MILLEDGEVILLE — The Kiwanis Club of Milledgeville is hosting its first River Rat Race at the Oconee River Greenway, Saturday Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check in time starts at 8:30 a.m. and goes through 10 a.m.
"This is our first time doing a community event like this and we hope it's only the beginning of future river rat races," said Joe Mangum, president of the Kiwanis Club. Mangum on behalf of the Kiwanis Club, urges the community to grab their canoe, kayak or raft, and race or float 4.5 miles from the Oconee River Greenway to the Central State Hospital Landing.
"We're hoping to promote more use of this section of the river," said Mangum. "It's a really good area and a great place to see wildlife here in Baldwin County."
Sponsors for the River Rat Race include Altamaha Riverkeeper, Georgia Wilderness Society and Oconee Outfitters.
Registration fees vary, depending on your choice of river activity. The fee includes return shuttle for boats, floats and boaters, as well as a T-shirt and a grilled lunch.
"Since there's not enough room for parking at the Greenway, there will be a designated parking section for boaters on Greene Street. There will be a shuttle that will take boaters and their equipment to and from the Greenway," said Mangum.
To float, there is a registration fee of $20 per person. You must provide your own float or raft, and a prize will be given for the best decorated floating vessel.
If floating isn't for you and you're in the mood for a fun yet challenging race, the River Rat Race has many you can choose from.
"We have five different races. Three races are for downstream traveling. Two of the races are for veteran boaters who have the strength to race downstream then turn around and come back against the current," said Mangum.
There is a $25 registration fee per person for the races. You must provide your own boat and rentals will be available from Oconee Outfitters. The five races include a solo canoe downstream, a solo kayak downstream, a tandem canoe downstream, a solo kayak downstream then back to the Greenway landing, and a tandem canoe downstream and back. The winning boat in each category will receive a cash prize or gift certificate of at least $50.
The Kiwanis Club will also have a rubber duck raffle. If you pay an extra $5 during registration, you'll be entered into the rubber duck race. Rubber ducks will be dumped into the river to float to the old bridge pilings at the Greenway landing.
"The first duck across the finish line will make one lucky person $1,000 richer," he said.
According to Mangum, this event is a good way to experience the river, especially if you've never done so before.
"If you have ever thought about using the river but have been a bit apprehensive about traveling along it by yourself, this event is a great opportunity to give you the experience of enjoying the river and sharing that experience with others," he said.
To register for the River Rat Race, visit www.kiwanisclubofmilledgevillega.org, or stop by Oconee Outfitters on 133 East Hancock Street.
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