PICKSTOWN, S.D. – More than 40 paddlers already have signed up for the July 9 Fort to Field 50 Paddle Battle, a canoe and kayak race on the Missouri National Recreational River.
The event, in its third year, gives all paddlers an up-close and enjoyable encounter with the longest river in North America, along one of its most beautiful stretches. The race takes its name from its start and finish points, Fort Randall Dam and Springfield, S.D. respectively. The 50-mile distance is an approachable one for almost any paddler, regardless of craft or experience.
In its first two years, more than 85 percent of participants who started finished the event. The route includes 39 miles of the Missouri National Recreational River, a National Park, and another 11 miles in the delta created by the Niobrara River. It begins at 7 a.m. and ends when the last paddler reaches the finish or 10 p.m., whichever occurs first.
Registration remains open and costs $50 until July 1. It increases to $75 and remains at that price until July 9. Day-of registration is $80. Those costs are per-person; there is no discount for tandem or team kayaks/canoes.
Participants can tent camp for no cost at Randall Creek State Recreation Area, near the starting line, and take part in free seminars and paddling tutorials that begin around noon on July 8. The recreation area is located near Pickstown, South Dakota. The Wagner Chamber of Commerce will host a free meal for the participants that night; another meal is included in the event’s cost at the finish.
Those who take part also receive t-shirts; finishers receive medals and top finishers earn plaques and prizes. Registration and complete details are available online at www.forttofield50.com.