The 33rd Annual New River Canoe Race will be held Saturday, June 7, on the banks of the New River in Jefferson.
This Ashe County tradition is now sponsored by Friends of High Country State Parks, and it promises to be the same “family friendly” race with a few added features.
The cost to enter remains $10 for the first race, and those planning to race more than once can enter again for a $5 registration fee.
The first 200 registrants will also receive a t-shirt with their registration as well as an opportunity to enter for a door prize.
The race begins with registration at Zaloos Canoes in Jefferson and gates open 8:30 a.m. Start times will be any time between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (1 p.m. for any boats with children).
There is no shotgun start. Paddlers will end the course at New River State Park, Wagnor Access, with an awards ceremony planned at the park for 3 p.m.
Make time for a variety of activities that will be available at New River State Park. Pack a lunch or find a selection of vegetarian fare from the “Vitality” food truck and stop by the Earth Fare Boone table for some free snacks and water.
There is a picnic area available where you can enjoy your food and listen to the band Redleg Husky play from noon to 3 p.m. Chair massage will be another low cost option available on site for weary paddlers, along with a free opportunity to “play” in the water on tubes provided by New River State Park.
For those who need solitude while waiting for race results, here are miles of pristine hiking trails throughout the park. An average time for new paddlers is 60 minutes, but many returning contestants with more advanced skills have completed the race in less than 45 minutes.
Categories for competition include Novice, Expert and Championship with a “Special” category for one person canoes or those with a disability. This year the kayak categories have expanded to separate recreational kayaks from racing or sea kayaks.
On race day, Zaloos Canoes offers a discount for boats rented on site by race participants as well as free shuttles. Raffle tickets will be available on site both at Zaloos and New River State Park for the following: a kayak from Footsloggers in Boone; aWomen’s Kelty Daypack stuffed with goodies from Mountain Outfitters, West Jefferson; an Original work of art by Andrew Atkin, Tilted Moon Fine Arts Studio; and a 2’x2’ aluminum barn quilt square custom designed by “The Quilt Square Girls,” Ashe County.
Drawing for the raffle will be at the end of the awards ceremony. Updated information available on Facebook: New River Canoe Race Sponsored by Friends of High Country State Parks, or call race co-chair Nancy Wells Shannon 336-877-5550.