Flint: River Rat Race registrations are ‘on track’

  • Athol to Orange River Rat Race Director Dave Flint will be processing race registrations several times a week at the Athol Daily News up to Thursday, April 11. Flint has been in charge of organizing the race since 1991 with help from the Athol Lions Club and many volunteers from the community. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

Staff Writer
Published: 3/21/2019 9:00:03 PM

ATHOL — The 21 River Rat Race registrations received so far show that things are “on track” for the April 13 Athol to Orange canoe competition down the Millers River, according to Race Director Dave Flint.

Flint said he’s heard from canoeists practicing along the river that it is open “all the way through” and that “there is no debris in the water at this time.”

This year the River Rat Race Committee created a new category for teams that are from the North Quabbin region. “Hopefully the new class will bring in new people,” Flint said. The nine towns in the Local category include Athol, Orange, Royalston, Petersham, Warwick, Wendell, Phillipston, New Salem and Erving.

All signed up and ready to go are race sponsors The Burner Guys, also known as father and son team Leo and Ryan Berthiaume of Athol. Connecticut paddlers Alan Luoma of Ellington and Andy Link of Tolland, and Athol team Charles Starrett and William LaRose have also entered the 56th annual race. Linda Chaplin of Orange, who said this is her second year participating, and Siobhan Flaherty of Denver, Colorado are the first to register in the aluminum canoe category.

Returning faithfully every year, this year’s sixteenth team to be signed up is Phil McCracken from the Pleasant Valley section of Athol, and partner Mike White of New Britain, Connecticut.

Vermonters Peter Van Buren of Burlington and Ken Van Buren of New Haven, and Todd White and Gerald White, both of Bellingham, Mass. have also joined the rat pack.

Barry Decker of Stow, Mass., (who added a squinting smiley face next to his age on the application), and Victoria Cudmore, also of Stow, will be riding the river in a recreational canoe.

Previous race winner Al Shaver of Meridale, New York will be partnering with Dana Henery of Plymouth, Minnesota, which is also known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes with plenty of opportunities for paddling practice.

Entrants James Hamlett of Athol and Samantha Macomber of Orange can vie for both the Mixed Team and Local trophies this year.

The River Rat Race is organized by the Athol Lions Club and is open to all, from professional paddlers to newcomers. The entry fee is $42 per canoe. The deadline to register is 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 11. Athol Lions will be at the Athol Daily News office, 225 Exchange St., to take the final registrations. to be included in the post positions drawing on Friday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Athol Town Hall. Registration forms and rules can be found at www.riverratrace.com. Applications are also available at the Athol Daily News front office, 225 Exchange Street, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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