Minutes of the 2013 Annual Meeting of the New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (NECKRA)


Elks Lodge, Florence, MA

November 3, 2013

2:00 PM – 4:30 PM


Minutes by Jack Beusmans, Secretary of NECKRA


1,  Officer/Committee reports


President’s report.


NECKRA’s President, Priscilla Reinertsen, summarized the 2013 racing season and thanked all who have helped make this season another success for NECKRA.


Priscilla noted that canoe orienteering was added as a new event in the Flatwater series. There were a total of 16 Downriver Points Series races and 23 Flatwater Points Series races. High water messed up a couple of races, but we tried to be flexible about that.  Racing and the frequent feeding opportunities after the races were a lot of fun.


Priscilla thanked all the volunteers that make NECKRA into a strong organization and vital communications service for the larger paddle sport community.


Priscilla gave a special thanks to our Goodwill Ambassador, Bob Allen, who does so much in addition to arranging this banquet and all the awards.  In addition, Priscilla thanked Phil Sousa for finding a new site for the Potato Race and for making that new race happen;  Rosemary Longo-Nutt for volunteering her considerable organizational talents as the “Downriver Mom” to keep the downriver races running safely and efficiently; and Charlie Brackett for organizing the downriver series and for seeing to it that the family-fun Laurel Lake event takes place each year.


Priscilla gave the 2013 un-Sung Hero Award to three volunteers for their special contributions to NECKRA. To Steve Miller for “All Things Web Masterful”; to Eric Jones for being the “Downriver Makes-It-Happen-Guy”; to Vicki Cummings for her “Fabled NECKRA Goodies.”


Secretary’s report. 


Submitted Jack Beusmans, Secretary.


It has been my pleasure to serve as NECKRA’s Secretary in 2013.  My responsibilities included preparing and publishing the minutes for the Annual Meeting and Competition Meeting, preparing mailing labels for the race packets, and sending out the Annual Meeting notices.  I very much enjoyed working with NECKRA’s Executive Board and President, Priscilla Reinertsen, to support our association.



Treasurer’s report.


Submitted by Ellen Downes, Treasurer.


Over the last five year, the Checking Balance at the end of each Fiscal Year has varied within only a $1500 range. Trying to change with the times, we have upgraded the benefits and services NECKRA offers its members and the larger community.  For example, we no longer print and mail a newsletter, but send it electronically.  The printing and mailing savings have allowed us to develop a grants program to support youth paddling at community boating organizations.  We are now able to provide scholarship money for our NECKRA athletes who are members of the US Kayak Team.


NECKRA is financially stable and we are attempting to be nimble and creative with our multi-faceted communications network, benefits and services.                                                             


NECKRA Fiscal Year 2012-13


For details of the 2012-13 financials, contact the NECKRA President or Treasurer.         


Membership report.


Submitted by Monica Schnitger, Membership Chair.


As of the first of November, 2013, the NECKRA membership stood at 180.  There were 59 individuals who were not members in 2012.  Membership total for 2012 was 188.  For 2011 the membership was 200.


NECKRA is experiencing a soft decline in membership.  The loss from 2011 – 2012 was 6%.  The loss from 2012 – 2013 was 4%.  Membership retention seems to be the area of membership loss in the past year.  Though percentage losses were reduced in the past year, as compared to the previous year,  this trend of reduction in membership should be noted and appropriate strategies should be considered.



Downriver Competition Report


Submitted by Eric Jones.


The 2013 New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (“NECKRA”) downriver season consisted of 16 races, running from March 30th (Scantic Spring Splash) to August 10th (Zoar Gap Plunge). This was an significant increase from the 12 races held in 2012 and is by far the most races run in a downriver season. With one exception, all the races on the 2012 schedule returned for 2013. These races were supplemented by the revival of three races and the addition of two new races.


The one race that did not return in 2013 was the Blackstone River Race. The Blackstone has been part of the NECKRA racing schedule since at least 2002, and it was on the initial 2013 downriver schedule as well. However, about a month before race day, the Blackstone River Watershed Association made the decision to cancel this race permanently. We are sad to see this long-standing race (2013 was to be its 37th running) disappear, all the more so because for many years it was organized by NECKRA's own Rosemary Longo-Nutt.


Happily, the Middleboro (MA) Parks Department already had a downriver race on the Nemasket River in southeastern Massachusetts scheduled for the same date as the Blackstone, and with some quick work NECKRA was able to replace the Blackstone with this race. Unfortunately, while the Nemasket course proved to be an interesting one, the racers generally felt the administration of race was not up to NECKRA standards: registration did not start even remotely close to the advertised starting time, the course was inadequately marked, one mandatory portage

seemed unnecessary and in the confusion some racers portaged and others did not, and there was a significant delay before results were reported to NECKRA. We do not anticipating the Nemasket race returning in 2014.


The other new race for 2013 was the Millers River Rumble organized by Jeff Belanger. The race, which features a Class IV drop known as the Funnel, was scheduled to take advantage of the water release for the River Rat Race. On race day, however, the water level was very high, and the finish line was moved to above the Funnel. Nevertheless, racers enjoyed the course, and we anticipate the race will be back in 2014.


The 2013 season also marked the return of three venerable races. Thanks to Mark Wendolowski, the Zoar Gap Plunge was back after a one-year hiatus. The Westfield River Race returned to the NECKRA schedule for the first time since 2003 (the race itself has been held continuously since 1954, and 2013 marked its 60th running). Finally, Brian Beaupre and Ashlee Anderson successfully revived the Willimantic River Race, which ran continuously from 1978 to 2006. It was great to have these races back on the schedule, and we hope to see them again in 2014.


A total of forty-six NECKRA members participated in at least one downriver race in

2013 – up six from 2012. Thirty members qualified (completed four races) in the downriver series, which was an increase of seven from 2012 and was the most qualifiers since 2002. Of the thirty qualifiers, sixteen competed in at least eight races (the maximum number that count toward the championship), the most since 1998. Eleven paddlers made their debuts in the downriver series in 2013.




Canoe / Kayak / Total















At least 1 race










At least 4 races










At least 8/7 races*










*In 2013, a paddler's best 8 races were counted; in 2012 the number was 7. In general, this    represents the minimum number of races a paddler must run in order to have a chance of winning the championship.


The chart makes it clear that the increase in both casual and competitive participation continues to come from kayakers. Overall canoe participation (at least one race) was four less than 2012, which itself was a record low. Though the number of canoe qualifiers was similar to the number of qualifiers over the past seven years, it continues to be much lower than the number seen in the early 2000s.


As shown in the chart below, overall participation in downriver races was up about 3% from 2012 (paddlers are counted once for each time they race at a particular event). Although the spring in New England was colder than usual, racing conditions were good at most races. As a result both the Scantic Spring Splash and the Hockanum River Race rebounded from low turnout in 2012. Otter Brook also saw a notable increase in participation. On the other hand, the Westfield River Race continued its downward trend in participation. This may in part be explained by the efforts of the race organizers to crack down on the excessive pre-race drinking that had characterized the novice race in recent years. However, the trend extended to the expert course races as well.







Change (%)

Scantic Spring Splash




Ware River Ice Breaker




Hockanum River Race




Westfield Wildwater Race




Wappingers Creek Water Derby




Sturbridge Lions All-American River Race




Otter Brook




Farmington Boateater Challenge




Quinnipiac Downriver Classic




Charlemont Downriver Race




Dragon Slayer




Deerfield Fest










The tandem pair of Eric Jones & Phoebe Jones won the canoe title with 398 points. Both Eric & Phoebe are in their 4th season with NECKRA. The win makes Phoebe, who turned eight years old in June, the youngest champion in NECKRA's history. Phoebe joins Jodi Smith (canoe - 2002) and Vicki Cummings (canoe - 2006 & 2007) as the fourth female downriver champion. Fred Thompson finished second with 393 points.


The kayak title went to Brian Beaupre, who has been racing with NECKRA for three years. It is Brian's first championship. Second place went to fourteen-year-old Jahn Pearson. Jeanne Breton (5th) was the top female kayaker.



2. Old Business


No old business items were brought up.


3. New Business


A.      Approval of budget for 2014


Priscilla gave a brief overview of the proposed 2014 Budget.

NECKRA 2014 Proposed Budget

For details of the 2014 Proposed Budget, contact the NECKRA President or Treasurer.         


Peter Heed moved to approve the 2014 budget, which was seconded by Fred Thompson.  Motion was approved unanimously by all members present.


B.      Election of officers and committee chairs


The following officers and committee chairs are proposed:


President – Priscilla Reinertsen

Secretary – Jack Beusmans

Treasurer – Ellen Downes

Membership – Monica Schnitger

Website – Steve Miller

Competitive Paddler – Shawn Burke and Rosemary Longo-Nutt

Competition – Bob Allen

Publicity – Shawn Burke

Equipment – Jack Beusmans

Flatwater Points Tabulator  – Steve Miller

Downriver Canoe Competition/Points Tabulator –Eric Jones and Charlie Brackett

Downriver Kayak Competition/Points Tabulator – Paul Glasscock

Flatwater Competition – open

Recreation/Youth  – open

Race Packet Solicitors – Eric Jones and Priscilla Reinertsen

Race Packet Editor – open


Tim Allen moved to approve the proposed slate of officers and committee chairs, which was seconded by Bob Allen. Motion was approved unanimously by all members present.



4. Adjournment


Meeting was adjourned.



5. NECKRA year-end awards


As always, Bob Allen did a great job presenting the awards and running the raffle with some great prizes.