By Jean in Winnipeg
To be eligible for the title of "King Trapper," you must enter 19 of the 21 events. (The Queen Trapper events are similar. Junior King and Junior Queen do about half the number). Top five finishers in each event get points that count toward the ultimate title. Because you need more than strength to survive on the trap line, all competitions earn the same number of points. The events also carry cash prizes, ranging from $10 for 5th place in the Pole Climbing event, to $200 for 1st place in the Flour Packing event.
Here are the event highlights:
Pack Race: A timed race, while carrying a 100-lb. bag of grain.
Axe Throwing: Contestants do not get to choose the target. It's a block of wood.
Portage: A timed race, moving a pile of camping stuff from one place to another. "And we are not talking about MEC purple metallic climbing clips."
Pole Climbing: Contestants have to climb the pole as fast as possible, untie the ribbon at the top, and return it to the judge. Judges like ribbons.
Pulp Cutting: Poles are cut into three equal pieces. The logs must be dropped into a marked area. And not hit a judge.
Wood Sawing and Splitting: One of the logs from the Pulp Cutting is first cut into three equal pieces, then each piece is cleanly chopped into four pieces. The first to do the math and deliver the 12 pieces to the judge is the winner.
Rat Skinning: Quality not speed counts. The rats in question are muskrats. In 2003, fish were gutted instead. Animal rights activists were delighted. Ten year old boys were disappointed.
Buckskin Parade: A fashion show for real leather men. It is a sort of 'if ya show up, we'll give ya a point' sort of event.
Trap Setting: First to set a given number of traps and still have their fingers left, wins.
Flour Packing: The winner is the person who can carry the most flour for 5.5 meters. The current record is 545.45 kilograms. Winner gets to keep the flour.
Tea Boiling: Tougher than it sounds. Contestants get a tin can full of snow, matches and wood. The rest is up to them. The first to bring their can to a rolling boil wins.
Bannock Baking: Contestants get lath, cardboard, flour, salt, baking powder, lard, warm water, and 45 minutes. The judges get to choose the bannock that tastes the least like cardboard.
Marathon Snowshoe Race: Too hard to treat lightly.
Sleigh Pull: A timed race, while pulling a sleigh full of gear.
Ice Fishing: Contestants get pre-drilled holes and that is about it. They have an hour to use their own gear to catch the most fish.
Moose Calling: Each contestant has to make three calls: calf, cow and bull.
Goose Calling: Three more calls: feeding, alert, and spring arrival.
Leg Wrestling: The two contestants lie on their backs on the floor facing one another, hips aligned. They raise the leg closest to their opponent and lock them together at the knee. They then try to flip their opponent over. The whole thing takes much less time to do than it does to explain.
Ice Hole Chopping: Timed. Hard.
Canoe Packing: A timed race, while carrying a canoe.
Other events include: dog sled competition (not officially part of the festival - nowadays dogs are serious racing machines that are not designed to do more than 50 km/day. So the race is run over a shorter track, over three days, near town); kids dig in snowbanks, looking for 'iceworms'; a talent show; cordwood bonspiel (lobbing round slices of log down the ice); a smoked fish and cured meat competition; an arts and crafts competition and display; a stage show featuring comedy jigging impersonations; a tea and fashion show for the ladies; a youth sock hop; judging the hairiest legs / best bedroom eyes / best beer belly / best buns / yuckkiest beard; And so on.
Locals say the Trapper's Festival started in 1916 with The Pas Dog Derby, begun as a way of settling a bet as to whose dog was fastest. Original race was from The Pas to Flin Flon, well over 100 km.
By Mark W. Arend
Here's a few that I've seen done at District & Council activities that have gone well:
Can be played on ice or in parking lot. Play just like hockey but no skates or fights. Expect some broken brooms.
Play on the ice. When the game's done you can cook & eat the 'ball'. If you use soda bottles fill part way with water to give them some stability.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.