Fort defends snowshoe race title Falls mayor cries foul

It wasn’t exactly the War of 1812, but the competition was intense at the annual snowshoe race between Fort Frances and International Falls there Friday night.
The event, held in conjunction with “Icebox Days,” was postponed a week due to extremely cold weather but the layoff didn’t appear to affect the Fort team, which consisted of Mayor Dan Onichuk, Clerk Glenn Treftlin, Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, Coun. Struchan Gilson, and tax collector Ed Katona.
Once again, the local side claimed bragging rights as they took the event in fine style.
The race was not without controversy, however. At one point, Clerk Treftlin lost one of his snowshoes and actually carried it for nearly 30 feet to complete his leg of the relay.
This resulted in a certain amount of trash talk by both sides.
International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason, who was captain of her team, said afterwards she intended to appeal the results and suspected Mayor Onichuk may have taken an unfair advantage.
She declined to be specific, other than to say the matter would be brought up at tonight’s council meeting there.
“We have reports two of the Fort Frances team lost their shoes and carried them,” she charged.
“There’s nothing in the rules that says the clerk can’t carry one of the snowshoes,” retorted Mayor Onichuk.
“It’s called a snowshoe race, not a foot race,” Mayor Mason challenged. “How can you feel good when there’s this area of doubt?
“Besides, they broke the trophy.”
Mayor Mason added she intends to put forth a resolution at tonight’s council meeting there nullifying the race results and to challenge Mayor Onichuk to a rematch at the upcoming Fort Frances Li’l Amik Winter Carnival 2005 being planned for the end of February.
Mayor Onichuk was all for that.
“We look forward to discussing a challenge at the winter carnival meeting on Jan. 25,” he pledged.