February 17, 2018
Winter Outdoor Skills Competition!
This is a traditional Scouting Winter Camping and Outdoor Skills competition. Each patrol/crew must build and bring a wheeled Klondike sled or a wheeled miniature Conestoga or Prairie Schooner Wagon with their trademark canvas bonnets! Participants can serve as the draft animal of their choice: dogs, horses, oxen, or mules – depending on the vehicle they bring! Patrols/teams will load the wagons/sleds with their personal and patrol equipment and pull them through the competition course using a map and compass to find each station. Competition Stations will be named after famous Gold Rush towns. Patrols/teams will receive “gold” nuggets for their score at each station.
Some events will be competitive, some will be instructional. Each station will time and test patrols on their team work, winter camping skills, Scouting knowledge and their problem solving ability. Details in the Klondike Leader’s Guide on our website this winter.
Competition Events will include:
- Equipment inspection
- Orienteering Course
- Obstacle Crossing
- Fire Building
- Travois Races
- Emergency Shelter Building
- Rescue and Cold Weather First Aid
- Flag Pole Raising
- Bear Bag skills
- Blindfold Tent Setup
- Sled and Wagon Slalom races
- Other activities – Be Prepared!
- Dutch Oven Cooking- Patrols may provide a dinner entrée cooked in a Dutch Oven with recipe to be judged. Entry must be brought to the Dining Hall by 6 PM and must be of sufficient portion for three judges to sample. This is a Troop competition – 1 entry per troop.
The Klondike Sled, Prairie Schooner, and Conestoga Wagon
Every competing patrol/team needs a wheeled Conestoga or Prairie Schooner Wagon or a Klondike Derby Sled with wheels. These should be fashioned to look somewhat like the traditional wheeled Conestoga or Prairie Schooner Wagons, with their canvas weather tarp and frame, or Klondike Sleds with wheels.
Conestoga Wagons were huge freight wagons with an arching weather cover or bonnet developed in Pennsylvania by descendants of German colonists and used for hauling freight throughout the East and on the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico.
The Conestoga wagons were too heavy for their draft animals on most rugged western trails. The much smaller Prairie Schooners were developed specifically for overland travel and saw wide use throughout many of America’s western migrations to the latest Gold Rush fields. Many travelers simply retrofitted their standard farm wagons with a canvas bonnet. The popular Boy Scout Trek Carts from the early days of Scouting were a single-axle adaptation of the famous frontier wagons and their trademark canvas bonnets.
In the winter in the far north frontier, their only means of travel was by dog team. During the Klondike Gold Rush dog sleds were used for transport, freight and mail delivery. Winter travel in the North Country without a dog sled was almost impossible.