Newcomers earn their grub at Chili and Bean race

It was a race for glory, honour and, as it turned out, a race to finish before all the caribou chili was eaten.

It was a race for glory, honour and, as it turned out, a race to finish before all the caribou chili was eaten.

“Caribou all the way—I’m in the Yukon,” said racer Tim Hodgson, when asked which of the three kinds of chili he was going to fill his bowl with.

On Monday, the Yukon River was a racetrack once again as 12 teams and solo paddlers took part in the ninth annual Chili and Bean Downriver Race from Whitehorse to the Takhini River Bridge.

For the second year in a row the race was won by paddlers in a tandem canoe.

Cam Davies and Jason Doucet, first-time competitors who moved to Whitehorse just four months ago from Kamloops, BC, took first, outpacing second-place Hodgson in a solo canoe by just 28 seconds.

Surprisingly Davies and Doucet are not just new to the territory, they are relatively new to canoeing.

“We’re more kayakers,” said Doucet. “We got a dog and got into canoeing—(our dog) doesn’t like the kayak. Last year we started marathon canoe racing so here we are.

“I’ve done kayak races in the past, but here people are canoeing a lot more so we mix it up.”

The winning duo finished the 18.5-kilometre course in 1:24:15 racing in a boat lent to them by Hodgson. In fact, three of the first five boats across the finish line belonged to Hodgson.

“I was teasing some people that we should call this Tim’s Canoe Club,” said Hodgson.

“I get to eat their chili,” he added jokingly, “or race with them—that’s more important.”

Hodgson won last year’s race in a tandem canoe with Dan Girard. The previous year, also with Girard, Hodgson finished second behind Greg McHale who set the course record of 1:13 in a solo kayak.

Hodgson also paddled in the fastest Yukon boat in this year’s Yukon River Quest with fellow Whitehorse resident and former cross-country Olympian Jane Vincent. They finished the Quest fifth overall and first for canoes—even outperforming the men’s tandem canoe field.

“(Vincent) is guiding in the bush, otherwise we would have raced tandem,” said Hodgson. “It would have been nice to have Jane behind me, to keep us straight, because I like to just paddle.”

For almost the entire race the two top boats were ahead of the field, exchanging leads in a neck-and-neck battle.

“We were back and fourth the whole way, chatting with them,” said Hodgson. “I was calling huts for them—trying to confuse them.

“You call ‘hut’ to switch (sides paddling). So sometimes I’d call hut to see if she would hut for me instead of him. She did pretty good—she didn’t listen to me.

“I was saying to them, if I put together a voyageur canoe (for the River Quest) I want those two.”

It was not the first time Davies and Doucet encountered Hodgson, finishing second behind Vincent and him in the Ice-Breaker race at the start of the season. They may have even crossed paths before then, a couple years ago in the River Quest.

“We came here two years ago to do the River Quest in a mixed kayak,” said Doucet. “Now we’re thinking about doing it next year in a canoe.”

Not every paddler in the race was pushing for a top spot. Racing in a tandem canoe, Danielle Sheldon and Julie Dufresne figuratively brought in the red lantern, coming in at 2:22:16, just over a half hour after the second-last-place team.

“(Our strategy) was to enjoy nature and the landscape,” said Dufresne. “Chilling together and relaxing.”

“We just sort of floated and took some pictures,” added Sheldon, who was in a canoe for just her third time ever.

“It’s a fun race put on to encourage people to come out and paddle and get some exposure to marathon paddling,” said race organizer (and chili chef) Pat McKenna, who finished fourth in a tandem canoe with Liz Bosely. “It’s to keep people paddling and thinking about the next race.

“We call it a chili and beans race to make it more fun for people—a little more recreational.”

So far Sheldon and Dufresne are unsure about entering next week’s Yukon 1000, a 1,600-kilometre race from Whitehorse into Alaska.

“Maybe next year,” they said.


1st Cam Davies/Jason Doucet

(C-2 mixed) – 1:24:15

2nd Tim Hodgson (C-1 men)

– 1:24:43

3rd Cindy Fraser/Steve

Mooney (C-2 mixed) – 1:29:31

4th Liz Bosely/Pat McKenna

(C-2 women) – 1:33:09

5th Dan Girouard (C-1 men)

– 1:33:29

6th Jim Boyde(C-1 men) –


7th Matt Landry (K-1 men) –


8th Peter Coates (C-1 men) –


9th Rene Lapierre (K-1 men)

– 1:43:01

10th Sally Macdonald/Bob

Zimmerman (C-2 mixed) –


11th Molly Dischner/Jeff Brady

(C-2 mixed) – 1:51:53

12th Danielle Sheldon/Julie

Dufresne (C-2 Women) – 2:22:16

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt crosses the 2021 Yukon Journey finish line in first place at approximately 10:35 a.m. on Feb. 26. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Hans Gatt wins inaugural 2021 Yukon Journey

The Yukon Journey, a 255-mile race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse, kicked off on Feb. 24

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022