SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – With legs buckling and sweat dripping, Nick Reilly grabs another 110-pound, cement-weighted lobster trap and begins to jog.
From the sidelines his little girls cheer, “I believe in you! You can do this! Use your muscles!”
And use his muscles he did, going on to win the $1,000 cash top prize at the Journal Pioneer Lobster Trap Stacking competition Thursday, on opening day of this year’s Summerside Lobster Carnival.
“I don’t know how to explain how I feel. Oh, my legs,” said the out-of-breath Howard’s Cove fisherman, sitting on the nearby bleachers with his family after the event.
Reilly was one of 13 participants in the competition.
“I’d never been to the carnival before. And after learning about the (trap stacking) competition, I thought I’d give it a shot. I didn’t think I would win after watching the other contestants.”
Reilly was the final competitor, finishing with a time of 2:34:59.
“I’d for sure compete again.”
The contest was open to all professional lobster fishermen in Prince Edward Island.
Noah Manning of Fortune Harbour was the first participant to haul the 15 traps 30 feet across the hot asphalt parking lot at the fairgrounds on a sunny summer evening outside Credit Union Place.
Once the participants were finished moving and stacking the traps, a panel of three judges –fellow lobster fishermen, would base the scores on overall time and neatness of the stack.
Manning set the mark with an opening run of 2:45:84. His time held until near the end of the event.
“I thought it was a neat competition,” explained Manning. “And then when I heard that cash was up for grabs, I knew I was going to enter.”
Manning’s father, Layton Manning, also tried his hand at moving the traps.
“I entered because Stephen MacPhee [a fellow contestant] entered. I’m about seven years older than him. I’m 50 years old. I didn’t know if I would finish it,” explained the elder Manning.
Noah added, “It was definitely fun to watch my dad compete.”
Noah claimed the third prize of $200, while French River fisherman Calvin McRae claimed second prize of $300 with a time of 2:35:97.
With a large crowd on hand, the event was deemed a success and exciting with less than two seconds separating first and second place.
“It was a great event,” said Journal Pioneer managing editor Brad Works, who was on hand to present the prizes on behalf of the newspaper. “I don’t think most people realize just how tough fishing is, and while this competition is not like being on the boat, each of these competitors just moved 1,650 pounds 30 feet across a parking lot in less than five minutes. The top three did it in less than three minutes. It was fantastic to watch.”
Lobster Trap Stacking rankings:
1: Nick Reilly: 2:34:59
2: Calvin McRae: 2:35:97
3: Noah Manning: 2:45:84
4: James McGeoghegan: 2:59:59
5: Russell Purdy: 3.10.25
6: Scott Brown: 3:15:90
7: Stephen MacPhee: 3:24:35
8: Ryley Doyle: 3:33:46
9: James Brander: 3:43:25
10: Layton Manning: 3:45:56
11: Jesse Knox: 3:49:03
12: Nick Kelly: 4:05:84
13: Cory Caissie: 4:10:97