Rotary River Run Regatta organizer Hank DeMeulder inspects the Cooper’s Foods barrel on Saturday during the weigh-in at C.E. Barry School.

Cooper’s Foods wins Rotary barrel race

Barrel crossed the finish line in less than 3.5 hours

Despite unusually high water levels, the 2012 Rotary River Run Regatta did not break any records on Sunday.

The turbulent and log-filled river appeared to intimidate several of the barrels immediately after being launched at Hell’s Gate.

They huddled in the relative safety of back currents around the fish ladders, waiting for the rapids to calm down a bit before making their move.

Several brave bobbers did charge out into the foaming water, making their way downstream to what looked like a quick race to the finish line in Yale.

However, Lady Franklin Rock held back many competitors in the early afternoon. Finally at 3:30 p.m., the Cooper’s Foods barrel, sporting a Campbell’s Soup look alike paint job, pulled free and made the dash to the finish line, completing the race in just under 3.5 hours.

The rest of the pack seemed destined to remain stuck behind the rock all night, but the Hope Towing barrel came to the rescue, pulling out the Hope Drive-In barrel along with it. Hope Towing crossed the finish line in 5:54:05, followed by Hope Drive-in at 5:54:10. This ended up being one of the closest races for second and third place in race history.

In addition to taking the 2012 Rotary River Run Regatta title of fastest barrel, the Cooper’s Foods entry was also a crowd favorite, winning Most likely to Succeed and tying for first place with Joe’s Restaurant for Best Decorated barrel.

MNP’s “Beancounter” won the Least Likely To Succeed category, while the Boston Bar Kal Tire “Mr. Grumpy” barrel was awarded the coveted Crowd Pleaser prize.

There were 34 sponsored barrels participating in this year’s race.

All proceeds from the event will go towards Hope Rotary Club projects.