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HomeNewsArchivesAnnual Royak Regatta Offers Competitors a Challenge: Don't Flip!

Annual Royak Regatta Offers Competitors a Challenge: Don't Flip!

June 4, 2007 — It was a beautiful day for family, fun and water sports Sunday as the Boy Scouts of America's annual Royak Regatta circled the waters of Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino, keeping up a tradition of fun and friendly competition.
"It's a fun day," said Boy Scout representative Matt Holmes. "Everybody gets a T-shirt, lunch — they hang out and just have a good time."
Groups of families and friends filled the resort's beach, cheering on their favorite teams. Children played near the shore or at the nearby pool while royak relayers struggled — sometimes vainly — to maneuver through the oceanic obstacle course and stay upright in their small boats, described as a cross between a kayak and a canoe.
Some consider Roy Rey an expert on the royak. The vessel is steered by a single oar with paddles at both ends, he said. While a kayak fits close up to a person's torso, a royak is open, with foot jacks for the user to keep the apparatus steady and upright, Rey explained. The openness of the royak makes it easy for people to fall, he said.
"It's not an easy task," Rey said. "A lot of people say they can do it by looking but, when they jump in and start, they roll over like a log."
This year, like many years before, witnesses sometimes hung around only to see the next relay participant flip head first into the ocean. "I like to see when they fall," said one 7-year old playing in the sand.
For the event organizers, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's Iota Sigma Lamda chapter, the lessons the children learn by participation in the event is the key element of the race. With the struggles children go through today, young men in particular, it is important they are able to see and participate in events that promote healthy competition, said Chapter President Oneal Canton. The fraternity has been involved with the regatta since 2000, and Canton said they have chosen to make the race their major community event.
Although fun, exciting and sometimes comical, the race is taken rather seriously by the participants. According to Holmes, teams practice for weeks before the race. In the youth division, Central High School's Caribs Junior ROTC crossed the finish line with fervor and follow through that had them dusting the St. Croix Educational Complex's Spartans.
Winners proudly pranced around the beach and surrounding pool carrying their trophies, medals and smiles like badges of honor.
"This does a lot for the confidence of our children," said Janette Millin Young, director of public relations for Innovative Communication Corporation. For 17 years, the Prosser ICC Foundation has sponsored the event, which Young said is entirely about the children: "You get to see the kids cheering for each other. There is not enough to do on St. Croix that is positive."
Here are the winners:
Adults 18 and Older
First place: T-Rex/Team Turner
Second place: UVI ROTC Bulldogs
Third place: V.I. Fire and Rescue
Youth 15 to 17
First place: CHS Caribs (JROTC)
Second place: Complex Spartans
Third place: Boys and Girls Club (Cool Runnings)
Junior Youth 11 to 14
First place: Griffins
Second place: Woodson Warriors
Third place: Manor Eagles
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