Rick LeShure and Brandi Bosley had youth, experience, and training working for them Saturday in the annual paddleboat race at Marion County Park and Lake.
It was all for naught. Battered on the outward leg by 15-to-20-mph winds, fighting for control as gusts blew them off course on the way back, the couple tied for last in the four-boat field.
“It was a blast,” Bosley said. “My legs feel like spaghetti. That wind was crazy.”
Trailing most of the race, a late surge brought LeShure and Bosley’s boat even with that of Mary Schroeder and Skyler Schwenke.
“I actually thought about cheating and pushing them away,” Schroeder said lightheartedly. “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying, right?”
Bosley said hooking up with Schroeder’s boat was a navigational error caused by the wind.
“We could not get our boat to turn straight coming in, and then we notched up next to them and rode in together,” Bosley said.
Schwenke shortly paused when asked if he, too, considered cheating.
“Sort of,” he said.
LeShure said there was a little jostling between crews.
“We had a little bumping and grabbing going on,” he said.
The last-place duel was the only dramatic finish of the race. Winners Justine Nichols and Austin Schwenke finished far ahead of runners-up Emily Porter and Nathan Whitesel.
The winners churned to victory using Nichols’ boat, which may have given them an advantage.
“I think our boat is the best boat because it’s won almost every year,” Nichols said. “Is it rigged? No. But it’s a little longer than the others, and I think that makes a little difference.”
Four-year-old Lucas was a passenger in LeShure and Bosley’s boat.
“It’s his birthday, that’s why we did it,” Bosley said.
When asked if he liked the race, Lucas nodded yes, and then looked up at LeShure.
“Daddy, can we swim now?” he asked.