Andrew Triebold, 43 of Grayling, and Ben Schlimmer, 30, of Camilius, NY near the finish line to claim first place during Saturday’s Curley Memorial Race

OSCODA – A pair of canoe racing veterans had never even raced together before. On Saturday, during the Curley Memorial Canoe Race Andrew Triebold, 43, of Grayling and Ben Schlimmer, 30, of Camillus, N.Y. teamed up for the first time and had fantastic results, a first place finish in a time of 2:28.12.

“We had never competed together before, but had competed against each other several times, so we thought, let’s give it a shot,” Schlimmer said. “It was kind of a spur of the moment thing, he asked me to race with him a week before. We were able to paddle together a few times before the race to feel each other out. We had a good race, had a good battle and ended up with the win.” 

The race began at the embankment of Cooke Dam and after two portages, finished at Finish Line Park, near the AuSable Inn of Oscoda. 

The team of Triebold and Schlimmer weren’t able to break away from the pack through the first hour, but built a sizeable lead during the final stretch. 

“I’m familiar with the river, being that it is part of the (AuSable River Canoe) Marathon Course, so it was good to come out and have a little warm up before the big event,” Schlimmer said. “That was a big part of my motivation, to see that part of the river.” 

Wes Dean, 24, Columbus, Ohio and Kyle Stonehouse, 25, Grayling, formally of East Tawas had a solid second place finish, timing out at 2:28.38. In third was Mike Davis, 28, of Homer and Matt Meersman, 42, of South Bend, Ind at 2:29.38, in fourth, with a time of 2:30.28 was Nick Walton, 46 of Eaton Rapids and Weston Willoughby, 28, of East Lansing, taking fifth was Rich Lauth, 46, of Grosse Ile and Mary Schlimmer, 28, of Grayling, with a time of 2:38.27. Lauth and Schlimmer were also the mixed class winners. 

“The weather was perfect for racing and the extremely high water made for excellent race conditions,” event organizer Ryan Matthews said. “The Curley is one of the best previews at how teams will perform in two weeks during the world famous marathon. It was great to see paddlers from the local areas as well as from out of state and country to come race in the Curley. Some of the best paddling talent in the sport was racing this weekend and it made for a very exciting race. Everywhere I stopped along the river while watching the race there were spectators wildly cheering on the racers.” 

In sixth, with a time of 2:39.46 was Ray Trudgeon, 37 of Grayling and Bill Torongo, 57, of Roscommon, Jason Hatfield, 41 of Grayling and Carson Burmesiter, 22, of Grand Rapids were seventh in a time of 2:39.54, in eighth was Sean Brabant, 29, of Roscommon and Austin Weiler, 27 of Roscommon with a time of 2:40.12, placing ninth was Daniel Medina, 25, of Homer and Jason Sharpe, 31, of Roscommon at 2:41.19 and in 10th was Tim Chapple, 45, of Interlochen and Pete Mead, 38, of Traverse City in a time of 2:44.05. 

In 11th was Jeff Kolka, 60 of Grayling and Naomi Kolka, 23, of Grayling, in 12th was Russ Reker, 55, of Lapeer and Tim Triebold, 66, of Grayling, Bruce Barton, 62, of Homer Tad Hill, 41, of Livionia were 13th, in 14th was Shawn Spallinger, 42, of Oscoda and Carrie Montgomery, 49, of Mikado, placing 15th was Joe Leusby, 35, of Roscommon and Matthew Palmer, 43, of Mt. Morris, taking 16th was LJ Bourgeois, 42, of Greenbush and Rod Matthews, 64, of Oscoda, taking 17th was Mike Hartman, 42, of Grayling and Flash Marsh, 42, of Mio, in 18th was Mike Garon, 61, Washington Twp and Doug Gillin, 60, Adrian and in 19th and 20th were Kristi Treston, 25, of Traverse City and Kathryn Treston, 30 of Traverse City and Zach Cheney, 22, of Grayling and Chris Ecker, 55 of Mio. 

Also competing, in finishing order were Rodney Elliott, 51 of Grayling and Bill Mahaffy JR, 38, of Grayling, Jerry Lambert, 54, of Frederic and Fred Mills, 65 of Roscommon, Sean Casey, 40 of Grayling and Bryan Bearss, 42 of Grayling, Rob Shadley, 35, of Cass City and Aaron Putnam, 35, of Marlette, Ryan Childs, 46, of Bay City and Zach Childs, 17, of Bay City. Doug Dalman, 44, of Coopersville, Nickie Rice-Owens, 41, of Frederic, Josh Kellogg, 36, of Curran, Mike Kellogg, 50, of Montague, Lynne Witte, 65, of Luther and Gwen Hills, 35, of Traverse City, Brad Thompson, 29, of Frankenmuth and Chuck Hewitt, 60 of Bay City along with Andrew Weeks, 55 of Battle Creek and Paddi Thornburg, 56, of Athens. 

In 31st through 38th were Keith Wojahn, 55 of Tawas City and Jerry Killingbeck, 50, of east Tawas, Chris Scully, 59 of Lincoln and Dale Thompson, 63, of Kentwood, Brandon Barnes, 31, of Roscommon and Jesse Barnes, 34, of Grand Rapids, Lauren Fry, 41, of Ypsilanti and Mark Rowe, 45, of Ypsilanti, James Miller, 54, of Korumburra, Australia and Peggy English, 60, of Oscoda, Steve Belknap, Jr, 40, of Mason and Steve Belknap, Sr, 62, of Mears, and Lindy Kellogg, 46, of Cedar and Mikayla Erickson, 24, of Oscoda. 

In the expert two division, taking first was Mickey Kimsel, 45, of Bay City and Robby Kimsel, 47 of East Tawas with a time of 3:05.46. Taking second was Karen Laszlo, 58, of Clarkston and Stephen Routley, 54, of Alphington, Australia. Behind them, in finishing order was Diana Jurewicz, 56, of Homer and Sarah Webb, 58, of Oscoda, Jessica Pieri, 31, of White Cloud and Nicki Krucinski, 30, of White Cloud, David Hallison, 46, of St. Clair and Jason Holton, 46, of St. Clair Shores and Tanya Rice, 38, of Grayling and Heidi Farmer, 39, of Grayling. 

The winner of Sunday’s C1 Race, which took place at the AuSable Children’s Park was Mike Davis, 28, of Homer in a time of 1:03.51. In second was Medina in a time of 1:05.25, Reker was third at 1:05.26, in fourth was Jeff Kolka at 1:05.28, in fifth was Chapple at 1:06.45, placing sixth was Jon Webb, 59, of Oscoda at 1:07.57,  placing seventh was Tad Hill, 41 of Livonia at 1:07.57, in eighth was Austin Weiler, 27, of Roscommon at 1:08.29, Sean Brabant, 29, of Roscommon was ninth at 1:09.31 and in 10th was Bruce Barton, 62, of Homer at 1:09.40. 

In 11th through 21st was Mike Hartman, 42, of Grayling, Routley, Mills, Rick Joy, 60, of Silverwood, Elliott, Lambert, Bill Mahaffy, Jr, Rod Matthews, 64, of Oscoda, Miller and Andrew Meeks, 55, Battle Creek. 

In 21st through 30th was John Hollands, 66, of Lakeport, Robby Kimsel, Bruce Buchinger, 66, of Mikado, Kevin Stalheim, 65, of Milwaukee, WI, Ray Yehl, 67 of East Tawas, Evan Mahon, 27, of Lake Orion, Rick Gillings, 61, of Prescott, Sarah Webb, 58, of Oscoda, Justin Griffith, 47, of Harrisville and Mickey Kimsel, 45, of Bay City. 

Also in 31st through 37th were Vinnie Iler, 60, of Oscoda, Bob Bradford, 76, of Lapeer, Paddi Thornburg, 56, of Athens, William Hill, 72, of Grosse Ile, Lauren Chapple, 72, of Interlochen, Nate Greeley, 25 of Midland and Al Timer, 68, of Fowlerville. 

“The donations made during the awards picnic after the C2 race go towards the canoers Memorial Monument, there are several names being added to the monument at a ceremony this September,” Matthews said. “Thanks to Oscoda Canoe Rental, Gary Oil and Propane, Sunnybunns, BC Woodworks, A. Curley Contractor and Consumers Energy  for their continued support of this great Northeast Michigan event.”

The Marathon takes place July 27 and 28.