Katie Pfefferkorn, 22, of Columbia is returning as a solo paddler to the Missouri 340 after finishing second in her division last year.
Pfefferkorn is a Missouri engineering student. Along with her duties as an intern with Mid-Continental Chemical in Overland Park, Kan., she has taken every opportunity she can get to practice for the race.
“I enjoy this type of stuff,” she said. “The adventure, the challenge and the workout.”
She has been practicing two to three nights a week on the river in what she calls “The Carrot,” because it’s an orange recreational kayak, with a high end paddle. Her race equipment is yet to be determined.
“I’m limited now by money, but people have been really cool about helping me along,” she said.
Natural Way Chiropractic in Overland Park, Kan., is sponsoring Pfefferkorn in the race, and she said they’ve have been a big help.
“It kind of gives you a boost of confidence and something to work towards,” she said.
She said she learned a few things from last year’s race, and she plans on doing a few things differently, like not packing as much stuff and having a ground crew.
“I didn’t have a ground crew last year, but my mom will be there this year,” she said. “It’s kind of a family thing this year, because my brother will be in a safety boat, and my sister, who is a grad student at Memphis University, will be shooting film footage.”
Pfefferkorn says that all the people involved and the checkpoints are an important part of the race.
“It’s nice that the river towns kind of get into it,” she said. “It was nice and helpful last year especially since I didn’t really know what I was doing.”