Klondike Derby attracts 300 scouts and leaders to competition

FREEPORT, Ohio – Picture dozens of sleds being pulled across the frozen tundra.

It wasn’t the annual Iditarod trail sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome.

It was the 2013 installment of the Boy Scout Klondike Derby that brought nearly 300 Scouts and leaders to the Fort Steuben Scout Reservation on Clendening Lake Jan. 26.

The Klondike Derby is an annual winter event held by Boy Scout Councils across the country, an event where Scouts transport gear on homemade sleds while stopping at stations to compete for points. The stations test a Scout’s skill, knowledge and teamwork.

The derby consisted of 17 stations spread across the reservation. Included were standard scoutcraft skills such as fire starting, wood chopping, archery and shooting with for-fun events such as hockey shot, Minute to Win It, and a scavenger hunt.

This year’s Klondike Derby was organized and chaired by Kenny Cline and Ryan Smith, both of whom are Eagle Scouts and Klondike Derby veterans. They organized and chaired the event, according to a news release, “because they wanted to provide younger Scouts with the great experience that they were able to have as younger Scouts.

Cline and Smith both agree that this year’s event wouldn’t have been successful without the help of “countless volunteers and the unwavering support of Venturing Crew 300.”

Troops from throughout the Ohio River Valley Council competed in the derby which was won by the Senior Patrol of Troop 401 out of Steubenville with 324.5 points. They were closely followed by Troop 3’s Venturing Patrol with 315 and Troop 51’s Eagle Patrol with 296.5.

The derby marked a milestone with the first-time participation of a Girl Scout troop.

“Girl Scout Troop 3209 out of Steubenville felt they had something to prove to the boys,” according to the news release that notes “Prove they did, collecting a total of 236.3 points good for seventh place overall.”

“These girls went all out and gave it 100 percent,” said Marty Medovic, Fort Steuben’s program director.

Although the hills and plains of Fort Steuben are quiet now, the approach of spring will change that as Scouts will return for campouts and summer camps.