The Gathering 2015
This year the Traditional Paddlers Gathering in western Minnesota was perhaps the most enjoyable it has ever been in the four years I have been attending. Perhaps I just arrived with the right attitude, perhaps it was the people that were there, or perhaps it was the return to a more traditional focus that the event had. Whatever the reason, this year was exceptional.
Tony established a new event that I suspect will become a staple, a hand line fishing competition. Everyone won a prize this year, two categories were awarded, most fish and biggest fish. The ropes rig made an appearance this year allowing many local paddlers to make real progress towards the magical 30 points needed to qualify for competitions.
Teaching along side Helen Wilson was a rare treat, together with Pete and Renee, we helped many people advance their skills and develop rolls many had only dreamed of achieving.
Fred Randal attended the event this year and completed the frame of a very elegant qajaq. The frame was wrapped in clear film and tested on Saturday. The frame was subsequently auctioned off as Dave Sides ran a live auction this year, raising far more funds than previous year’s silent auction, helping to ensure the event can continue to bring in interesting outside mentors and historians.
This year saw considerably more skin on frame qajaq at the Gathering, partially due to the presence of the newly formed Great Lakes Qajaq USA Fleet which now consists of 5 skin on frames, representing many different regions of Greenland. The Gathering also saw five Shrikes together for the first time in Minnesota, each unique and wonderful, a very gratifying site to see.
If you haven’t ever travelled to the Gathering you should add it to your wish list, it represents many of the finest elements of Qajaq USA events, in a beautiful environment with many excellent companions.
Photographs courtesy Pete Kuhn