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Troop 344’s Victorious 2004 Klondike Derby Team (L - R) Scoutmaster Bob Rainwaters, Scouts Karl McOmber, Joe Wilder, Joe Baumgardner, Zach Firestone, and Assistant Scoutmaster Gary McOmber.  Sitting - Scout Randy Brautsch with 1st Place Trophy
Troop 344’s Victorious 2004 Klondike Derby Team (L – R) Scoutmaster Bob Rainwaters, Scouts Karl McOmber, Joe Wilder, Joe Baumgardner, Zach Firestone, and Assistant Scoutmaster Gary McOmber. Sitting – Scout Randy Brautsch with 1st Place Trophy
The year 2004 is now in full swing. The Klondike Derby has come and gone and I missed it. I would have like to have attended and taken some pictures. However the moment was not lost; Gary McOmber saved the day. Herewith, Gary’s report on the Klondike. It’ll make you wish you’d been there in spite of the cold.



Just about everyone has heard of the Iditarod Dog Sled race. This race commemorates the turn of the century event that had dog sled teams and mushers make an emergency delivery of vaccine to the Alaskan frontier in order to stem an outbreak of smallpox that threatened everyone.

There is nothing friendly about an Alaskan winter. At minus 40 degrees below zero, the no-daylight, hostile terrain, and hungry polar bears were but a few of the obstacles that reared their ugly heads. Nevertheless, enough vaccine arrived to save the many in need. Although several mushers did perish by environment or beast in their attempt, to this day we honor their effort and respect their courage by holding the race.

The Boy Scouts of America holds an annual Klondike Derby, using sleds, to help the Scouts and practice adequacy and proficiency of their winter skills and winter survival techniques. The boys, not dogs, pull the sleds over the frozen ground. This year two of our Districts combined to hold the Klondike Derby on the weekend of January 16, 17, & 18th at Camp Chief Little Turtle on the Anthony Wayne Scout Reservation at Pleasant Lake, Indiana. The Pokagon District encompasses Angola and the basic Steuben County area while the Miami District covers Southern Fort Wayne and extends into the Huntington area.

This year the Derby consisted of thirteen separate checkpoints requiring the use of different Scouting survival skills. There were also three scheduled “emergencies” that required the Scouts to use their First Aid skills on the spot. The stations included one that required lashing a tripod that would support a Scout’s weight. The boys then used the triangle stilt like object to walk 35 feet with the Scout aboard. Orienteering and compass skills were stressed and a knowledge of knots was required at some other stations. To prove their ability to deal adequately with the Indiana winter, Scouts transported their supplies by pulling a large sled full of provisions containing everything that was required for the completion of the course. Of course we had to have our own campsite and tents erected properly for the campsite and especially for the weather as another part of the competition. It maybe ‘just winter in Indiana’…but I do believe that every Scout that camped out with us is eligible for our “Freeze-Out Award” and it was not just a walk in the park for the Scouts. How many of you could start a fire by flint and steel in order to help treat hypothermia?

Out of something like 500 Scouts and Scouters at the event, the Waynedale area was represented by about thirty-five. Scouts and Scouters from Troop 38 (Leaders-Jerry Lloyd & Bill Lamb), Troop 344 (Leaders-Bob Rainwaters, Gary McOmbers, & Chester Machnowski), and Troop 44. In addition, we had a couple hundred Cub Scouts at camp Saturday for some fun. There are certainly some nice sledding hills that are world-class up there.

And there was not one Scout that made it through this event that did not come home Sunday with just a little more self-confidence, self reliance, and an improved perspective on teamwork than they took up with them on Friday. That is what we like to see in our outings. And to finish on that sweetest of notes, I am glad to be able to report that the Panther Patrol from Troop 344, sponsored by Waynedale United Methodist Church, brought home the overall First Place Trophy for the combined District event. That’s quite a great job Scouts.

Gary McOmbers

Assistant Scoutmaster Troop 344



We here at The Waynedale News understand that Dave Kinnee, District Executive for Miami District, was supposed to ‘get wet’ by going swimming at the Camp Little Turtle ‘water front’ during the Klondike Derby. What happened? Did he lose a bet? Did he really do it? Did he skinny dip or go in his Joe boxers? Did anyone see him? If anyone has the full story let us know. Just facts please. Oh, and some (printable) pictures would help.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Ray McCune

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