Paddlers in the Chili and Beans Race head downstream from Rotary Park. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Paddlers ride down the Yukon River in the annual Chili and Beans Race

‘We’re always trying to find ways to keep people active’

It was a record turnout on Aug. 7 for the annual Chili and Beans Race in Whitehorse.

A total of 15 boats and more than 50 paddlers took part in the race from Rotary Park down the Yukon River to the Takhini River bridge.

The tandem kayak team of Julianne Girouard and Rogan Parry won this year’s race, finishing in one hour, 18 minutes and 26 seconds.

Jake Paleczny and Rob Spinks paddling a tandem canoe were close behind, finishing second in a time of one hour, 18 minutes and 56 seconds.

Solo kayaker Peter Coates was third with a time of one hour, 27 minutes and 34 seconds.

This year’s race also included four voyageur canoe teams and a dragon boat in addition to tandem canoes and kayaks.

Pat McKenna, race founder, said the original idea for the race was just to keep people paddling after the Yukon River Quest.

“The race got started in 2002 with Yvonne Harris and I,” said McKenna. “We were all racing the River Quest and we wanted to keep the momentum going so we decided to start this downriver race and entice everybody with chili.”

Harris has since left the territory, but McKenna said the race has kept going and beans have been added to the menu. The race now also includes draw prizes for participants, added as a way to keep things light.

“It’s just to keep people paddling after the Yukon River Quest,” said McKenna. “Keep them active, have some fun and include some socializing with the racers.”

McKenna said despite some grey skies on race day, conditions were ideal.

“The water was beautiful,” said McKenna. “It was actually quite calm. It was cloudy and we had a nice little tail wind.”

Sixteen years after the first Chili and Beans Race, McKenna said the goal is still the same.

“We’re always trying to find ways to keep people active,” said McKenna. “This is a fun way for the paddling community to come together in the middle of the summer and just get out there and race and enjoy ourselves.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Race Results

1 Julianne Girouard and Rogan Parry (K2) 1:18:26

2 Jake Paleczny and Rob Spinks (C2) 1:18:56

3 Peter Coates (K1) 1:27:34

4 Stix Together (Voyageur) 1:27:37

5 Pat McKenna and Mia Lee (C2) 1:30:00

6 Mooney Family (Voyageur) 1:30:21

7 Daniel Girouard and Anick Girouard (C2) 1:32:37

8 Melissa Carlick and Sara Waters (C2) 1:33:49

9 Oliver Messelberger and Jurij Seidel (C2) 1:34:26

10 Yukon Wide Adventure (Voyageur) 1:35:56

11 Mason Parry and Micah McConnell (K2) 1:41:02

12 Joel Girouard and Kaleb Parry (C2) 1:41:03

13 The Late Ones (Voyageur) 1:43:40

14 Flatwater North (Dragon Boat) 1:47:19

15 Jonah McConnell and Chrissy McConnell 2:00:47

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