August 7, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Float, swim or paddle for the river (dog optional)

Aug 07, 2011

August 7, 2011 - Bend Bulletin - Float, swim or paddle for the river (dog optional)

Float, swim or paddle for the river (dog optional)
By David Jasper / The Bulletin

Published: August 07. 2011 4:00AM PST

Race Schedule
9:30 a.m. Stand-Up Paddle Short Course
10 a.m. Stand-Up Paddle Long Course
11 a.m. Swim With Wetsuit
11:05 a.m. Swim Without Wetsuit
11:10 a.m. Swim With Dog
11:15 a.m. Canoe and Kayak
11:20 a.m. Canoe, Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board With Dog
11:45 a.m. Floaties
11:50 a.m. Floaties With Dog
12 p.m. Corporate Race

Break out the paddles and make ready the rafts: Race for the River will return Saturday for its sophomore year.

The event at Riverbend Park in Bend is a benefit for the Deschutes River Conservancy, whose purpose is restore streamflow and improve water quality in the Deschutes Basin, according to its website.

Just as the river appeals to a variety of users, the race represents a variety of interests. There are race categories for kayaks, canoes and “floaties” (that is, inflatable rafts, inner tubes and whatever else you can find that holds air and stays afloat). There will also be open swims with and without wet suits.

For serious stand-up paddleboarders, the stand-up paddle courses have been sanctioned by the World Paddle Association. That means that, although one need not be a member of the association, racers who are can earn points for their rankings or to qualify for the organization’s world championships.

“There’s a series of these races that people participate in, and it’s on a point system,” explains Bea Armstrong, development and communications director for the Deschutes River Conservancy. “It’s a cumulative thing. They’re on a circuit like the cyclocross circuit. This is the last race of that circuit, so we’re expecting a lot of people to come and compete so they can finish off their circuit with X amount of points.”

Each race division is open to canines as well, which are welcome to just go along for the ride or swim alongside their human companions. For safety reasons, racers with pets will compete separately from those who left theirs at home.

Cost of entry is $20 per person, $30 to race with your dog or $50 per team. Those racing with dogs will receive a free Ruff Wear Float Coat — think of it as a doggy flotation device — required for them to race.

Food and product vendors will be on hand. There will also be a beer garden serving up beer, including the special Race for the River Ale from Deschutes Brewery. And for your listening pleasure, Moon Mountain Ramblers will perform live bluegrass tunes. Admission is free.

From the Deschutes River Conservancy’s perspective, “this is an opportunity for people to give back to the river they love,” Armstrong says. “We’ve had a number of different events where you can go down and participate and celebrate the river, but this is a communitywide celebration, where we hope to get people out on the river doing something that they’re already out there doing already: enjoying the river.

“But this is the one day and the one opportunity to truly give back to the river you love, and to support the Deschutes River Conservancy in their mission of keeping this river as a thriving resource for future generations.”

To enter or learn more information, visit www.deschutes

David Jasper can be reached at 541-383-0349 or


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