The Boom to Belize City Canoe Race started at 9:00 a.m. today, February 20, 2005, with close to twenty five teams from all over the country participating. Chairman of the Burrell Boom Village Council, Niall Gillett, was at the riverbank for the start of the race, to cheer on the BOOMERS canoe team.
We, of course, were there to cheer on the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES female canoe team. After all, we have our Caye Caulker pride to defend! Cayo Gial Tours Canoe Team, defending female champions, were there in full force, cheering squad and all.
At the start of the canoe race, the Cayo Gial Canoe overturned, spilling its paddlers into the water. This put them immediately at a disadvantage as the time it took to upright the canoe and get the paddlers back in put them in last place.
Just up ahead at the Burrell Boom bridge, about five minutes or so into the race, the first canoe to pass was the Big H Canoe which comprises of the three Belizean male paddlers which have won the Ruta Maya Race since its inception. It should be noted that these local barefoot Belizean village bwais from Esperanza go on to make Belize proud internationally in the canoeing arena. They competed in the Texas Water Safari in 2004 as the Belize Tourism Team, and won third - fifth place (not sure which, but in the top five) overall in a 200 mile race on a river (the Texas river) they are not familiar with and with third world training only, beating a hundred or so other canoe teams that train on the Texas river itself. But, I digress.
The Big H canoe team (all male) was the first to pass the Burrell Boom Bridge. In fourth place was the Burrell Boom team (BOOMERS). In ninth place was the first mixed team (2 guys and a gal) and in twelfth place was the first female team (AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES). In last place was the Cayo Gial Team (defending female champions).
The next stop to view the race was at Lord's Bank. By the time the canoes reached Lord's Bank village, the top twelve teams were still in the same position, but the Cayo Gial team had managed to inch forward, passing several all-male teams (including the British Army BATSUB team) along the way, to be in fifteenth position, and second place in the female division overall. There girls are STRONG! And an inspiration!
We stopped again at the riverbank in Ladyville across the river from the River Bend Lodge. Our stopwatch showed that the Cayo Gial team (defending champions) had gained still a few more minutes, trailing behind the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES female team by only one minute and ten seconds.
At mile five on the Northern Highway, the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES still held a lead over the Cayo Gial team of a minute or so. At Belama, however, the gap had widened a bit to about two minutes or so.
Winning the race overall was the Big H team from Cayo. I am sorry to report that I do not know the names of all the winning canoe teams, but I do believe that the UB team won the intramural division, and I am proud to
report that the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES all female team won the female division! Go AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES Barracudas!
Was this win for the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES team a fluke due to Cayo Gial's spill, or was it good sportsmanship on the part of the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES paddlers? It should be noted that it is the first time the Cayo Girl girls have ever lost a canoe race! Will they practice hard and come back for revenge? Or will the Auxillou Beach Suites team practice hard to hold on to their advantage?
To follow the suspense, join both teams during the Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge on March 4 - 7, 2005 for the sequel to this suspense drama!
Thanks to all who supported the AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES canoe team. Thank you Allie, Colleen and Sabrina! Thank you, too, Cayo Gial paddlers. The AUXILLOU BEACH SUITES team are your biggest fans!
For photos of today's canoe race, please click here: www.auxilloubeachsuites.com/BoomRace.html
Here are some other pics in the meantime:
[This message has been edited by Auxillou Beach Suites (edited 02-20-2005).]