If competitors in the first Marion County Lake Paddle Boat Race had a common complaint, it was one race organizer Maggie Nichols liked to hear.
“The most negative comment we heard was that it was too short,” Nichols said. “We hope we have a few more next year so we can have heats and then run the heats off, so we can have more races that way.”
Swaia and Patsy Boyce of El Dorado, who have a cabin at the lake, rounded the outbound marker in first place and steadily pulled away from the field to win the 13 and older division.
Austin and Skyler Schwenke’s boat got entangled with the starting rope in the 12 and under competition, but they regrouped for the restart and easily outdistanced the competition for the win.
Nichols said she expected five or six entrants for the inaugural race, so having 12 teams enter was a pleasant surprise. She said she noticed a difference between the age groups.
“The kids were competitive, while the adults were out to have fun,” Nichols said. “We thought we’d have way more kids, less adults.”
Nichols said the first time staging the race was a learning experience, but is already looking forward to next year.
“We were pleased with the results and turnout and thought everybody had a good time,” she said. “Next year we hope to do a few more things. A couple of people suggested decorating the boats, but I’m not too sure about that. We’d like to add races for canoes and kayaks.”
13 and older category
1. Swaia and Pasty Boyce; 2. Kevin Bernhart and Michael Mader; 3. Paul White and Kristi Griffith; 4. Jordan Walton and Karra Mans; 5. Taylor Metz and C. Schaffer; 6. Ashley Friezen and Nick Herpick; 7. Doug and Autum Hanson; 8. Jessica Schokley and Lavren Gardner; 9. Pam Lyle and Buck Lyle.
12 and under category
1. Austin and Skyler Schwenke; 2. Alaina English and Jared English; 3. Justine Nichols and Trey Buckbee.