On Christmas night in 1776, George Washington and his Continental Army famously crossed the Delaware River to attack a group of Hessian soldiers in Trenton, New Jersey.
Saturday morning wasn’t quite so dramatic, but Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. dressed in his best George Washington costume, and along with his crew of sons Pascual and John Curtis, who also donned their best colonial garb, traversed a section of the Cumberland River in their Jon Boat during the Fourth Annual Kayaking for Kids race.
White noted that he got the idea for the costume during last year’s race.
Race organizer Amber Owens said that 70 participants turned out for the event, which raised over $15,000 including sponsorships.
The 2.5 mile race started at the Ballard Ford East river access point, and the finish line was at the Redbird Bridge. Participants exited the water at the boat ramp adjacent to the trash gate.
Instead of all the participants entering the water at the same time as in past years, groups entered the water at varying intervals to increase social distancing and reduce the number of people waiting on the access ramp at one time.
Racing kayakers started first. Then floaters entered the water at various intervals. The last group to enter the water were the jon boats.
The winning kayaker was Jerry Paul Winchester, who finished the race in 23 minutes. Damon Hicks finished in second place, followed by a two-person tie for third place by Richard New and Pam New.
Other racers in the order of their finish, included: Josh Lowe, John Blevins, Shelby Winchester, Paul Winchester, Diane Reynolds, Sarah Dennis, Andy Reynolds, Kenny New and Mary Ann Mink.
Ralph and Channing Carte were the first place finishers in the jon boat division, followed by Jim Bates and Jeremiah Morgan in second place, and Pat, Pascual and John Curtis White in third place.
Other jon boat racers in the order of their finish, include: Stacey Rains and Stella Varro, Truman and Glenda Prewitt, and Griffin Bates, Aaron Rowe, Gavin Taylor and Bobby Watson.
Due largely to COVID-19, participation for this year’s event was down from last year when over 150 people participated and 99 boats took part.
The event raises money for the Upward Basketball programs in Corbin and Williamsburg. Each program will be provided $1,100 each or enough to provide 25 scholarships, which goes to children whose parents can’t afford the participation fee.
The remainder of the race proceeds will be split between the family resource centers at local elementary schools in Corbin, Williamsburg and Whitley County.