POINT PLEASANT — Kayakers of all ages and skill levels have a shot at awards and helping a good cause this Saturday during the inaugural Paddle Battle.
Organized by the Mason County 4-H Leaders Association, this new event open to everyone will be held on the lake at Krodel Park. All proceeds will go towards the completion of the 4-H dining hall at the camp in Southside.
Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and races begin at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is $15 per person, $10 per person for groups of four. On the day of the event, registration is $20 per person, $15 per person for groups of four. Registration forms are available at the WVU Extension Office on Viand Street and pre-registration ends Friday.
“This is the first time we’ve done this…we really wanted to have an activity that involved the entire community,” Lorrie Wright, extension educator said. “I know it’s a growing sport in Mason County and there’s a lot of interest in it.”
Wright stressed the races aren’t just for 4-H members, but those throughout the area who like to kayak.
Racing divisions are: Junior – ages 11-16. Young adults – ages 17-25. Adult – ages 26-49. Classic – age 50 and up. There will even be an open division for those who paddle board. Rowers must provide their own kayaks. Rowers are permitted to loan their kayaks to those without them who would like to participate.
The races will include winners in their division facing off for the title of Grand Kayaker. ICL-IP America of Gallipolis Ferry sponsored the medals and trophies. There will also be cash awards.
Wright said the leaders association felt Krodel Park was the right place to host the races, with an area which can be easily monitored by safety personnel – the Point Pleasant Fire Department will be on hand. Compared to the rivers, the lake is free of debris and no large motorized boats traffic causing waves. The City of Point Pleasant approved the use of the park for the event a few months ago.
The 4-H dinning hall, though under roof, still requires some major work (and money), including installation of the furnace, the insulation, work on the walls and ceilings and furnishing a complete, commercial kitchen. In all, Wright said a rough estimate to finish the project was somewhere around $45,000.
In addition, the event will host the WVU Rowing Team which will be on hand for tips and support for kayakers, though they will not have their rowing equipment.
Wright said this first year for the event will be a learning experience to “test the waters” so to speak and see if enough interest is generated to return next year.
Concessions will also be available at the event.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.