Canoe race paddles in on Saturday

8 years ago

MERRILL, Maine — The fifth annual Merrill Millstream Park canoe race is on track for Saturday, May 7, 2016. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and launching of kayaks at 10 a.m., at one-minute intervals.

Organizers are optimistic that 2016 will be a great year, with rain expected race week, and warm weather expected on race day

This year’s race has a couple exciting additions carried from last year. There will be a kayak raffle, tickets being sold only on race day, and the drawing at the end of the race. Paddlers must be present to win.

“People will probably never have a better chance to win a kayak in a raffle drawing then on that day,” said Ken Bustard, race coordinator. “There will also be many smaller prizes, that everyone racing, or just joining in as spectators and buying a meal, getting a free ticket for. These consist of hats, camp supplies and fishing gear.”

There will also be a $100 bill to the fastest overall racing team or individual in the “Weekend Warrior” category, regardless of class, or type of craft. One of the coveted miniature canoe paddles will be awarded for first place in each class. Ribbons for second and third places will be given.

“We will have as many classes as necessary, depending on the level of participation,” Bustard said. “There must, however, be at least two competitors in a class to compete for a prize. The exception being the $100 bill for fastest overall team.”

Racers will once again be divided into two categories — professional and weekend warrior. Generally, this race attracts a lot of local racers who do not enter a lot of races throughout the spring. However, we want to encourage everyone to join us and know their presence is greatly welcomed.

The admission fee is $10 per paddler. This comes with a chance to win the first place prize, a free meal ticket for after the race, and a free raffle ticket for the grand drawing of a kayak. Tickets will also be sold for 1 for $1, 6 for $5, 15 for $10 or 30 for $20.

“Everyone is encouraged to come watch the launching, and even encourage the racers at several viewing spots along the route, until the final take out at the infamous ‘red bridge’ in Oakfield,” Bustard said. “Food is modestly priced at $5 per plate (italian sausage, hot dogs and beans. There will be plenty of free coffee and hot chocolate will be on hand as well.”

For more information, contact Bustard at