And the Winner Is . . . .

Andy Hutyera

The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member
Yesterday I came home from work to find my wife in the kitchen baking pies for an event at church yesterday evening. We'd had company on Sunday, and the kitchen table had, for the first time in many months, been cleared of all the old mail and reading material that accumulates there. Sitting on the table were two wine glasses and a bottle of wine. I asked my wife what the wine glasses were for. She replied that we had something to celebrate and asked if I knew what it was. I likely got this panicked look on my face, wondering what event I had forgotten. She told me to check the answering machine.

On the answering machine was a message from Jamie Strader who works at the Great Camp Sagamore near Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks. We had been there in June of 05 for the last No Octane Regatta put on by the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake. While staying at the camp, I was admiring a beautiful new wood canvas canoe that had been built by the gentleman who runs the boat building school at the camp. They were raffling it off to raise money to support the camp. I bought a ticket and had long since forgotten about it. Jamie was calling to tell me that I was the lucky winner!!!

Later that evening I told one of my friends that for the first time in my life I had one something. His reply was "Did you hit the lottery?" I said, no, this was even better than that! What's money compared to a beautiful new wood canvas canoe??? Of all the times I've bought tickets to support worthy organizations, I've never won anything, let alone something I really wanted.

I'm still recovering from the shock. It so happens that next week we have a trip to Syracuse planned to visit our kids and grandkids there. I expect we'll be picking it up then. I'll post pictures as soon as available.
What a happy story, Andy. Your words exemplify why we are here. Monetary reward pales in comparison to the functional beauty of stem-bent and varnished wood that ultimately provides joy, peace and relaxation, and can take you to wonderful places that you might otherwise only dream of. The child-like sense of excitement and wonder that seems apparent in your words is to me one of the greatest things in life, perhaps because as adults we seem to experience it less and less. Good for you!
Congratulations on your new canoe! I can really understand how you are feeling having won that canoe by lottery. When I built my Birch Bark Canoe at the WoodenBoat School class and won it in the builders' lottery, I was stunned and speechless. I figure I have used up my lottery winning luck for a least the next 50 years.
Your new canoe will always be special to you.
Congratulations again and I hope to see it next spring at a Three Rivers get together.
Mark Z.

You're right. I feel the same way. I suppose I can stop buying those tickets now! Max told me the story of your beautiful birch bark. What a treat! I'm sorry I had to miss our last get together. I would have loved to give that birch bark a try. Max said it was a beautiful paddler.
Congratulations! Since, your canoe was built by the "gentleman" that runs the school there at Sagamore, I'm guessing that it was built by Patrick Smith of the West Hollow Boat Company in the Finger Lakes region. I took a restoration class there with him a number of years ago. Not only does he build pretty canoes, but he's a great guy to work with. He has even been known to supply a beer or two. Gentlemen though......hmmm?

I believe you are right. I met Patrick while we were staying there and had a nice visit with him in the shop. He gave me the idea of using a boat winch to haul my heavy Pal form up for storage when not in use. It works great.
Over the weekend, they got 20" of snow up at Raquette Lake. On Thursday we made the trek from Auburn, NY to Sagamore. The pictures are up at: The canoe was even more beautiful than I remembered it when I last saw it in June of '05!