SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Winslow to paddle Yukon River Quest race as fundraiser


June 07, 2006

Sitka, Alaska - Bill Winslow will combine adventure with fundraising when he competes in the Yukon River Quest to raise money for the Sitka Youth First Responders (SYFR), the youth rescue team he coordinates for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

jpg Winslow to paddle Yukon River Quest

Bill Winslow takes a break after paddling to Goddard Hot Springs Bay during a recent round-trip training session from Sitka for the upcoming Yukon River Quest race from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon Territory, in late June 2006. Winslow is using the race to raise funds for the Sitka Youth First Responders team.
Photo by Kathryn Winslow

Winslow will compete in the solo kayak division in the 460-mile, 750-kilometer river race June 28 to July 2 from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon Territory. He said a couple of members of the Sitka Fire Department persuaded him to enter the race with them, then they backed out. So Winslow decided to turn his race into a fundraiser for the SYFR team. The team is co-sponsored by SEARHC and by the 4-H program run by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. Winslow and the two SYFR co-sponsors are in the process of starting a similar youth rescue team for Prince of Wales Island.

"People do walkathons all the time, so why not raise money for the kids paddling," Winslow said. "The money I raise can go for scholarships or equipment. I've already raised $300, so there's no backing out now."

Winslow paid the $400 entry fee out of his own pocket and he spent another $2,700 to buy a used kayak from Yukon River Quest veteran Steve Reifenstuhl. Winslow's calling his team "Keet," which is the Tlingit name for killer whale. Winslow has been paddling at least four times a week around Sitka Sound to get ready, with at least one trip a week lasting four to six hours or more. Reifenstuhl has been helping Winslow prepare for the race.

"I talked to Steve Reifenstuhl, and he told me what to expect," Winslow said. "Steve said, 'Bill, don't try to win this race, just survive. Don't try to win, because that's how people get hurt.' I think I'll do OK, though."

The Yukon River Quest is billed as the longest river kayak/canoe race in the world.

To sponsor Winslow, call 966-8844 or e-mail You also can write a check to the Sitka Fire Department, but write the name "Sitka Youth First Responders" in the memo.


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