Eighth annual Millers River Challenge Race set for Saturday

  • Registration for the eighth annual Millers River Challenge Race on Saturday will be held at the Orange Community Boathouse off East River Street at 9 a.m. Staff File Photo/Chris Curtis

Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2019 9:50:00 PM
Modified: 10/3/2019 9:49:50 PM

ORANGE — Canoers, kayakers and paddle boarders old and young, professional and amateur, should get ready for the eighth annual Millers River Challenge Race.

The race will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. With canoes, kayaks and paddle boards, the event features several races throughout the day, including the Orange Lions Club’s High School Challenge Cup, youth races and a professional race with paddlers from New York and New England.

According to a press release from organizers, race day registration begins at 9 a.m. at Billy Goat Boats at the Orange Community Boathouse, 25 East River St. The first 50 racers to register will receive a free T-shirt. Registration is $15 for adults and $5 for those under 18 years old. Those who wish to register in advance may fill out forms at the boathouse.

In addition to being a family fun day by the water, the Millers River Challenge Race is also a charity, and money raised will be donated to the Orange Fire Department and the Northfield Underwater Search and Rescue Team. Past proceeds have gone to the Pioneer Junior Women’s Club and the Orange Lions.

Started in 2009, the Millers River Challenge has grown since its first year, which had around 50 racers, some as young as 3 years old.

According to the release, people of all skill levels and ages are welcome, but the day starts with the professional race at 11 a.m., part of the New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association’s Points Series. The course for the professional race is roughly 10 miles long, with cash prizes awarded at the end.

After the pro race, youth and recreational races begin, with race lengths of ¾ miles, 3 miles and 7¼ miles. Racing classes are broken up based on age.

At 1 p.m., pro paddlers will be paired with local youth for youth/adult races.

Also at 1 p.m. is the feature event, the High School Challenge Cup. This 3.5-mile race features competitors from local high schools racing for a trophy and bragging rights. The cup can be won in four classes — teacher/teacher, teacher/student, student/alumni and student/student. Cups in contention this year are held by Athol High School, Quabbin Regional High School, and Ralph C. Mahar Regional School. Franklin County Technical School and Northfield Mount Hermon School have won cups in the past, and any school that can field a team and boat is welcome to participate in all available classes.

The event is staffed by volunteers, including from the Orange Lions Club, and members of the Orange Fire Department and Northfield Underwater Search and Rescue Team assist Billy Goat Boats in organizing the races.

For more information, call the event director, Jerry Whaland of Billy Goat Boats, at 978-602-4622, email millersriverchallenge@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/millersriverchallenge.


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