46th CCA Downriver Race

by Star Mitchell

Sycamore Islander, July 2001


Forty-six years of Sycamore Island tradition continued to prevail on June 9th as the island played host to the CCA Downriver Race. The island, a co-sponsor of the first Downriver Race on May 6, 1956, has been intimately involved ever since, providing its facilities for the race finish. Sycamore stalwarts, John Leohler and Craig Custis, were contestants in that first race, and Islanders have taken part in virtually every race right up the present.

After the downriver race
This year, tired and thirsty racers were welcomed to the island by Marcia & George Loeb, who provided ice-cold lemonade and delicious cookies. Other members on hand to help and give assistance with the race were: John Heidemann, Carl Linden, John Matthews, John F. Stapko and Peggy Thomson. Young John G. Stapko did yeoman’s work all day ferrying workers, racers and spectators to and from the island.

Anne Marie Cunningham worked out race details with the BCE and CCA; this was especially helpful to me, as race liaison, since I was away on an Elderhostel trip from May 20th to June 6th. Mega kudos are due Doc & Phyllis Taliaferro for their invaluable behind the scenes work.

The race usually starts at Rocky Island, but due to high water (5 ft), the start was moved down to Old Anglers Inn. Fifty-one hardy souls entered the race, three of whom were Sycamore Islanders: Mark Brenneman, LarryHeilman, and Paul Stanton.

Donna Perlmutter did a wonderful job as Race Chairperson; Merril Stock designed and obtained the T-shirts; Jeremy Stock and Patty Bertelsen provided a delicious lunch for all racers and workers; Joel Reeves and Bob Bofinger did an excellent job of timing and calculating racer’s runs.

Jeff Davis did his usual admirable job organizing safety boats at all major rapids. His trustworthy safety team included Tony Allred, Ed Grove, Pat Hamlin, Jean McAulay, David Moulton, Steve Revier, Paul Sanford and Kathleen Sengstock. Jeff’s wife, Marylu, handled the operation of the base station from her automobile, relaying messages to the CB radios of the safety team on the river.

Other CCAers and friends of mine who came to the island to help out were: Gus Anderson (who discovered the location of the finish line banner and stretched it across the channel), daughter Ashley, Phoebe Hamill, Darrell Hilton, Michael McBee, Paul Loundon. Ruth Healey arrived bright and early to help check-in paddlers at Great Falls.

I wish to thank all of the dedicated people who “went the second mile” and gave of their time to make this race a big success. If I have failed to mention anyone by name, I deeply apologize. The BCE and CCA coordinators and I especially wish to thank Sycamore Island for playing host to the race for the 46th year and keeping this long-time tradition alive.