BATH -- On February 22, 2004, the Maine Elks Association held its annual State Ritual Competition at the Bath Elks Lodge #934. Competing were four teams from Lodges across the State of Maine, including; Augusta, Sanford, Houlton, and Bath. The winner of the contest will represent the State of Maine at the upcoming national championships in July.
For the fourth year in a row, the Sanford Elks Lodge #1470 captured the State Championship by successfully defending their title. Their performance was nearly flawless, as the team achieved a total score of 97.5301 (out of a perfect 100). Finishing in second place was the team from the Augusta Elks Lodge #964, who, for the first time in over 10 years, surprised everyone by defeating the remaining two teams with a score of 94.4022. The Bath Elks Lodge #934 finished third, and finishing fourth was the team from the Houlton Elks Lodge #835.
Several individual awards were also presented. The "All-State" Officers are: Exalted Ruler-Tom Spellman (Sanford), Leading Knight-Sharon Pray (Sanford), Loyal Knight-Sylvie Gosselin (Sanford), Lecturing Knight-Betty Smith (Bath), Esquire-James Bledsoe (Houlton), Chaplain-Scott Shaffer (Houlton), Inner Guard-John Levesque (Augusta), Candidate-Roger Normandeau (Sanford), and Coach-Frank Ricker (Sanford).
The annual ritual competition involves seven officers and one candidate from each Lodge, performing the Elks initiatory ritual. The contestants are judged on their word accuracy, pronunciation, movements, appearance, and impressiveness. The purpose of these contests is to promote excellence in the performance of this ritual.
Over the next few months, the Sanford team, under the direction of coach Frank Ricker, will be preparing for the New England and New York Regional Competition (Area I) to be held in Augusta, on June 27, 2004. This contest will be used as a final preparation for the national competition, which is scheduled to be held at the Elks Grand Lodge Convention, on July 4-8, 2004, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.