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Paddle Through to Victory: the 33rd Annual New River Canoe Race is Being Held in Jefferson on Saturday, June 7

Courtesy of Friends of High Country State Parks

By Travis Miller

June 3, 2014. Since its inception in 1981, the New River Canoe Race has become a popular event. This year’s Canoe Race will be held on June 7, beginning at 9 a.m. at Zaloo’s Canoes in Jefferson.

Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. for registration. Registration for the race will cost $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for a family float that holds up to five people. Registration for additional races will cost $5.

All registrants will be entered for a chance to win door prizes, which include gift certificates, locally made art and crafts and free stays at a bed and breakfast. Free t-shirts will also be given to the first 200 registrants.

Participants must race in a kayak or canoe. They may bring their own or rent from Zaloo’s Canoes at a discount.

The race will begin at Zaloo’s Canoes and end at New River State Park, Wagoner Access. Boats will enter the water from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. However, boats carrying racers under the age of 16 must enter before 1 p.m.

“This is a family friendly event that has a place for people that are experts but also has a place for children and families that don’t consider themselves experts,” said Nancy Wells Shannon, race co-chair.

“It’s a very safe stretch and a lot of fun. Kids aren’t sitting in front of screens; they’re outdoors, paddling on the beautiful river.”

The average race time for new paddlers is 60 minutes with more experienced paddlers able to complete the course in around 45 minutes.

Various competition divisions are available to enter, including “novice,” “expert,” “championship” and “special” for those with disabilities. There will also be separate divisions for recreational, racing and sea kayaks.

An award ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. to announce winners, give out trophies and award door prizes and raffle prizes. Participants will be considered disqualified if they aren’t present by the commencement of the award ceremony.

Raffle tickets will be available at both Zaloo’s Canoes and New River state park. Prizes include:

  • A kayak from Footsloggers of Boone
  • A women’s Kelty daypack stuffed with goodies from Mountain Outfitters of West Jefferson
  • Original work of art by Andrew Atkin of Tilted Moon Fine Arts Studio
  • A 2’x2’ aluminum barn quilt square custom designed by “The Quilt Square Girls” of Ashe County

To pass time until the award ceremony, New River State Park will host many other activities during the event.

Picnic space will be available and The Vitality Food Truck will be present, offering vegetarian fare and smoothies. Representatives from Earth Fare will also be present, offering free snacks, water and sunscreen.

There will be chair massages for weary paddlers and the park is providing tubes to those who want to play in the water.

Furthermore, Redleg Husky, an Americana and Folk band from Boone will be playing at the park from 12 to 3 p.m.

Nancy Wells Shannon and other coordinators of the event would like to express their appreciation for Zaloo’s Canoes and their unending commitment to the event for more than three decades.

For more information, visit the New River Canoe Race Facebook page or call Nancy Wells Shannon at 336-877-5550.