BIG Little Paddle Race is back at Reed Bingham

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The BIG Little Paddle Race is back after two years with a dozen categories to be won, a kayak draw and a lunch will be offered.

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After the pandemic and the bad weather of the previous two years, the BIG Little Paddle Race is back this year.

2019 First Women’s Tandem Kayak winners: Megan Robinson and Lily Robinson, of Tifton, GA.
Photo by Bret Wagenhorst

You could win in one of dozens of categories, or up to $300 if you beat the previous record time. But you don’t have to race: it’s still a nice spring paddle! On Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Reed Bingham State Park between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia, it’s the ninth annual BIG Little River Paddle Race. There will be lunch and a kayak draw. You can just paddle along this scenic three-mile stretch of tea-colored river on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail among cypresses, turtles, birds and yes, alligators. (Don’t pet the alligators and they probably won’t bother you.) This race also has fierce competitors, with a former winner finishing in just over half an hour.

“After having to cancel the event last year due to extreme weather conditions, we are hoping for sunnier skies this year. It’s a great opportunity to learn the joys of paddling canoes and kayaks, seeing the natural beauty of our area’s blackwater rivers and having fun while exercising outdoors with family and friends,” event organizer Bret Wagenhorst, of Tifton, GA, and member of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) Board of Directors.

WWALS President Trudy Cole said, “BLRPR is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and paddle a pristine section of the Little River, while supporting a great organization.

WWALS board members and volunteers with BLRPR hats.
Photo by John S. Quarterman

There are several categories in which you could win, fastest paddler, one and two person canoe (male and female), solo or tandem kayak (male and female), youngest paddler, fastest paddler old, the furthest and slowest paddler. paddler.

Wagenhorst added, “In 2019, the first woman to cross the finish line in a solo kayak was Nikki York, of Adel, GA. And for the first time, a canoe finished first to win the $100 cash prize. It was a two person canoe from the gentlemen of Gray, GA: Wayne Hale and Terry Donahue.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Terry Donahue was also the oldest winner, and the youngest was JRee Bush, at the minimum age of 12. Last race in 2019 we had 55 paddlers (57% women) in 46 canoes. and kayaks, from Georgia, Florida and Mexico.

The BIG Little River Paddle Race 2019 prizes awarded to participants.
Photo by John S. Quarterman

No one beat the winning time from the previous year, so this year if anyone does, they will receive an additional $200 prize. The winners of the other categories each receive a special gift. .

Registration is $30, ONLY available online at wwals.net until Thursday, April 28 at midnight. See http://wwals.net/pictures/2022-04-30–blrpr/

The race will start at Red Roberts Landing on Rountree Bridge Road off I-75 Exit 41 (Sparks). You can rent boats at Reed Bingham State Park (reservations must be arranged in advance when you purchase your BLRPR ticket), and there is a park entry fee of $5.00 per vehicle. The race ends at the Colquitt County boat launch on the west side of the lake. Participants must arrange their own shuttle back to the start (or paddle back up after the race). Distance and masks may be required at the start and end, depending on Covid levels and park policies at the time of the event, and life jackets are required on the water. Event may be delayed or canceled for unsafe conditions.

It may take everyone two hours to paddle to the boat launch at Reed Bingham State Park (west), after which we will have lunch, followed by the prize giving. There’s a $100 cash prize and a trophy for first place, plus an additional $200 if you beat the record time, and prizes for all other winners. Plus, you can get stickers, buttons and photos taken by Gretchen Quarterman on many of our rivers, lakes and wetlands in the 10,000 square mile Suwannee River Basin.

BLRPR is a fundraiser for WWALS.

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity. WWALS advocates for the conservation and management of surface water and groundwater in the Suwannee River basin and estuary in southern Georgia and northern Florida, including the watersheds of Withlacoochee, Willacoochee , Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe and Suwannee River through education, outreach, environmental monitoring and civic activities. Founded in June 2012, WWALS has board members from several counties in southern Georgia and northern Florida, as well as members from throughout the Suwannee River Basin and beyond. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and project of WWALS as a member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin, including the Little River.

For more WWALS outings and events as they are released, check out the WWALS outings and events webpage. WWALS members also receive an upcoming listing in the Tannin Times newsletter.

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