Meduxnekeag Canoe Race

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT
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HOULTON, Maine (WAGM) - It was a beautiful day for participants to take part in the Meduxnekeag River Canoe Race. Many came out to take part in a tradition that has been going on for a long time. Peter Blood, Event Organizer, says, “It was started by Ricker College, 50 years ago, 40 years ago, and they did it until Ricker College went defunct. Then Rotary took it over and ran it for about 20 years, until the numbers got down for a little bit. And then my partner Clint Cushman and I were running the circuit and doing the macro circuit, and we took it over for 15 years and now it is in the chamber. It’s the right of passage for Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine.”

Jane Torres is the Executive Director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, and says there were a lot of participants who came out to enjoy the race. “Usually 75 up until last night, and then I think we have had at least 25-30 or more people sign up today. We ran out of T Shirts for the first time, of course this is also the first time it is warm enough to wear those T shirts during the race so that is exciting.”

The 9 mile race starts out on Mills Stream in New Limerick and goes into the Meduxnekeag River that ends in Houlton at Riverfront Park. Blood says, “We got a lot of people here that did it with their fathers and they are bringing their children. What we guarantee everybody is they will race against somebody of their ability and their equipment. So we got a lot of categories, people coming from upstate are going to race against themselves. The locals, if this is their only race, race against themselves for bragging rights.”

Torres and Blood say what makes the event special is the people. Torres says “The people that come back year after year after year, it’s just like seeing old friends.”

Blood adds, “Everybody that comes from out of outside of Aroostook County gets a bag of potatoes. And you think that we gave them a bag of gold, they just love it. We treat them special.”

A race that will continue to carry on its tradition for many more years to come.