BY JOHN LUND
Wyoming County Press Examiner
The Endless Mountains Downriver Canoe/Kayak race will celebrate its 50 year on Saturday, July 20. The event is sponsored by the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Club and Endless Mountain Outfitters.
The race is a 12-mile competition beginning in Mehoopany at noon and ending in Tunkhannock.
It is one of oldest marathon canoe/kayak races in the Northeastern United States.
There are four divisions for both kayaks and canoes that participants may choose to enter: Recreation, Competition, Recreation Kayak and Competition Kayak.
Barb Hughes, secretary for the Kiwanis Club of Tunkhannock and member since 2004, will be doing the timing for the race and is familiar with what it’s like to be a competitor.
“This year I did seven miles and would eventually like to try the whole thing,” Hughes said. “It’s a great experience.”
Recreation classes are designed for local boaters who are not racers, while the competition classes are for those who enjoy racing and competition and usually enter in several races a year.
David Buck, owner of Endless Mountain Outfitters and one of the race coordinators, is hopeful for a good turnout and favorable racing conditions.
“The river is at a steady decline at the moment, and is currently at a great level for paddling,” Buck said.
Awards will be given out at the end of each race. Boats for the race can be rented by contacting Endless Mountain Outfitters.
The downriver race will also be held in conjunction with the Ninth Annual Day at River at Riverside Park.
Included in the day’s festivities are live music provided by Sadie Green Sales Jugband, Coal Town Rounders and the Goerge Wesley band, environmental activities for children and adults, a nature walk, a river float, food and more. The live music begins at 3 p.m.
Buck has also helped to coordinate a recreational kayak/canoe trip on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River that will accompany the downriver race.
Participants in the recreational trip will meet at Riverside Park at 9:30 a.m. and will shuttle upriver to Dandy Market in Mehoopany before paddling back to Riverside Park.
Racers, however, should go directly to Mehoopany for the noon launch, and be there a couple of hours ahead of time for registration.
A lunch stop for those on the recreational trip will be made at the Howland Preserve and the racers should reach the paddlers near the Vosburg Neck, providing those on the recreational trip with a front-row seat to watch the race.
“The Howland Preserve is a beautiful spot for anyone to watch the race go by,” Buck said, “but the best places are usually at the start and finish line.”
Participants of both events are encouraged to dress accordingly and have plenty of drinking water to remain hydrated.
The entry fee is $15 per pre-registered participant or $20 per participant on the day of the race. Entries will be accepted on the day of the race beginning at 10 a.m.
Registration is by mail to the Kiwanis Club of Tunkhannock, P.O. Box 419, Tunkhannock, PA 18657, and can be found online at www.emo444.com.
Official entry forms can also be found at many area stores or businesses, or by contacting race sponsors.