By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Canoochee River Race on March 31
The Canoochee River Race can be competition or a leisurely paddle. - photo by Photo provided.
The 5th annual Canoochee River Race, organized by Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper, is scheduled for Saturday, March 31.
Paddlers from throughout the southeast will spend the day paddling down the beautiful Canoochee River. This year’s race and expanded festival will be presented by Claxton Poultry Farms Inc.
Pre-registration is more than double that of previous years with nearly 40 racers pre-registered.
“It looks like we’re going to come close to capacity this year,” Melanie Hendrix, outreach coordinator, said. “We have enough slots for 100 boats, and we’re already filled one-third of those slots. I would really encourage people to get their registrations in early so they can reserve their spot.”
After the race there will be an awards ceremony, food, crafts, activities and live entertainment. Trophies will be awarded for first through third place in all race divisions. Some additions to the festival will be a swamp-hollering contest and a frog-jumping contest. In addition, other organizations will gather to entertain, amuse and educate festival participants.
“The focus is on the family,” Hendrix said. “Our families are important in preserving the way of life that we are celebrating with the race, so it seems natural to want them involved even if they are not in the race itself.”
The racecourse begins at Rocks River Bridge on Highway 301 just north of Claxton, and ends at Groveland on Highway 280.
Paddlers may enter the race with non-motorized johnboats, canoes and kayaks.
The race includes an open division for the more competitive paddlers and a recreational division for those paddlers that want to simply enjoy a lazy day on the river.
The cost to enter the race is $40 per paddlers. A Paddle-A-Thon has also been introduced to help raise additional funds for the organization. Paddlers who raise $150 or more in sponsorships will be able to participate in the race for free. All paddlers will receive a goody bag, a race T-shirt, one-year membership to OCRK and insurance coverage for the event. All proceeds go to benefit OCRK.
The Claxton Amateur Radio Emergency Services and other volunteers will man checkpoints to help to ensure racer safety, and the Claxton FFA alumni will be assisting with registration.
“Volunteers make this event such a success, and we really appreciate the help of each and every person who has helped with the planning of the event, especially the river cleanup... They helped to make the river more passable for the paddlers,” Hendrix said.
Despite the hard work of those volunteers, there are still a few snags in the Canoochee that may make the paddle a bit challenging, but the organizers contend that’s part of the fun.
“The Canoochee has been called an obstacle course by some people for good reason,” Chandra Brown, riverkeeper and executive director, said. “I personally think the bends and snags make it an interesting and fun river to paddle.”
Registration forms are available by calling OCRK at (912) 764-2017 or online at
Sign up for our e-newsletters