HELP SAVE THE OCOEE ~ the Annual TVCC Ocoee Race. by Sam Benetto,photos by Rachel Elise.

The Ocoee River paddling community occupies the true main stage of progression in the Southeast. With huge commercial success that has lasted over the past 35 years and a strong willingness to give back  to surrounding non profit organizations, the Ocoee river family has proven itself as a leader in our whitewater community. Without the passionate hearts of its paddlers, raft guides and club paddling organizations, many events such as Ocoee Fest, Ocoee River Jam, and the Annual TVCC Ocoee Race would not be possible. With the race being only a few short days away, Dirt Bag Paddlers’ own Aaron Erdrich got the low down from race organizer Jen Maxwell on this weekend’s race event! 
Heres how Jen Maxwell broke the history and the event itself to Aaron. “Some seven years ago, a couple of kayakers (Emily Marsh and Brian Goodwin) were out on the Ocoee and decided to see just how fast they could go to make it to the bottom…they decided that day it was fun and obviously TVCC needed to have a race….so it really was a grassroots effort meant for the members of the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club to have fun. They decided to make it into a fund raiser for First Descents. The first race had only 63 start times (some racers entered twice). The race has grown significantly since then. Last year we had 120 start times.”

“The after party is a fundraiser,” she said, “last year benefiting First Descent and Team River Runner Chattanooga. We were able to donate $1000 to each of them. This year we have chosen to focus our efforts solely on Team River Runner Chattanooga, as it is a local charity. The awards ceremony and afterparty is hosted at OAR in Ocoee Tennessee. We will have the band River Funk playing, with Tarver Distributing is sponsoring the event. As with every year since its inception, the race winners will win a glass beer mug, as well as 1st – 3rd place medals. We are incorporating the ‘Ocoee Cup’ this year which is an award for the overall fastest racer. It will be a perpetual trophy which will live in Ocoee.”

As always on the Ocoee, the good times and good beers are flowing but not without a significant cause to give back to. Because the Ocoee has brought us so much as paddlers, theres not much of a better way to express our gratitude by using our talents for a little friendly competetion and a good cause. Without the dedication of TVCC, Jen Maxwell and loads of volunteers, this race would not be possible. Much thanks to all involved and good luck to all racing! 

Don’t forget to write your senators today to help save the Ocoee so our races can continue and our community can thrive!
TRR Chattanooga Facebook page

River Funk – Watch for an upcoming interview of these dirtbags in DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE

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