November 20, 2019

First Dam Canoe Challenge to kick off Saturday


MIO — Experts, amateurs and those wishing to just have a little fun can participate in the various activities provided by the 17th annual First Dam Canoe Challenge Aug. 24-25.

The challenge will include C-1 and C-2 races, meaning one- or two-person canoes, starting at the Mio Dam. The C-2 races include two categories, Expert 1 and Expert 2, which organizer Peggy Smutek said are for amateurs and professionals, respectively. However, all racers must have racing canoes. She said many AuSable River Canoe Marathon racers typically participate.

The challenge will also include races for juniors — ages 12-16, old-timers — ages 60 and older, and fledglings, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. In the fledgling race, Smutek said seasoned paddlers will take younger children for a jaunt in their pro canoes.

A free fun race will take place on Pond Drive at 5 p.m. Saturday, with aluminum canoes provided. A $50 prize will be given for the most colorful costume. A business race will also take place at 5 p.m., in which businesses will try to win back their $100 sponsorship.

The event includes a continental breakfast and registration both days at 8 a.m., and lunch and a hot dog dinner Saturday.

All events besides the aluminum canoe races will take place at Oscoda County Park.

“It’s a great race,” Smutek said. “It’s all family-oriented, we camp. It gives the older and younger people a chance to canoe and learn what it’s about. It’s a good clean sport and something the whole family can participate in.”

For more information on registration fees, times and more, contact Peggy Smutek at 989-390-3889.


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