Straight paddle: Pat Shine races on Saturday

Back for its fourth year, the Pat Shine Memorial Canoe and Kayak Race continues to honor the man for which it’s named, and bring together local paddlers.

The 2014 installment will be held this Saturday, July 19, on the local stretch of the Allegheny River. The event is currently the only of its type in Warren County after the USCA Nationals began using different locations for their competition.

This year’s race is presented by the Warren County YMCA and the Allegheny River Competitive Paddlers.

“It’s nice to have local races,” said Allegheny River Competitive Paddlers member Paul Gruber. “We’re really hoping to get more of a local turnout. You don’t have to be elite, just come out and have a good time.”

The emphasis of the Memorial race is on recreational paddling and allowing people to gain experience in a less competitive atmosphere.

In addition to members of the ARCP – which has members from all over northwestern Pennsylvania – the race draws a handful of participants from Ohio and New York.

“It’s the same people we race with all the time,” said Gruber. “We have a pretty good group of friends that goes to races almost every weekend, but we could always use more local paddlers. That’s how this is going to grow.”

The course begins at the Big Bend Access Area and runs approximately 10 miles along the Allegheny River to the Betts Park boat launch. The course is straight through for all classes with no loops and no extra water to be released from the dam. Personal flotation devices must be worn on Army Corps waterways.

The cost for adults is $15 if pre-registering or $20 the day of the event. Youth padders (under 18) can register for $10 at any time. Competitors can pre-register at the YMCA.

Registration can be completed from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. at the Kinzua Spillway on the day of the race. The race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

Racers will receive a free tee-shirt and awards will be given to the first three finishers in each class.

This year, the YMCA will provide a shuttle bus to run before the race from the end of the course to the starting area. Competitors are asked to take their equipment to the starting area, drive their vehicles to Betts Park, and take the bus back to the start. Pick up time for the shuttle is 9:30 a.m.

Also new to this year’s race is the Veteran Class – open to all US military veteran teams using recreational canoes – and the Tango Class – a chance to prepare for the Kinzua Tango using any tandem canoe with either canoe or kayak paddles.

For a copy of the registration form and more details, visit the Pat Shine Memorial Canoe and Kayak Race page at sites.google.com/site/alleghenyrivercomppaddlers/home/pat-shine-memorial-canoe-kayak-race.

Classes include the following:

Canoe Classes

C-2 Recreational Business Class

C-2 Recreational Veteran Class

C-2 Recreational (men, women, mixed, adult/junior, youth)

C-2 Stock (men, women, mixed, adult/junior, youth)

C-2 Open Cruiser/Pro Boats (men, women, mixed, adult/junior, youth)

C-2 Open TANGO (any gender, any canoe)

C-1 Stock (men, women, youth)

C-1 Open Cruiser (men, women, youth)

Kayak Classes

K-1 Recreational short under 10′ – plastic boats only (men, women, youth)

K-1 Recreational long 10′ and over – plastic boats only (men, women, youth)

K-1 Short racing kayaks – maximum 16′ (men, women, youth)

K-1 Long racing kayaks – over 16′ (men, women, youth)

K-1 Unlimited (men, women, youth)

Stand Up Paddleboard Class

SUP-1 any size or style (men, women, youth)