Multiple-time champions win crown at King and Queen Trapper

The organizers and competitors in the King and Queen Trapper, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, pose for a photo at the Prince Albert Exhibition Grounds. -- Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

This year’s Prince Albert Winter Festival King and Queen Trapper had 10 participants from across the province showcasing their traditional survival skills.

The competition, separated into men’s and women’s categories, consisting of events such as snowshoe racing, log tossing, axe throwing, sled pulling and water boiling.

The competition took place on Saturday and Sunday outside of the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. There were six male competitors and four female competitors.

The King and Queen Trapper were each multiple time winners with Queen Trapper Clarissa Burns and King Trapper Richard Charles of Stanley Mission taking the titles.

Burns is proud to still be able to compete at such a high level after competing for decades.

“I’m very honoured and proud that I’m still able to move and run and carry,” she said. “I’m happy, I’m very honoured and blessed that I’m able to still (compete).”

Burns started competing in Queen Trapper competitions when she was 13 years old. She’s 40 now, and still enjoys it. She has competed in every Queen Trapper since it was created and won every one.

Charles has been competing in Prince Albert for over 20 years and successfully defended his crown from 2023.

“It feels so good,” he said. “The reason I keep coming here is my competitors. They’re my brothers. We go all over and those are the guys to beat all the time. It was pretty good. I was surprised by our rookie this year.”

This year there was a rookie entry in both categories: Gabrielle Irmine who entered for the first time along with her husband Edmund Ermine.

“It was pretty good. I was surprised by our rookie this year,” Burns said.

Burns, who is from Prince Albert, ranks the Winter Festival competition just behind the prestigious The Pas Trapper Festival and the La Ronge Winter Festival.

Charles ranks Prince Albert high because of the level of competition.

“This is probably one of the best places to come compete because this is where the top guys come,” he said. “If you guys want to beat the best, that’s what you have got to do here.”

Charles said the competition in Prince Albert is always fierce and comes down to the last event.

A competitor tries to get his fire going for the Water Boil, which was the final event in the King and Queen Trapper which took place on Saturday and Sunday at the Prince Albert Exhibition Grounds. — Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

Charles has won the event six times including in 2023. The year before, he came in second.

“It came down to the last event, so I almost won again, but it is what it is,” he said. “The best, that’s what you have got to do here.”

In each event, the participants who place first to fifth get a certain number of points. The one with the most points at the ends wins the king or queen trapper title.

Burns would like to see the youth be more involved in the Festival to keep the Trapper event going for many years.

“I am very happy to see that there’s a youth category this year which is brand new and I think we need to see more of that and just to promote it, advertise a lot more,” she said. “There’s many people that don’t hear of it until the day of or when it’s happening, and it’s kind of too late. I just encourage more youth to get involved.”

Charles thanked the organizers for putting on an excellent show.

“I would like to thank PA for putting a good show, and the crew and sponsors you guys did an awesome job,” he said. “Thank you and if it wasn’t for you guys nobody will come here.”

In the King Trapper, Charles was first with 61 points, Norman McKenzie was second with 51 points, Gerald McKenzie was third with 42 points, Clinton Merasty and Cody Souter tied for fourth with 36 points and Edmund Ermine was sixth with five points.

In the Queen Trapper Burns was first with 60 points, Gabrielle Ermine was second with 51 points, Flora Whitecap was third with 48 points and Cherilyne Stevenson was fourth with 23 points.