The Honesdale Area Jaycees once again sponsored this annual "Rite of Spring"

Whitewater enthusiasts from all over the region turned out Sunday morning to participate in this year's edition of the Wayne County Canoe Classic.

The event, which is hosted each spring by the Honesdale Area Jaycees, is in its fourth decade.

“We're very pleased with how everything went today,” Jaycees President Brendan Murray said. “The weather's perfect and the water conditions are ideal. We couldn't be happier.”

Competitors came from as far away as Philadelphia to take part in the race, which begins at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Dyberry Township and runs nine miles to Firemen's Field in White Mills.

“We put an awful lot of work into this every year, but we couldn't pull it off without the support of our community,” Brendan said.

“There are so many businesses that help us out and we're very grateful to them for all their support.”

Steve Daniels and Chase Holl served as organizers for this year's Wayne County Canoe Classic.

“We try to get the word out as early as possible and that's a big part of it,” Steve said. “People have been great about helping up out and we really appreciate it.”

Chase was quick to agree, adding that conditions were just about optimal for this year's classic.

“We put 92 boats in the water and as far as I know there weren't any problems at all,” he said. “A couple of people got wet, but overall things have been great.”

Plans are already afoot for next year's event.

Tentatively speaking, the 2018 Wayne County Canoe Classic will take place either the second to last or last Sunday in April.

At the Line

While the majority of the canoeists and kayakers who participated in Sunday's race were just out to have fun, several elite competitors were also on hand to test their skills.

Dan Harmon led the way.

A veteran whitewater athlete from Watsontown, Harmon won the Men's Solo Kayak division and also finished first overall.

Dan covered the nine miles from Dyberry Twp. to White Mills in a blistering time of one hour, one minute and 54 seconds.

John Dunkleberger earned runner-up status in the division, crossing the line at 1:03:21. Don McConaghy finished third in a time of 1:04:17.

Nick Hindley and Bruce Coddington teamed up to win the Open Racing division. This tag-team duo posted a gold medal time of 1:03:19.

Local legends Dave Gustin and John Finnen claimed runner-up status, paddling home in 1:03:24.

Charlie Bruno and David Bruno wound up in third place at 1:04:09.

Robert Bates also turned in a stellar performance. The lone entry in this year's Men's Solo Short division, Bates checked in with a time of 1:07:23.

More Medals

The Men's Short Class was also very competitive and went right down to the proverbial wire.

In the end, the dynamic duo of James Pierce and Rich St. Dennis claimed the laurels with a winning time of 1:02:47.

The team of Jesse Freda and Tom Freda finished second (1:05:35), while the pairing of Chaz Augello and Michael Brownell ended up third (1:15:32).

In Women's Solo Canoe-Kayak action, Noelle Olver captured gold by jetting home in 1:17:30.

Former Lady Hornet standout Taylor Rickard notched a second place showing, clocking in with a time of 1:18:51. Bonnie Edwards earned a bronze medal after crossing the line in 1:22:58.

The Men's Solo Kayak (Recreation) division boasted one of the day's biggest fields … which led to some interesting results.

Charlie Anderson churned his way to victory, covering the course in a solid time of 1:12:56. He was chased home by Maurice Dennis (1:14:22) and Dave Stahley (1:15:26).

The Mixed Short class also attracted big numbers and robust competition.

Kelsey Sheridan and Thomas Sheridan combined their skills to earn gold medals, recording a time of 1:08:17. The duo of Carly Gustin and Nate Ruckinger grabbed second place (1:13:16), while Elly Skinner and Steven Grizzle were third (1:20:43).

In Tandem Kayak action, the team of Arthur Goble and Ann Cook walked away with the win, posting a time of 1:15:41.

Dave Figura and Sharon Panonti were runners-up (1:23:54), while Ron DePasquale and Eli Tomlinson were third (1:24:15).

In the Parent-Child Short Class, Scott Arnold teamed up with Connor MacBain to take gold (1:16:33).

Michael and Timothy Schuman took silver (1:18:27), while Harrison and Lars Balthaser earned bronze (1:18:41).

Rounding out the day's action was the duo of Kay bates and Raynell Lenz who finished first in Women's Short Class action (1:22:42)