Sen. Gobi to join River Rat Race

  • River Rat Race Director Dave Flint logging entries at the Athol Daily News. The business office at 225 Exchange St. in Athol is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily to submit applications for the April 14 race. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/DEBORRAH PORTER

  • Competitors in last year’s annual River Rat Race begin their race toward Orange down the Millers River. This year’s race, slated for April 14, has 26 canoes registered, including Massachusetts Sen. Anne Gobi, of Spencer, and partner Gary McComas, of North Brookfield. For the Athol Daily News/Matt Burkhartt

  • State Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, speak to students at Athol-Royalston Middle School while touring a school and observing its new Grab & Go Breakfast program. Gobi has registered a canoe for this year’s River Rat Race, which is slated for April 14. For the Athol Daily News/Domenic Poli

Staff Writer
Published: 3/21/2018 11:20:39 PM

ATHOL  — Canoe entries for the April 14 River Rat Race are up to 26 and include state Sen. Anne Gobi, of Spencer, and partner Gary McComas of North Brookfield.

River Rat Race Director Dave Flint said Tuesday, “Senator Gobi has paid for her porta-potty to go at the finish line.”

Each year, local businesses and individuals sponsor the portable toilets temporarily placed in Athol and Orange. For the convenience of the public, there will be one located near the Flowerland florist shop at 501 Main St. in Athol, three at the South Main Street bridge starting area, and three at the finish line in Orange, including two sponsored by the Orange Business Association.

Flint said potential paddlers should remember that the first 200 teams to sign up will automatically be entered in a drawing for a pair of $300 Zaveral racing paddles (www.zre.com). The Athol Lions Club purchased one paddle, while ZRE owner, long-time paddler and 10-time racing champion Bob Zaveral donated the other.

Race day is shaping up, with the annual pancake breakfast, Big Cheese 5K road race, the River Rat Parade down Main Street, and carnival in Lord Pond Plaza hosted by the Disabled American Veterans group.

Pay to Paddle

There are generally no problems with people submitting their applications, and race officials are considering changes to their website to make it easier to sign up. You can download the application and mail it to River Rat Race, P.O. Box 1000, Athol, MA 01331, or drop it off at River Rat Central (the Athol Daily News) with the $42 entry fee.

Future improvements to the website may include the option to pay (with PayPal or similar online payment system), and submit your registration online.

And Flint takes the process seriously. He recalled that 20 years ago a person from New York put a stop on a check submitted with the race application, but paddled in the race. Flint took him to court.

“I paid the $25 court fee. The guy never showed up. He failed to appear in court and there’s still a warrant out for his arrest,” said Flint, “If we let that guy get away with it people will think we’re a pushover.” Flint says he keeps the paperwork at home.

For racers who cannot make it to the post-position drawing at 7:30 p.m. in Athol Town Hall, the Athol Daily News is open for paddlers to pick up their T-shirts and stick-on numbers for their canoes until 11 a.m. After that, they may be picked up from the Athol Lions Club’s bright yellow Weenie Wagon, which will be parked near the South Main Street bridge starting area. Participants are reminded that the numbers must be affixed to the front left section of the boat for officials to read from the finish line. In the event of a neck-and-neck finish, photos will be used to identify the winner.

Latest Entries

New entries include Steve Gage of South New Berlin, N.Y. and Scott Jordan of Otego, N.Y.; Amy Thornton of Florence and Eric Jones of Granby, Conn.; Vicki Cummings of Meriden, Conn. and Pam Fitzgerald, Scotia, N.Y.; Craig Twohey of Phillipston and Bill Marshall of Athol; Ed Halpin Jr. of Seekonk and Ed Halpin III of Westwood; Gary Ring of Leicester and David Smith of Millbury; Phillip McCracken of Pleasant Valley and Michael White of New Britain, Conn; Todd White of Bellingham and Gerald White of Bellingham; Steven Belanger of Orange, and Joseph Williams of Athol; Andy Hall of Arlington and Kevin Boss of Swansea; Barry Decker of Stow and Victoria Cudmore of Stow; Thomas Connors and Scarlet Decker, both of Jacksonville, Fla.; Leo Berthiaume of Athol and Ryan Berthiaume of Athol.

Applications are available from www.riverratrace.com and from the lobby in the Athol Daily News, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 12. Post positions will be listed in the Saturday edition of the Athol Daily News.


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