Braving The Neches Wilderness Canoe Race - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Braving The Neches Wilderness Canoe Race

It is considered one of the top three toughest canoe races in the United States and for 17 years, East Texas has been it's home.

In triple digit heat, summer after summer dozens of competitors and adventure seekers paddle 22 miles in the Neches Wilderness Canoe Race.

"This is really canoe and kayak racing right here," said participant Erin Magee.

"It's August, it's 100 degree out here on the river," said Noel Kirkwood. "Tremendous number of trees in and across the river."

"By the time I get through, I'm exhausted," said Gerald Clemmins. 

The race started off as a fundraiser for the Palestine's campus of Trinity Valley.

"We started the first year and everybody kind of laughed at us," said coordinator Ed Furman. "It's been going on now for 17 years. We had 62 boats, that seems to be the average."

"It's tough," said Ken Startz of Victoria. "Tons of obstacles which I'm not really prepared for."

"It's a challenge," said Mary Carter. "By the time you are through you feel like wow, this is exciting. Sometimes you wonder why am I doing this again? I usually takes me six hours or more."

"They fly by," Furman said. "They push everything to the maximum, and they can finish this 22 mile course, in three hours. "

Each year the race raises almost $3,000 for students at the Trinity Valley campus in Palestine.
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