasure sharing the bayou with you throughout the week-end. I met many of you at some part of the race and enjoyed the conversations we had. I enjoyed meeting many of your friends, family and bank runners along the route. Their commitment to each of us and support was amazing.

I've been sharing stories with my family and friends just as I'm sure you have also. I would love to hear some of your stories.

This is the first time I've done anything like this so everything was a new experience. Here's a few of my highlights:

I left St. Martinville at 1:30 am (no moonlight) really scary.

I stepped out at Keystone Dam and sunk to my knees in mud- sucked my shoe right off my foot. I then had to portage my kayak through the path without shoes, then down the mountain and over the boulders.

After leaving the dam, I ran into a patch of lilies and something like a branch or tree down across the bayou, not really sure because there was so little light. I was jammed in the lilies and had to pull through them. I just knew a huge gator or moccasin was waiting to devour me. With my heart racing out of my chest, I wildly pulled through.

After getting through I just knew I had made a wrong turn into a drainage canal or something, I found my phone and called my husband to find out if I could have messed up. He assured me if I was on the left side of the bayou I was OK. I gave thanks to the Lord and continued on .

Reached my hometown of Charenton! What a homecoming!!!!!!!!!!!!! Took a rest at my home on the Bayou at the Charenton Bridge. After resting, and realizing the current was not going to turn just because I willed it to, I started out. Within a quarter of a mile, I heard rolling thunder. A gentle rain begins and then a torrential downfall. Ok, I'm beginning to wonder if the Lord is speaking to me. The rain and wind kicks up and is blowing toward Baldwin. Just as I think maybe I'll stay wet and take a free ride with the wind to Baldwin, streaks of lightning come down around me. I pulled my kayak out of the water and turned it over on the bank. All my gear is now drenched. I ran to a house and at that time my husband, hearing the thunder, calls to check on me. He picks me up and after drying up and repacking, I started out again.

Saturday night, we were blessed with more moonlight. The ride from Baldwin to Franklin started out really nice until I hit the bridge at Oaklawn. I knew it would be 6 miles until the Sterling Bridge and there would be little to no homes on the Bayou. I went in already a little apprehensive. I called and reported my position to my husband and Mom then started paddling. I now know where the gators hang out at dark. I saw soooo many gators, I began thinking about "Swamp People." The ones that crossed in front of me, I didn't mind. I would slow up, let them definitely have the right of way. One of them swam at me and then surfaced about 3 ft from me. After that I set a new paddling record. I was truly petrified.

I was told the last leg of the race, past the east gate of the locks, would be an enjoyable paddle without current. They didn't tell me the tour committee was adding wind resistance to make the end so much more memorable. Just kidding.......

All in all, the tour was challenging but such a rewarding experience. When asked if I plan to do it next year, my reply was, "Ask me again in two weeks!"

Jeri H. St. Blanc

Recreation Coordinator

Chitimacha Tribe of LA