You know you've got something good when participants leave with a smile on their face. The organizers of the Great Chickasawhay Race can put a check in that box after the second running of their event this Saturday.
You know the saying, "Money Talks, and...", --- well, Race Director Drew Walker made sure that his event had plenty to say, as overall winners in male AND female categories took home an extra $1000 as well as a bevy of excellent prizes. Even the Mayor of the town was on hand.
Racers start in Mississippi, from there they traverse 21.5 miles with the gentle current of the Chickasawhay River, finishing in Waynesboro, MS.
Water levels ran low this year, making it even more important to pay close attention to line choice as paddlers would have to keep a steady read on the river at all times, or face the potential for debilitating boat damage.
In spite of these low water levels and otherwise seeming out of element, the surfski continues to be the craft of choice for the leaders in these river races.
Here is the race recap from female overall winner Kata Dismukes:
The race started about a quarter of a mile from the drop in. According to the locals, the water level was lower than last year. The level ranged from being stuck on sandbars to 2-feet-deep. About half of the race was in very shallow water---about 6 inches. A few areas had rapids. The river ran about a two miles per hour current, which doesn't feel like much when you are in 6" of water and your boat feels like it has a parachute tied to the back. There were a lot of biting yellow flies. We were warned about them prior to the race. The scenery was beautiful and made us forget about the flies.
It was 5 of us up front: Richard Carter, Jeb Berry, Shane Kleynhans and another paddler. I didn't get his name. About six miles in, Richard, Jeb, Shane, and the other guy pulled away. It took me five additional miles of pushing hard to catch back up. Richard, Jeb and Shane stayed up front. There was an aid station at the halfway point. Locals were on the river at different points. Most of the access point to the rivers were on private property. The locals were insanely friendly down there. The local mayor was on hand giving out the awards.
Kudos to Drew Walker and all who made this event a great success. Future editions of the Chickasawhay Race are sure to be bright.
Race Website: http://www.chickasawhayfriends.org/
Photo Credits: Laurie Kleynhans and Ralph Dismukes