From the Stacks: Cayuco Race

The PCMC team came across these photographs from a cayuco race that occurred in 1999. Cayuco are boats that are traditionally used by native people in Panama, and are crafted from a large tree trunk.

Do you remember watching or participating in one of these races? Can you recognize any of the competitors in these photographs?

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Look at the interesting figurehead on this cayuco!

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Two teams neck-to-neck!

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If you look carefully, you can see the words “We’re almost there” inscribed in the inside of the cayuco.

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OOPS!

 

In 1954, Wesley Townsend, an employee of the Panama Canal Company, decided to take a group of Boy Explorer Scouts to visit an indigenous community on the Chagres River. During their visit, the boys learned about native culture and how to paddle a cayuco, which was a major method of transportation of the region. In time, the competition between them intensified and they decided to have a formal race, leading to the Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race, a tradition which has now lasted for more than half a century.

To read the story behind one cayuco, Due Process, visit the Panama Canal Museum’s website here: http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/pcm/readstories/Hobey_Richey.aspx.

Make sure to join us for the 2018 Panama Canal Society Reunion in Orlando from June 27 – July 1, 2018, where there will be an exhibit about popular culture in the Panama Canal Zone on display. See more information and register here: https://www.pancanalsociety.org/reunion.html. We hope to see you there!

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