This weekend’s Paddlemania “Blast to the Bridge Whitewater Kayak Race” featured 32 kayakers starting at timed intervals below the Thomson dam. It took the kayakers 20 to 30 minutes each to maneuver the St. Louis River, navigating rocks and rapids to see who could reach the swinging bridge with the best time.
A crowd gathered on the swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park cheered the kayakers on and encouraged them as they came closer.
One hapless kayaker found himself perched high and dry on a rock after coming down the rapids. After a bit of rocking, he was back in the race.
The last kayaker ended up with his kayak full of water after coming down rapids and had to empty the water out. There was speculation among the onlookers if he was going to give up, but the persistent paddler got back in and finished the race to the cheers of the onlookers as well as his fellow kayakers, who raised their paddles high in celebration.
When the race was over a small group of kayakers continued down the river in a colorful row of kayaks, paddling around the bend and out of sight.