I know you’re all waiting for my RAGBRAI recap, and I promise I will get to it. It’s just tough to put a whole week into a blog! In the meantime though, I have to tell you about 2 Big Events coming to the Muddy Mississippi!
Ladies Night Kayaking
Calling all ladies! I will be leading two girls-only paddling clinics on the Quincy riverfront this month at a special reduced rate! The classes will be $25 per person and will include your boat and equipment, your life jacket, and instruction in basic kayaking. I’ll also be demonstrating kayak rescues. The classes will be held at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, August 21 and on Tuesday, August 28 both at 5:30 pm.
Spaces are limited and you are required to RSVP by either contacting me on my Facebook page or emailing email@example.com with your name and phone number.
And as long as you’re learning to kayak, you might want to join in for:
The Quincy 5-Miler Hand Powered Boat Race!
The Quincy Five Miler is a 5.4 mile head race on the Mississippi River and Quincy Bay from Knapheide Landing along the Illinois shore, through The Cut and into Quincy Bay, below the course of the First Quincy Boat Race (1872), and under the bridges to the finish line at the South Side Boat Club. It will be held September 15th at 11 am. Entry fee is $25 and will include a t-shirt and prizes to winners of each division.
The great thing about this race is just about anyone can enter and you stand a great chance of winning a prize. You can literally enter any river-worthy hand or foot powered boat. I’ll be rolling in a Valley Avocet Kayak in fire engine red! But you could show up with a canoe, a paddleboat, a stand up paddle board, a row boat, an outrigger canoe, a racing shell… heck, you can build a Huckleberry Finn style raft and grab some sticks and paddle it on down the river if you want to. The divisions will be set the day of the event based on type of craft and men’s and women’s divisions.
There is a lot of history behind the race in Quincy. Once a rowing powerhouse, Quincy has a history of waterborne competition going back to the first race in 1872. The first race was a two miler (out one mile and return), put on by the newly formed Nautilus Rowing Club. The start line was on Quincy Bay 2 1/2 miles North of Maine Street. First prize for the Single Scull race was $40 in gold; second was a pair of spruce sculls. The race included singles, pairs, skiffs, and “working boats”. The “four oared” race included entries from Quincy’s Union and Nautilus rowing clubs.
The South Side Boat Club was formed in 1886 and for the next seventy years Quincy provided strong crews for regional and even international competition. Aggressive recruitment included calls for the most able bodied to join the clubs and promises of expert coaching and paid expenses to races. Race boats were loaded onto train cars on Front Street and transported to Central States Amateur Rowing Association regattas throughout the Midwest. The many trophies and medals on the walls of the South Side Boat Club at 640 S. Front Street in Quincy attest to the considerable success of its crews which include numerous regional championships, a national championship in 1904, and a second (losing out on 1st place by only 2/5 second) in the World Rowing Championship of 1934 in Liege, Belgium.
Quincy’s last racing eight was sold in 1950 after decline in the sport after WWII. Quincy’s recreational water interests moved to power boating and folks gradually lost sight of human powered boating as a popular activity. As Quincy Bay silted in over the years (a controversial local topic) power boat access has become more and more limited. However the shallow draft of paddle and row boats provides easy access from downtown to a wildlife-filled scenic waterway that stretches north from town along North Bottom Road.
To find out all of the details on the race and to print the waiver and registration, please click here to visit the race website. If you would like to race but need to rent a kayak, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I have a limited number of kayaks available for a rental fee of $10 (which includes life jackets and paddles) and they will be assigned on a first-come basis. You must have some paddling experience to rent a boat (no first-timers!)