The Dean River Canoe Race is held every May. Ted Hlokoff photos

CASUAL COUNTRY 2019: Dean River Canoe Race unites Chilcotin communities

Large crowds amass each year on the bridge at Highway 20 to cheer on the competitors

An annual event unique to the Chilcotin, the Dean River Canoe Race is held each May and attracts spectators from throughout the region.

This year at the 39th annual event, 14 canoe teams paid entry, vying for a shot at thousands in cash prize money awarded each year at the race.

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Participants begin at the boat launch in Nimpo Lake as participants run a short distance before loading their boats in the water.

From there, racers turn north up Nimpo Lake toward the Dean River before racing under the bridge on Nimpo Lake Road North, then out of sight while speeding down the river.

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Large crowds amass each year on the bridge at Highway 20 to cheer on the competitors — some even dropping cans of beverages to the racers as they paddle under the bridge on their way down the river to the finish line at Anahim Lake.

The wildly-popular event is always followed by a banquet and dance at the Anahim Lake community hall, serving to connect the remote sister communities of Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake in the friendly competition.

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