A Hopping Good Time in Woods Harbour

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BY CARLA ALLEN The Coast Guard NovaNewsNow.com Woods Harbour folk appreciate the talents of speedy frogs. Once a year they hold a contest to determine the fastest. First place is so important to some they’ll hop in the car and drive close to an hour away to hunt down potential prizewinners.

Out of respect for the traditional winners of this annual frog-hopping race, I won’t divulge the location of the secret lake (in another county I might add) that’s home to promising pollywogs.

The atmosphere was jovial as adults and kids lined up to register 58 web-footed entries for the event, which was part of the Woods Harbour Day activities the weekend of June 8 – 10.

There were a few squeals from younger children as they tried to corral frogs who made a slippery bid to escape, and the hum of conversation as residents compared sizes.

At 2:30 p.m. the first heat began. Competitors waited eagerly at the end of the high-sided frog racetrack, their frogs peeking through clenched fingers. There were so many people pushing to get close to the action, it was nearly impossible to hold my camera steady enough for a picture.

I had hoped for a National-Geographic-type-shot, of a giant frog leaping at the camera, lips clenched firmly shut, eyes bulging with concentration, legs splayed wide with effort. Instead…. it looks like I’m going to end up with blurry images of frogs sitting confusedly in narrow plywood alleys.

Contestants bang repeatedly on the boards encouraging their frogs to move towards the finish line a mere six-feet-odd away. Some just sit there; others turn and leap back to the start. But others by golly - others put heart into their hops and bound determinedly to the end to what they perceive to be freedom, only to be snatched up by the line-watcher and returned to their captors.

The Dixon family reigned supreme at the end of it all. Five cousins go up against each other in the final heat. Young Nick Dixon takes home gold. “We don’t practice or anything,” says a relative. We bring them home and hold them in a lobster cage in the pond for a few days and when we let them out, they’re ready to hop."

Geographic location: Woods Harbour

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