Local Boy Scouts troop to face Klondike test

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Jeremy Looper, member of Craig Boy Scout Troop No. 1150, stands with the sled his troop created for the Klondike competition this weekend. Looper said he's excited for his first Klondike and to see how well his troop's sled will fare.

Craig’s newly formed Boy Scouts Troop 1150 will get its first real test this weekend during the annual Klondike event at Sylvan Lake State Park near Eagle.

The one-day event will test the Boy Scouts’ ability to work together and independently of their leader to complete a 10-mile course pulling a handmade sled on homemade snowshoes.

Although the Klondike is open to everyone, Troop 1150 leader Randy Looper said the event is geared toward Boy Scouts, as opposed to Cub Scouts and Weeblos. Looper’s troop is made up of nine boys ages 11, 12 and 13. The new local troop is sponsored by The Journey at First Baptist church.

Each participating troop this weekend will visit 10 stations along on the course, each one teaching them lessons such as how to start a fire, Dutch oven cooking, lashings, avalanche awareness and first aid. There also will be an obstacle course.

The scouts must carry a duffel bag filled with a list of items they were given in advance. Looper said the scouts will be checked at each station to make sure they have all the items, and they’ll also be given a score for “spirit” — meaning how well they work together, how they perform the activity and how they include everyone.

“It’s a great team-building activity,” Looper said about the Klondike. “It’s good for them to figure out how to work together and how to get everyone involved without leaders there.”

The boys already have had to work together to come up with solutions for homemade snowshoes. Looper said some have taken tree boughs they bent over and tied, some have used PVC pipe and rope and some have used tennis rackets.

Troop member Wyatt Seim, 11, said he’s most excited to push the sled and do all the stations, especially the first aid station.

The Western Colorado Council sponsors the Klondike. The council is split into three districts — Majestic Mountain District, Grand Mesa District and Three Rivers District. Craig is part of the Three Rivers District that encompasses the entire northwest part of the region. Each district has its own Klondike on different days, but Looper said the Three Rivers Klondike always is the biggest and best attended. Between 300 and 500 boys are expected to participate.

It’s the first year for Troop 1150 to attend, but Looper said he has been helping out with the event for the past four or five years.

“Yeah, it’s a competition, but that’s not the point,” Looper said. “The point is team building and having fun out in the snow. It’ll be good for the boys.”

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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