6th annual Kayaking for Kids planned for Saturday

·3 min read

Aug. 4—WHITLEY COUNTY — The 6th annual Kayaking for Kids event gets underway this Saturday.

The popular race is organized by Whitley County Fiscal Court and Whitley County Tourism to benefit youth programs (such as Upward basketball scholarships) and family resource centers for the community's elementary schools.

Not only is the event for a good cause but it highlights the one of the county's greatest assets in the Cumberland River.

Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. developed the event six years ago with his staff — working to increase access points along the water. Judge White participates himself in the race, in a jon boat as opposed to a kayak.

"It's generally navigable by novice kayakers," the judge said of the river. "There are a few shoals that are a little bit challenging with a boat but we've never had anybody have any trouble."

Both White and County Project Director Amber Owens noted that Woodbine Fire and Rescue would be stationed about midway through the course for safety purposes.

"We're glad that we've got them out there looking out for everybody," Judge White said.

This year, organizers have changed the course route — doubling its length to five miles in the process. Racers will put in at the Whitley County Fairgrounds where the Clear Fork flows into the Cumberland River and hit the finish line at the Croley Bend Boat Ramp.

"Everybody wanted a longer race so we thought we'd just do it," Owens said, adding that the racers will travel under both town bridges.

"That will take us all through Williamsburg on the river," Judge White said, "so it should be an adventure."

Spectators can take in the action either along access points or in town. Judge White noted that G & E Drive In is opening at 10 a.m. for brunch so that patrons can sit out on the deck and watch the racers come through the city.

Owens estimated 100-150 participants for this year's race.

"It seems like we're going to have a good turnout this year; we've broken our fundraising goal so it's going very well," Judge White added.

This year's Kayaking for Kids gets underway 10 a.m. Saturday from the Whitley County Fairgrounds rain or shine.

"The river levels are actually pretty good for a race right now," Owens said. "We've done it when the river was higher, and we've done it when the river was low...We try to just go ahead and push through. Rain won't really stop us; they're going to be on the water so they'll be wet anyway."

Owens explained that those who want to participate but don't have a kayak can rent from Sheltowee Trace Outfitters but they need to be at Croley Bend at 8 a.m. Vehicles need to be parked at the finish line, so those with their own kayaks should drop them off at the fairgrounds first. Shuttles from Williamsburg School will be provided to transport participants to the the starting line.

After the race, a barbecue lunch will be provided for participants.

Race-day registration is $30. To learn more, call the Whitley County Fiscal Court at 549-6000 or visit their Facebook page.