Named in honor of Frederick William Gunn: father of the American Camping Movement, and mentor to Keewaydin's founder, Gregg Clarke
"The trophy sits on a shelf in my living room and is a regular reminder of that summer and the whole Keewaydin experience. My parents and family were up for the presentation and the memory of the award still brings a pause to my father's heart. I was lucky and he was proud."
This is Keewaydin's most prestigious award, rigorously testing
the oldest campers on a variety of canoeing and
tripping skills. The competition is held on the last day of camp after all
of the Temagami sections have come in. The crowd of parents, campers and
staff that gathers is
reminiscent of the hushed crowds at the U.S. Open.
Eligibility: Any camper in a Temagami section
Competition: Judged on the basis of points by two judges. The competitor with the most points wins. Each participant brings a paddle and a canoe, which must be a Keewaydin trip canoe – a canoe that has been out on a trip. A second paddler, a wannigan and a double-pack are provided. The non-competing paddler must react to commands only from the participant. No back paddling is permitted.
There are two parts to the competition.
A) Competitor tumps his canoe in time allotted and it is inspected by the judges for completeness, fit, evenness, etc.
B) Competitor begins a designated set of activities. Once the course is begun, everything the competitor does is judged.
1. Flip canoe on weak side.
2. Take canoe to the shoreline and flip it down.
3. Load the canoe with the double-pack and the weighted wannigan.
4. Paddle out from shore in the stern in a straight line.
5. Turn canoe 90 degrees to the right.
6. Turn canoe 90 degrees to the left.
7. Switch paddling sides and return to shore.
8. Switch paddling position, putting the competitor in the bow.
9. Paddle out from shore and repeat steps 5 and 6.
10. Switch paddling sides and return to shore
11. Unload the canoe without bowman's help.
12. Competitor solos out again and paddles a figure-of-eight.
13. Land and flip up the canoe on strong side.
14. Put canoe away, flipping down on strong side.
Over the years, we have seen everything! Contestants tumping the canoe backwards (that's the way I like it!). One tump knot facing forward, the other backwards, contestant falling into the canoe while changing sides to complete the tump job, having the bowman jump out twenty yards from shore so the canoe will not hit the rocks, to one contestant beaching the canoe up on the rocks because he froze at the last minute. We average one upset canoe every other year. One contestant forgot which canoe was his, and so it goes!
Carl Schneider, long-time competition judge, 11/7/99
|1922||T. J. Gaines Jr.|
|1924||William L. Shearer Jr.|
|1926||Charles D. Draper|
|1927||Francis L. Howe|
|1928||Eugene N. Foss II|
|1929||Benjamin Foss Jr.|
|1930||C. Peyton Nicholson|
|1931||Albert L. Stratton|
|1933||Edward D. Brown|
|1943||Harry Hake III|
|1948||Warren A. Beh, Jr|
|1949||Edward A. Deeds, III|
|1951||Carl Hilker, Jr|
|1952||George Meinig, Jr|
|1959||Charles Janeway, Jr|
|1967||Matt Ridgway, Jr|
|1975||No contest held*|
|1980||Carl Schneider, Jr|
* No contest held due to time constraint. That year the sections came in and left the same day, as reported in Heb's 1975 log.
** In 2001, the winners listed on plaques on the trophy were Matt Webber and Corky Ellis, for 1973 and 1974 respectively. Richard Daley commented to Sandy Chivers, a neighbor, after seeing this first version of this page, that he had won the trophy, not Ellis. How could the trophy be wrong? I tried to find Ellis or someone from that era who could tell me who won, but didn't. Dan Carpenter found a mention in Heb's 1974 log of Daley's win. And Daley popped over to Chivers and showed her his miniature trophy. No more incredulity.
But the story is not over. In 2006, Ingersoll Mike Davison visits the island and mentions that he won the Gunn, "despite what the trophy says and what the Bible says," Ingersoll said. Ingersoll found no way to verify this until February 25, 2009 when he found tubs containing old files, including old Gunn score sheets. Sure enough, Davison won over Webber by four points. (Daley scraped past Ellis by a single point.)
Ingersoll checked the score sheets for the other years of that decade and the remaining winners are correct. Amazingly nobody noticed the errors all those years -- or didn't believe there could be an error. And who can explain them?
Names collected from the trophy plates by Matt Ambler
Verification of score sheets for 1970s by Bruce Ingersoll
Contribution on rules by John Frazier and Carl Schneider, judges during the 1970s, 80s and 90s
Maps and information herein are not intended for navigational use, and are not represented to be correct in every respect.
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