For Immediate Release
Tifton, Georgia, May 1, 2019 — “This was the first year a canoe finished first to win the $100 cash prize,” said Bret Wagenhorst, main organizer of the BIG Little River Paddle Race, last Saturday, April 27, at Reed Bingham State Park. “It was a two-person canoe of gentlemen from Gray, GA: Wayne Hale and Terry Donahue.”
Tandem male canoe, green (BW)
Photo: Bret Wagenhorst, of Wayne Hale and Terry Donahue winning the BIG Little River Paddle Race. They won in the male tandem canoe category last year, and they won overall this year.
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Thanks to the paddle race sponsors, Dr. Bret Wagenhorst, Georgia Beer Company, and Cook Medical Center.”
Dr. Wagenhorst added, “Thanks to all the paddlers from across Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, as far away as Mexico, who came out on a glorious south GA spring day to help raise money for the WWALS Watershed Coalition and the Friends of Reed Bingham State Park group by paddling a scenic and winding stretch of the Little River. Lots of fun in the sun for friends and families.”
First woman across the finish in a solo kayak was Nikki York, of Adel, GA.
Possibly related, first man across the finish in a solo kayak was Jay York, also of Adel, GA.
Each winner got a BLRPR hat designed by Dr. Wagenhorst, as did volunteers who helped with the race.
Other winners included:
- First female tandem kayak: Megan Robinson & Lily Robinson, of Tifton, GA.
- First male tandem kayak: Russell McBride & Steve Patelski, of Quitman, GA, and Valdosta, GA.
- First mixed kayak: Paul Horst & Victoria Horst, of Tifton, GA. They also won last year.
- First male canoe: Paul Tolar, of Moultrie, GA.
- First female tandem canoe: Vicki Stanavich & Ellyn Largen, of Melbourne, FL and O’Brien, FL.
- First mixed canoe: Ray Cummings & Jennifer Hunter, of Fort Valley, GA.
- Oldest male: Terry Donahue, of Gray, GA. He was also the oldest last year, and this year his canoe won the race overall.
- Oldest female: Kathy Bush, of Tallahassee, FL.
- Youngest: JRee Bush, of Lake Park, GA.
- Farthest: Rene Antonio Olguin-Vargas, of Ixmiquilpan, Mexico.
- Fastest Flotsam: Dan Phillips, of Hahira, GA, who was acting as sweep to make sure everyone got to the finish. Last year he came in second overall.
Pictures of all of fifty-five paddlers in forty-six canoes and kayaks are on the WWALS website. We will follow up with some statistics. And we will post movies from the event on YouTube.
If you missed this year’s event, keep in mind that the event takes place the last Saturday in April every year. So that’s Saturday, April 25, 2020, for the eighth annual BIG Little River Paddle Race. See you there!
The BIG Little River Paddle Race is a fundraiser for the nonprofits WWALS and FORB.
Friends of Reed Bingham State Park (FORB) is the official nonprofit support organization for Reed Bingham State Park, a park known for its innovative programs and as a leader in resource management, particularly with rare and endangered plants and animals such as gopher tortoises, bald eagles, indigo snakes, and other native species. We are a chapter of Friends of Georgia State Parks. Join us as we work to provide a wonderful place for individuals and families to enjoy the natural beauty of South Georgia.
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Founded in June 2012, WWALS has board members from multiple counties in south Georgia and north Florida, and members from all over the Suwannee River Basin and from farther away. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the Member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.
Join us for a paddle this Saturday, May 4, on the Suwannee River, east of Jasper, FL.
Like every full moon, on May 18, you can join us at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA, to paddle out to see the sun set and the full moon rise.
For a full week on our fabulous blackwater rivers, in June join Paddle Georgia, from Troupville Boat Ramp just west of Valdosta, GA, to Mayo, FL on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers.
Contact: Bret Wagenhorst, 229-392-5513
John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper®
WWALS Watershed Coalition
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!