YCKC season a success

The docks are out of the water and the masses of south-bound birds congregating at York Lake mark the end of another successful season for Yorkton Canoe Kayak Club.

“We had a fantastic summer with our racing program, CanoeKids program, and the two dragon boat events we hosted this year,” says Head Coach Jessica Riley. “Decent weather, great partnerships with community organizations, and tremendous feedback from our participants — what more can you ask for in a season?”

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The 2018 season began with an Indoor Dragon Boat race hosted at the Gallagher Centre in Yorkton. This inaugural event recruited over 40 participants to experience tug-of-war (nicknamed “tug-of-oar”) style competition. Teams of four faced off against each other in a single dragon boat, and over a matter of 30 seconds battled for inches attempting to push the other team back across the center line.

Spring brought the opening of the YCKC clubhouse, with returning racing program athletes heading out on the cold water to prepare for the first competition of the season. “Our racing athletes had a strong season. They are a young team — most of our paddlers are under 13 years of age — but dedicated,” said Riley. After attending three away competitions (Regattas) they ended with an overall total of 16 Gold, 12 Silver, and 14 Bronze medals.  Paddlers also ran as a team at Farmer’s Filthy 5km, Foam Fest, and the Colour Run.

“Sprint kayaking is a great cross-training sport,” says Riley, “This season, we recruited new paddlers from other sports/activities like hockey, dance, soccer, football, and speed swimming. It was great to see their fitness level build over the summer.  Unlike recreational kayaking, Sprint Kayaking is a full body workout, so our athletes return to their sports with an increased cardio base, increased flexibility and very strong upper body.  It’s always impressive to see a ten year old not be able to carry his/her boat unassisted in May and by the end of the season be able to carry it without complaint.  It’s empowering for them to see their own growth and know they earned it by showing up every day.”
YCKC hosts a Developmental competition in August to help recruit paddlers to the racing side of the sport.  Paddlers from Regina and Saskatoon visited Yorkton for a fun day of racing. “We hear great feedback every year and that paddlers are excited to come to our event.  It’s a highlight of their season,” says Nicole Roy, YCKC Commodore (President). “We look forward to hosting it annually because we know we are making a difference in keeping these paddlers racing each year.”

YCKC’s recreational programs run throughout the summer. CanoeKids is a day camp that introduces 8-12 year olds to the fundamentals of kayaking, canoeing and Dragon Boating. Seven camps ran this season with great success.
Toonie Sundays and $5 Fridays are also popular programs. Paddlers can try kayaking/canoeing for $2 on Sundays from 2 pm – 4 pm and $5 on Fridays from 6 pm – 8 pm. “We find that families feel a little tight for funds in the summer after all their winter activities, but still want to do activities together. These two days help bring new people to the club, but more importantly give a fun, healthy, and affordable activity for families to do,” says Roy. “We hope to have more evening sessions and discounts next summer so make sure to follow us on Facebook in the New Year to take advantage of these deals.”

In addition to these programs, YCKC partners with local organizations to provide sessions that introduce participants to the basics of water safety, kayaking and/or dragon boating. YCKC can be also booked for private events. Contact a YCKC representative to book your 2019 event!

The 5th Annual Fall Dragon Boat Race closed YCKC’s summer season. Four teams competed in round-robin competition. Despite nearly decapitating a dragon head, it was a thrilling day.

YCKC would like to thank all the community volunteers that helped out this season. “We appreciate your support and couldn’t run these events without you,” says Roy. “YCKC would also like to congratulate Daniel McCullough from the Saskatoon Racing Canoe Club who was named to the National Canoe/Kayak Team.”  McCullough represented Canada at international events this summer on a highly eastern-dominated National Team.  Congratulations also to Yorktonite Ethan Caskey for racing with team SRCC at the Canoe/Kayak Championships in August.  

“This year we had over 500 participants come through our programs and had 110 registered members,” says Riley, “In 2008 we had 25 members so we’ve come a long way. We look forward to seeing that number grow even more.”

Thank you to the following major sponsors: Lori Jasper and The Co-operatives, Parkland Valley, Sask Lotteries, Mosaic, McMunn and Yates. Thank you to the many organizations and companies that help to make YCKC events and fundraisers successful.

Paddlers may be off the lake, but training is far from over.  Pool-paddling and winter training will begin for the racing program athletes while planning of the 2nd Indoor Dragon Boat Competition is underway. Stay tuned on social media for updates!

YCKC continues to expand its programs each year and encourages everyone to check out YCKC Facebook page and website www.yorktoncanoekayakclub.com information on programs and session discounts in 2019. Thanks to all for a great season!


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