Schlimmer, Lefever win third straight

  • River Rat Race 2018 finish line. MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Ben Schlimmer and Trevor Lefever too first place in the 55th annual River Rat Race this year. It is the third consecutive year they’ve won. The also won in 2014. Mike phillips/for the athol daily news

  • Above, Trevor Lefever and Ben Schlimmer cross the finish line to win the 55th annual River Rat Race this year. It is the third consecutive year they’ve won. They also won in 2014. Below, Schlimmer and Lefever with their trophies. MIKE PHILLIPS/FOR THE aTHOL dAILY nEWS

  • Mike Davis and Shane McDowell took second place in the 55th annual River Rat Race.

  • Al Shaver and Bruce Lee came in third at the River Rat Race on Saturday.

  • Al Shaver and Bruce Lee came in third at the River Rat Race on Saturday.

Sports Writer
Published: 4/15/2018 10:28:07 PM

ATHOL — At approximately 1:34 on Saturday afternoon in Orange, a lone canoe came down the Millers River. As fans and residents rushed to see who was in the canoe, it came as no surprise that the paddles were in the hands of Ben Schlimmer and Trevor Lefever, winning the 55th annual River Rat Race for the third year in a row.

“It’s awesome,” said Schlimmer following the win. “We’ve got a good system going in the boat, and once you win, you just want to keep coming back and win again, find that feeling. It’s amazing.”

The duo finished the race in approximately 34 minutes, whereas their winning time in the 54th edition of the event was 34 minutes and 50 seconds.

“The water level seemed a little higher this year than last year,” said Lefever.

The duo has won the race four times now, all coming within the last five years.

“Ben and I, we both have the same mentality,” said Lefever. “It’s all-out, sun’s-out, gun’s-out kind of mentality, and go as hard as you can. There’s a little bit of strategy in this race, but not a lot.”

The duo started the race tied up with Bruce Lee and Al Shaver, another duo that consistently places in the top 10 of the race (they finished in third place this year). Going under the bridge, the Schlimmer and Lefever found themselves sideways trying to maneuver through a jam of canoes. After they cleared the bridge, the two freed themselves going down the river from the rest of the crowd, all the way to victory.

“Once we jumped over the wave, we got going,” said Schlimmer. “It’s always an adventure (down the river).” In canoe 83 was Mike Davis and Shane McDowell, who finished second

It was the first time Davis participated.

“It was a different experience for me,” said Davis. “It was my first time ever racing. My partner Shane raced six times before, I think, so he knew what to expect. It was a lot more chaotic than any other canoe race I had ever done.

“It was everything I expected it to be,” added Davis. “It was a lot of fun, great experience; can’t wait to come back.”

Shaver and Lee took third in their No. 8 canoe, while another notable pair, Adam Gelinas and Ryan Zaveral, took fourth in their number 153 canoe. Peter Heed and Paul Facteau took fifth place with their No. 51 canoe.

In the woman’s division, Phoebe Reese and Sylvia Nadeau took first in canoe number 10. Vicki Cummings and Pam Fitzgerald took second in canoe 24. Brian Fitzgerald and Joe Schlimmer took first in the mixed division with canoe 88, while Stephen Miller and Seth Miller took first in the aluminum division.

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