10th Annual Paddlepalooza Makes A Splash

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, City Planner

On the cool Saturday morning of June 2nd, 137 kayakers and canoers gathered along the banks of the Clinton River at Riverside Park, in Downtown Auburn Hills, for the 10th Annual Paddleplaooza.   All participants, young and old, were geared up to take the eight-mile trip that ends in Rochester Hills at River Crest Banquet Center.

This year, 20 men participated in the kayak race which was won by Rick Ensley.  The women’s kayak race was won by Gwenn Stevenson, by a 1.18-second margin.  She beat out the six other competitors in the race.  But the closest race of the day and in Paddlepalooza history occurred during the canoe race.  Of the ten teams that entered the canoe race – the team of Lynne Browning and Vince Schrank took home the first place trophy.  They crossed the line just 12 seconds ahead of the 2017 champions.

As for the race for the Mayor’s Challenge Cup – we’re pleased to announce that Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel and Erika McDaniel, successfully defended the Mayor’s Challenge Cup over Team Rochester Hills.  Auburn Hills holds an edge over Rochester Hills who had dominated the race during the first four years.

The remaining 90 paddling enthusiast took a more leisurely pace down the river to better enjoy the scenic views and wildlife often seen throughout the river’s riparian corridor.

Once paddlers reached the end, they all enjoyed a nice lunch on the patio of River Crest, while swapping stories and tall tales of their adventure down the Clinton River.

Race Results

Winners in the One Person Kayak Race – Men’s Division

  1. Rick Ensley (right) 1:16.10
  2. Gerald Dihle (center) 1:17.28
  3. John Carricle (left) 1:18.31

Winners in the One Person Kayak Race – Women’s Division

  1. Gwenn Stevenson (center) 1:25.10
  2. Kristy Jacobson (right) 1:25.30
  3. Stacy Miller-Serota (left) 1:25.10

Winners in the Two-Person Canoe Race

  1. Lynne Browning and Vince Schrank (right) 1:25.12
  2. David and Violet Fiddes (middle) 1:25.24
  3. Bryan Cook and Jeff LaBlank (left) 2:23.55

The Mayor’s Challenge Cup

Mayor Kevin McDaniel (center right) and Erika McDaniel (center right) – Team Auburn Hills and Mayor Bryan Barnett (center left) and Kenneth Barnett (center left) – Team Rochester Hills

To learn more about kayaking and canoeing the Clinton River and all the access points along it, please visit the Clinton River Watershed Council’s Water Trail webpage at http://www.crwc.org/paddling.

Thank you to all the sponsors and supporters: