OSCODA – Determined. Talented. Friends. Those three words sum up the two men who will be inducted into the AuSable River Canoe Marathon Hall of Fame on July 29 at Oscoda High School, following the 2018 AuSable River International Canoe Marathon.
The ceremony will take place at the awards dinner, which will begin at 6 p.m.
Solomon Carrière and Bruce Barton are this year’s inductees.
Solomon ‘Sol’ Carrière of Cumberland House, Saskatchewan, started paddling because it was a way of life for the Cree people.
His community was a central hub during the fur trade and everyone paddled to get around since it was the easiest means of traveling.
The people in his community began having competitions to see who the best was, and Sol’s Uncle Roger proved to be one of the best paddlers during the 1950s and 1960s.
Sol competed in his first Marathon in 1981. Although he did not finish that year, he went on to make quite an impact at future races. In 1984, Solomon was working underground as a driller and blaster in Snow Lake, Manitoba to provide for his young family.
At the end of a shift, he returned home and the phone rang with Butch Stockton on the other end. Butch asked Sol to race with him in the Marathon that year.
After talking to his boss and informing him he would resign if denied the time off, Sol phoned Butch and told him to sign them up. Since he only had five days to prepare, Sol did 8.5 hours of intense training for three days up and down the Saskatchewan River. That year they won, setting a course record of 14:20:00.
Solomon has 11 Marathon finishes including the current course record of 13:58:08, which he set in 1994 with Serge Corbin. He earned the Iron Paddler Award in 2008.
Solomon states that he has been very fortunate to have paddled with his son Réal and other memorable partners, and he acknowledges and thanks the race volunteers from 1947 to now. He thanks his competitors, those who make the race legendary and inspire the sport to grow, as well as the committee for naming him to this honor.
One of the paddlers Sol has competed in the marathon with on four occasions, whom he met racing in Canada, is fellow Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Barton.
Through paddling, the two have become close friends and share many memories on the water together.
After being introduced to canoeing by his father Mike and mother Kathy, who began paddling as a means to get off the Barton Farm, Bruce Barton began a long, competitive, and memorable career as a paddler.
Bruce competed in his first canoe race in 1969 on the Pere Marquette River; he competed in this event with Mark Rimer. But the AuSable River Canoe Marathon has not been Bruce’s only paddling feat.
In the early 1970s, he began kayaking and went on to make the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic Team for Sprint Kayak. Along with racing, Bruce has also done thousands of miles of canoe camping across North America, and still has the best finish of a United States kayaker at the Junior World Championships.
Bruce competed in his first AuSable River Canoe Marathon in 1988, at age 31, with fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Solomon Carrière. To date, Bruce has 20 Marathon starts and 17 finishes, two of which have been with his daughter Rebecca.
He earned his Iron Paddler Award in 2003, and, as of this year, has 50 consecutive years of canoe racing under his belt.
Hall of Fame recipients are selected by a joint Marathon Committee vote. To qualify for the honor, an individual must have either contributed time, resources, or assisted in the development of procedures that have either improved or continued the success of the marathon.
An individual may also be chosen for exemplifying the stamina, drive, competitive nature, character and the ability to overcome obstacles while competing in the marathon.
Individuals recognized to the Hall of Fame since its inception are Marilyn Wagner, Jay Stephan Sr., Hugh Bissonette, Bernie Fowler, Butch Stockton, Harry Curley, Ralph Sawyer, Al Widing Sr., Oscoda-AuSable Township Fire Department Water Rescue, Frank and Peggy Smutek, Stan Hall, John Cook, John Baker, Ed Wojahn, Serge Corbin, Bruce Myles, Lynne Witte, Jack Kolka, Larry Kindell, Larry Roberts, Howard Brubaker, Réjean Huard, the Gary family and the Kellogg brothers (Jeff and Jerry).