One of our favorite events at camp is the Tour de Grizz Boat Race. The event is held on the second Friday morning of our two week sessions. Many campers dedicate activity time throughout the session in our Woodshop designing and creating their boats to race down Grizzly Creek in our Gold Panning area.

As race day approaches campers put the finishing touches on their boats and gear up for this prestigious and thrilling race down the river. The event itself consist of a number of different races. The first event is the Bracket Race where boats race head to head with the winners moving on to the next round until we have the top three finishers. Next, is the All Out Race where all of the boats start at the same time. The boats are placed at the starting line by the race directors of the event and campers wait at the finish line for their boat to cross the finiah line. Once again the top three finishers receive special recognition for their racing acumen. After these two races the Style Compettion begins where each particpant makes their pitch promoting the style and handiwork of their boat. Best of Show, Most Creative and other recognitions are awarded to deserving boats. Our final race of the Tour de Grizz is the Rapids Race. The race directors take all of the boats who wish to particpate further upsteam where they are dropped into the rapids and race towards the finish line. Many a vessel starts this race, but not all survive as some boats will get caught in the plants of the creek or end up lodged between rocks as they travel through the rapids. It is not unusual for a Tour de Grizz boat to make its way down the creek and towards the Swim Area weeks or even months after the race. Sometimes we even find them in the main part of our lake months later. See photo with this story.

After lunch, our race directors announce and present awards to the Tour de Grizz winners at an awards cermony in front of the entire camp.

Former Walton’s counselor Jim Lasher brought the idea and ran the first Tour de Grizz Boat Races during the summer of 2000. We are excited for this years 20th summer of the race. We love seeing the time, creativity and craftmanship our campers put into their boat building and the fun they have showing and racing their boats down Grizzly Creek.