Beargrease Derby puts scouting skills to the test – Up News Info


DULUTH — Scouts from across the Midwest gathered in Cloquet in an ultimate test of leadership and teamwork during the Beargrease Derby on Saturday.

About 100 boys and girls put their scouting skills to the test by participating in winter activities such as obstacle courses, a toboggan run, ice rescue activities, astronomy challenges and solving survival problems.

Mike Polzin, second from right, assistant scout master with Duluth Troop 44, points while helping scouts during a drill with compasses at the Grand Marais checkpoint during the Voyageurs Area event Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s Beargrease Derby 2022 at the University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

Dan Williamson/Duluth News Tribune

Although there are no sled dogs, approximately four to eight scouts act as dogs, pulling the sled through a 1.3-mile course through the Cloquet Forest Center.

The sleds were created or customized by each Scout team, proudly displaying a sense of teamwork.

Gage Kabasa of Ashland, 16, has been in the Boy Scouts for four years. Kabasa acted as the patrol leader and musher of Yeti Patrol, Troop 342, in the derby.

children standing near a sled
Members of Ashland-area Troop 342 pose in front of their sled containing supplies during the 2022 Boy Scouts of America Voyageurs Regional Council Beargrease Derby event at the University of Minnesota’s Cloquet Forestry Center on Saturday, 26 February 2022.

Dan Williamson/Duluth News Tribune

“I use leadership, and we do things like first aid, we do compass orienteering, and we do ice rescue and fire starting,” Kabasa said.

There were 10 stations across the Cloquet Forestry Center where 16 teams of 13 troupes of boys and girls, aged 10 to 18, battled it out for a derby win.

“I hope we win. We are doing really well so far. And hopefully on the way back we can do something fun like go bowling or something,” said Kabasa.

Clark Garthwait, district director of the Boy Scouts of America Regional Voyageurs Council, said the derby is the biggest winter event hosted by the Boy Scouts of America.

Two smiling men
Kevin McGrath, left, and Clark Garthwait pose at the 2022 Beargrease Derby at the University of Minnesota’s Cloquet Forestry Center on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Both are part of the Boy Scouts of America’s Voyageur Regional Council. McGrath organized the event and Garthwait is district manager.

Dan Williamson/Duluth News Tribune

“We’re hosting a friendly competition here in a winter environment to test their outdoor skills,” Garthwait said. “All the skills they acquire are permanent skills. For example, how to come together as a team to overcome obstacles, first aid and basic survival skills.

The scouts were given hints about the events of the derby but kept most details under wraps. Scouts were told to study their scouting books to be prepared for anything.

Beargrease Derby event organizer Kevin McGrath said it was an event for kids to get out of the house and enjoy their surroundings.

“One of the biggest reasons we do this is because it’s winter, it’s cold, and when you come in February the kids have been inside all winter. . It’s an opportunity for them to hang out and have fun,” McGrath said. “But it’s important to get them out in a big group, and you can see the smiles on their faces when they’re here. They’re not even cold.

boy riding a sled
An Ashland area Troop 342 member named Nick rides a sled during the 2022 Beargrease Derby at the University of Minnesota’s Cloquet Forestry Center on Saturday, February 26, 2022. The event was hosted by the Regional Council of Travelers of the Boy Scouts of America.

Dan Williamson/Duluth News Tribune

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