King Trapper event a success at Winter Festival

Jodi Schellenberg
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When most people think of sporting events their minds go to traditional sports like hockey and football -- not the King Trapper event.

Cody Souter shows off his skills in one of the King trapper events at the Prince Albert Winter Festival on the weekend. Souter came in third overall.

This year’s King Trapper event at the Prince Albert Winter Festival was a success, despite attendance being down slightly, said chairperson Kevin Souter.

“It actually went really well -- we ended up with pretty good prizes and the point spread was pretty good this year,” Souter said.

Since the World Championship King Trapper event was held in Manitoba earlier this month, some of the people who would normally compete in Prince Albert were unable to.

“We were down a couple this year unfortunately due to injuries,” Souter said. “We would have had 10 to 12 guys if not for injuries.”

The King Trapper event started at the same time as the Winter Festival 50 years ago and has been a staple of the festival ever since.

“The King Trapper event is basically an event of all the stuff the guys would do out on the trap line,” Souter said.

There are events like chopping wood, sawing logs, boiling tea, animal calls and axe throwing.

“It pertains to all the interests of hunting, trapping and fishing,” Souter said. “(Some such as) axe throwing are fun events that you would take your time up in the bush when you are just sitting around.”

Even though they are events that would take place on the trap line, there are a few differences.

“It is a speed event, a strength event and you have to use all your abilities of technique and everything it involves (on the trap line) but at a higher rate of speed,” Souter said. “ All the events are timed events so you have to see how fast you can get through. It is an art in itself because you have to know what you are doing and when you are doing it.”

The other main difference is the tools they use are of higher quality.

“The axes they use are basically a surgical steel axe and the saws they use they pay in the neighbourhood of $500 just for a saw and blade,” Souter said. “They are a high tech saw with larger teeth, deeper gullets and are very sharp -- same with the axes.

“All the equipment we use is the same as they use in the bush, but it is just a little more high tech and a whole lot sharper too,” he added. “The axes are sharp enough that you could actually shave the hair on your arm with them.”

The participants like the event because they get to showcase their skills. 

“I think it is more just to show your skill and show their ability to do what they do just at a higher speed,” Souter said. “It is a fun sport in a sense but it is a highly competitive sport too. The guys who are doing this, we have ones like Franklin Carriere who are 65 years old and they are still doing it.”

It is also a bit of a family tradition. Souter’s father used to compete as did Souter and now his son Cody is competing as well.

Carriere’s brother Brian competes and there were three McKenzies in the competition this year.

This year was the first in about 20 years that a women decided to compete against the men.

“(Sophie Carriere) didn’t care she was competing against them and thought, ‘If you guys can do it, I can do it just as good,’ type of thing,” Souter said. “She wasn’t as fast and wasn’t as strong but she got out there and did every event the guys did.”

Sophie was then awarded the sportsmanship award by her other competitors.

“This year she was named the best sportsman award from all the guys because she was such a good sport in competing against all the guys,” Souter said. “She did every event the guys did.”

The winners of the 50th annual King Trapper event were:

• First: Gerald McKenzie with 61 points, won $1,200 and a chainsaw

• Second: Norman McKenzie with 52 points, won $600 and a pair of binoculars

• Third: Cody Souter with 44 points, won a hooded sidewash

• Fourth: Franklin Carriere with 38 points, won an emergency bag

• Fifth: Brian Carriere with 21 points, won a trail axe

• Sixth: Sophie McKenzie who won a five-piece tool set

Franklin Carriere was also presented with the honourary Lifetime King Trapper, since he has been competing for about 45 years. They presented him with a silver cup and a silver watch.

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Manitoba

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