Paddlers complete first day of Missouri River race

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 10:03 p.m. CDT; updated 6:07 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Ryan Von Bevern, 27, left, of Kansas City, Kan., and his rowing companion, Scott Bird, 23, of Roeland Park, Kan., carry their canoe Tuesday down to the Missouri River to begin the Missouri River 340 race. Von Bevern said that he and Bird have been practicing rowing up the river and working out to ready their bodies for the race. "They say it is a killer on your back and shoulders, so I have been working on those," Von Bevern said.

The Missouri River 340, a race for canoes and kayaks spanning 340 miles of the Missouri River, got off to a successful start Tuesday morning, though there were a handful of mishaps.

According to race director Scott Mansker, four boats capsized at the start of the race, the most to swamp of any race, which has been held annually since 2006. Tuesday, all the racers righted themselves and continued the race.

A little later, paddler Brad Pennington of Texas withdrew from the competition at the first checkpoint in Lexington, after being hit in the head with a carp that jumped from the water.

According to race dispatcher Barbara Edington, 20 to 25 boats have withdrawn from the competition as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. There were 201 boats that started the race, she added.

Edington said participants are expected to arrive at the race's fifth checkpoint south of Columbia at Katfish Katy's campground along the river in Huntsdale throughout Wednesday morning with a significant number of boats stopping between 6 and 7 a.m.

The lead boat is projected to arrive at the race's sixth checkpoint in Jefferson City at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, with a majority of boats following between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

West Hansen of Austin, Texas, and David Kelly of San Rafael, Calif., maintained the race lead as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. 

Edington said they are projected to finish the race between 6 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday in St. Charles. 

The Beauties and Barnacles team, a 41-foot, bright orange dragon boat carrying 21 paddlers, was in sixth place overall as of 9 p.m. Tuesday.  

The Carp Target Grannies made up of Columbia residents Linda LaFontaine and Cami Ronchetto encountered difficulties leaving the first checkpoint and are behind in their effort to defend their women's tandem title from last year's race.



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