Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT;
updated 12:22 a.m. CDT, Thursday, August 6, 2009
For continuous updates from Missourian reporters about the race as it happens, go to mr340race.wordpress.com
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Lightning and high winds delayed the start of this year’s Missouri River 340 race. Scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, boats didn’t leave the starting point at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan., until 9:30 a.m.
Race co-director Scott Mansker said the race, a 340-mile trek for canoeists and kayakers down the Missouri River to St. Charles, was delayed for the first time in its short four-year history.
However, competitors and their support crews still enjoyed the festivities of the opening day of the race. Music from a live DJ preceded the traditional count down to the race’s start. After a gun shot from a musket fired by men dressed in authentic 1803 clothing, racers got under way.
The men were from the Discovery Expedition organization, which from 2003 to 2006 reenacted the Lewis and Clark expedition across America. Six members of the group entered this year’s MR340.
They are just one of many interesting teams competing in this year’s event.
Wally Werderich and Nick Josefik from Illinois are the Los Humungos Paddelos, who like to dress in fancy masks like luchadores, a flamboyant type of Mexican wrestler.
“We like to go to river races just to lighten the mood,” Werderich said.
Team Coffee Dog from Kansas City has also become well known at the MR340. This year, the two-man team is racing in a canoe home made from recycled materials. After they finish the race, the pair of paddlers plans to ride thrift shop bicycles along the Katy Trail to get back home from St. Charles.
For more on these racers stories, and for continuous updates from Missourian reporters on this year's race as it happens, go to mr340race.wordpress.com.
Dick Brumley, Sid Stoffels, Tom Young, John Meyer, Arlen Beck and Tom Ronk wait for the beginning of the MR340 race from the hull of their Lewis and Clark expedition replica canoe on the Missouri River off of Kew Point in Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday. Theirs is the largest team competing in the race this year.
Spring, Tx. resident and Missouri River 340 veteran Richard Miller soaks up the pre-race atmosphere an hour before the scheduled start at Kaw Point boat landing in Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday. After an hour and a half postponement, the racers set off for St. Charles under overcast, but dry, skies.
Tom Young makes an anxious call in search for a tardy team member as his boat prepares to cast off from the shore at the beginning of the Missouri River 340 race in Kansas City, Kan., Tuesday.
The plastic tiger adorning the bow of Eric Farris' kayak collects raindrops in the hours before the start of the 2009 Missouri River race at the waters edge in Kaw Point Riverbank Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday.
MR 340 race participants get ingenious with the available space on their boats in order to minimize the time they need to spend at the onshore check points. The racers set set off for St. Charles from Kaw Point Riverbank Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday.
"Grumpy Old Men" canoe team members Charlie Stewart and Richard Miller, both of Spring, Texas, test the waters off of Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan., in the hours before the start of the Missouri River 340 race on Tuesday.
Adam Burns, who also goes by the moniker Uncle A Dog, waits for the start of the Missouri River 340 race in the mud at the side of his canoe made from recycled barrels and used floor boards, at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan. on Tuesday.
Missouri River 340 race participants and crew members prepare their vessels for the endurance race alongside the boat launch at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Ks., Tuesday.
MU student Andy Bramman pumps rain water out of his canoe following several hours of thunderstorms on the morning of the MR 340 in Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday.