Stillwater's Steven Price takes fast trip down Canada's Yukon River

Price and his partner make in two days a trek that normally takes two weeks
by Ed Godfrey Published: July 13, 2013

A Stillwater man spent two days and nights in a rowboat on Canada's Yukon River without going ashore in a quest to set a record.

Last month, Steven Price, 62, an associate vice president for technology development at Oklahoma State University, and his partner, professional adventurer Colin Angus, 42, rowed nonstop on a 440-mile stretch of the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City.

They made in two days what is normally a two-week trip. They took turns cooking and sleeping on the rowboat while each also took turns on the oars for two-hour shifts. Their sanitation system was “bucket and chuck it,” Price joked.

Their intent was to enter the annual race, the Yukon River Quest, but the race is only open to paddlers (canoes and kayaks). Race officials would not allow the rowboat, but the pair decided to make the run in a rowboat anyway.

On June 26, the duo launched at 2:03 a.m. — 10 hours earlier than the paddlers in the race — and completed the 440 miles in 50 hours and 50 minutes.

If recognized by race officials, it would be the fastest time posted in the Yukon River Quest in the last five years and the second fastest in history.

Angus is a Canadian author and adventurer. He traveled around the globe, powered by just his arms and legs, biking across the land and rowing across the water. He was among the first to raft the Amazon River from source to sea.

He also builds and sells rowboats and wanted to use a rowboat in the race on the Yukon River to prove the effectiveness of rowboats, Price said.

Rowboats are why the two men met. Three years ago, Price discovered Angus' rowboat business while searching for a rowboat on the Internet.

Price contacted Angus, who eventually designed and built a rowboat for him. The two men have been friends ever since.

They took a trial run around Vancouver Island in a rowboat to train for Yukon River Quest, but Price trained mostly by rowing every weekend on Lake Keystone.

“I was doing that continuously since January,” he said. “Every weekend I was on Keystone Lake, and I would row under all weather conditions, about 20 plus miles on Saturday and Sunday.”

The rowboat they used for the Yukon River was not like the racing shells manned by rowers on the Oklahoma River. It was more of a traditional rowboat, with some modifications designed specifically by Angus for the Yukon River adventure.

The rowboat was built so one person could lie down and sleep or rest while the other person rowed, Price said.

They packed for the journey as if it were a two-day backpack in the mountains. Their gear included a change of clothes, a rain jacket, a camping stove, water and food, such as freeze-dried meals, candy, trail mix and sardines.

by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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