Team of Steele

June 27, 2022

Welch LLP at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragonboat Festival 2022

What a weekend! Welch LLP gathered several staff and put together a strong team to participate in the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragonboat Festival on the weekend of June 25/26, 2022. The weekend-long event was held at Mooney’s Bay Beach with races spread out in the morning and afternoon.

Honing the Team

In the weeks leading up to race weekend, the team prepared with two one-hour practices at the Rideau Canoe Club. The practices were led by Liz Elton, a coach who has over 25 years of experience at the Rideau Canoe Club.  The team was co-captained by two of our own Welch employees, Heather Clayton, an experienced dragon boater who has paddled for 9 years on an intermediate women’s team and Elliott Bourgeois, who had significant contribution behind the scenes and sits on the board for the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival.

As expected from Welch LLP, the talented team got the hang of it in no time! Before long, the team quickly learned the Dragonboat commands, the importance of synchronicity, and how to work as one. With only two practices, the Welch’s Team of Steele was able to compete in the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragonboat Festival with a result to be proud of!

The Team of Steele in the Water

On Saturday June 25th, Welch’s Team of Steele completed two 500m races, as well as a bonus 200m exhibition race. The team qualified to compete on Sunday with a best time of 2:36:10 in the afternoon 500m.

On Sunday June 26th, Welch’s Team of Steele competed in the Mixed G Division. The rankings from Saturday sorted the qualifying teams up into different divisions, and the team competed against 7 boats that were within a few seconds of their best time from Saturday. The race schedule for Sunday consisted of a 200m race and a 100m race in the morning, and then a 500m race in the afternoon.

The weather was perfect as the team geared up and got ready for the Sunday morning race – sunny and very little wind. The first race for Team Steele was Race #50, a 200m at 9:00am. Welch’s Team of Steele paddled in harmony and finished the race in third place, earning a bronze trophy for the 200m Mixed G final. Welch LLP won with a time of 00:58.36 – only 2.00 seconds behind the first-place team!

The second race of the Sunday was Race #64, an incredibly fast-paced race of 100m at 11:20am. Welch’s Team of Steele battled it out with four other teams, only milliseconds apart! Welch LLP finished fourth place with a time of 0:29.70, just 0.57 milliseconds behind the first-place team.

The third, and final, race of the day was Race #78, a 500m at 3:10pm. Welch’s Team of Steele finished fifth place with a time of 2:38.03.

A Story of Inspiration

Over the years, Welch LLP has previously participated in the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival under the banner Welch Wave Runners with retired partner Garth Steele leading the charge. It was always an amazing time with the team members enjoying the weekend at the beach and working together towards a common goal.

Now retired, Garth Steele continues to inspire and bring joy to those around him. Garth courageously battles Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a diagnosis received in 2021.  Garth’s family, friends, and colleagues see him as Superman, aka the “Man of Steel”, as he symbolizes strength, hope, kindness, and doing good in the world.  Garth’s strength, both now and in the past as a paddler, inspired Welch LLP to put the boat back in the water as an ode to a great man and dear friend.  With this story in our minds and hearts, Welch’s Team of Steele was born.

Alexei Vidal
Marketing Specialist

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