After a two-year absence, the Friends of Sugar Creek Canoe Race is returning.
Canceled in 2019 due to high water levels and again last year due to the coronavirus, the event is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. May 15 from Creekside Lodge. Recreational and professional paddlers will race about 15 1/2 miles to Deer’s Mill Covered Bridge.
Friends of Sugar Creek first teamed up with the Montgomery County Visitors and Convention about five years ago to organize the race to promote more recreation on the creek.
On-site registration begins at 10:30 a.m. The race is sanctioned by the United States Canoe Association, and about 10-12 professional paddlers are expected to show up, said Cindy Woodall, executive director of Friends of Sugar Creek.
“They love Sugar Creek, so they love to come to the Sugar Creek race and have been doing it for years,” Woodall said.
The awards ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. at Canyon Campground.
Before paddlers take to the water, a new shorter race will get underway in tribute to longtime event steward Bob Stwalley. The four-mile Stwalley Short runs from Creekside to the Rock River Ridge trailhead.
The shorter race aims to encourage families and teams of co-workers to get out on the creek. A prize will be awarded to the “best dressed canoe” and medals will go to the first, second and third place finishers. On-site
registration for the short race begins at 11 a.m. at Creekside.
Pre-registration for both events is encouraged at www.friendsofsugarcreek.org/events or www.visitmoco.com/event/friends-of-sugar-creek-canoe-race/
Due to COVID-19 considerations, separate registration tents will be set up, volunteers will be wearing masks and hand sanitizer available.
“We will be doing as much social distancing as possible,” Woodall said.