By SEAN ROWLEY
With cool morning temperatures and a bit of mist rising from the Illinois River, participants in Saturday’s third annual Kiwanis Race for Kids were treated to a beautiful day to paddle for a good cause, and perhaps win a prize.
The Tahlequah Kiwanis Club sponsored the race with the help of Arrowhead Resort. Participants put in at Round Hollow Public Access Area and completed the Race at Arrowhead - a trip of roughly six miles.
This is one of our fundraisers for our organization,” said Steven Wright of the Kiwanis Club of Tahlequah. “We use the funds to help children in the community. Arrowhead resort has been great. They have not charged anything. The let us use all their equipment for free.”
Some racers were veterans of the event.
“I took part in the race last year and it was a lot of fun - I came in second,” said Trent Rose. “It’s a chance to help the kids, have a good time and get some paddling done.”
Other participants were racing in the Kiwanis event for the first time.
“I’ve never entered this race, but Trent told me about it and it sounded like a great time, so here I am,” said Jared Lamb.
Sarah Bond and Cassi Coger arrived just in time to depart with the last heat.
“This is all part of a big day for us,” Bond said. “We ran in the Run Gore 5K this morning. Now we’re floating the river, and later we will be working as staff at the NSU football game.”
Top five canoe teams were Mike Bingham and Tony Cornell, Trae Ratliff and Bucky Davis, Aaron and Nathan Kuntz, Tye and Lance Ward, and Jake Ballew and Wright.
Top six kayakers were Rose, Lynn Carson, Chris Parnell, Jacob Hendricks, Seth Lander and Tom Hooper.
Prizes awarded included an iPad for first places, a laptop computer for second, a 32-inch flat screen TV for third, $100 for fourth, $60 for fifth and a returned entry fee for sixth.
“Everyone who raced received a T-shirt, and this isn’t an easy thing to do,” Wright said. “I raced last year for the first time and I envisioned coasting down the river, but no. You paddle the entire time and can’t stop, not to take a breath or catch your breath. They make the trip down the river in about 45 minutes.”
Funds raised through the event support the activities of the Kiwanis Club.
“Basically, we support programs that support kids,” Wright said.
“We are putting together disaster backpacks for kids, which can be sent to an affected community. They contain supplies especially for children. We are also taking part in the Eliminate Project to provide tetanus injections for infants. Locally, we support our schools.”
Those interested in joining the Tahlequah Kiwanis Club or making a donation can write to Craig Clifford at P.O. Box 1193 Tahlequah, Okla. 74465, or attend its weekly meeting held Wednesdays at noon on the second floor of the NSU University Center.
“People can also talk with any member of Kiwanis,” Wright said. “We have members with just about every business in Tahlequah.”
More information about Kiwanis International is available at www.tahlequahTDP.com/onlineexclusives.