The 2 Dam Days International Flatwater Championship Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29 promises to be one exciting race, attracting extreme contenders from across the world.
The main event is the Extreme 90; a 90-mile kayak marathon across the waters of the Lake of the Ozarks, over a two day period, from Truman Dam in Warsaw to Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark.
The toughest paddlers in the kayak racing circuit will compete in an event that is hailed as hardest and most extreme endurance kayak race in North America. This event will test the mental and physical strength of competitors due to the flat and often choppy Lake of the Ozarks waters.
“Most paddlers are used to endurance racing with a current, not fighting wind-waves and boat wakes,” said three time 2 Dam Days competitor Joe Baisa. “This is a hard race and not for lightweights.”
The 2 Dam Days races have one of the highest guaranteed purses in the sport of paddling with $13,800 in prize money, if all divisions are filled.
The best overall time in all categories will win an additional $1,000. This is also the highest payout for women kayak racers.
The boat finishing the two day race with the best over-all time will be awarded an additional $500. If a paddler beats Mike Herbert's record time of 11 hours and 54 minutes they will win $1,000. If this record is not broken in 2013, the pay-out will be increased by $500 per year until the record is broken.
Olympic paddler Mike Herbert, a paddling legend from Rogers, Ark., will compete in the Extreme 90 race. Herbert took first place, and best overall time, in the 2010 2 Dam Days Flat-water Championships. Herbert was unable to compete in 2012 due to a chain saw injury. Neil Fleming, an Olympic champion from Ireland, stepped in and took the first place trophy and best overall time in the 2012 championship, but he was unable to beat Herbert’s overall course record set in 2010.
This year’s race promises some significant competition between Herbert and Fleming, if Fleming shows. To increase the intensity even more, a third aggressive contender Brad Pennington is possibly flying in to compete after racing in the 2013 Masters Canoe Marathon World Cup in Denmark.
Four women have registered to compete in the Extreme 90, including two solo racers and one tandem team, proving, once again, that women too are tough paddlers. Several other women have registered for a few of the other races as well.
There are five thrilling races scheduled over the weekend; The Extreme 90, The Ultra 66, the Adventure 66 I and II, the Sweet 16 and the Anything Goes paddle.
The Ultra 66 and the Adventure are both two day, 66-mile races that start at the Holiday Hills Resort and head towards the Bagnell Dam for 31.5 miles, the first day, ending at Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill in Sunrise Beach.
Page 2 of 2 - The second day the race starts at Captain Ron’s and travels 34.5 miles to the Beavers at the Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark..
The Sweet Sixteen is a 15.5 mile race from Red Fox to Captain Ron’s.
In the Anything Goes sprint contestants will paddle 3.5 miles from the Bear Bottom Resort to Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill. In this zany race you may paddle anything that floats as long as it doesn’t have a motor, all in the spirit of fun! This is not an endurance race but there will be judged awards for the fastest, most humorous, the most creative, the youngest and the oldest.
There will be an awards ceremony and dinner at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill, and from 1 to 5 p.m. at Beavers at the Dam, with live entertainment. There will also be a drawing for a nice, sit upon kayak with fishing options that is open to the public. Everyone is invited to come and cheer the racers at the finish line.
LOWA has worked very hard to secure the safety of the racers by strategically placing 40 safety boats in the water. LOWA is seeking paddlers and volunteers. Volunteers are needed in many areas including; safety boats, hospitality, check points and boat captains. To sign up go to 2damdays.org or call LOWA Executive Director Donna Swall at 573 434-4400.
The purpose of 2 Dam Days Flatwater International Championship is to spotlight the Lake of the Ozarks internationally, extend the tourist season, increase awareness of clean water and the sport of paddling, and raise funds for the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance, LOWA clean water efforts.
Kayak racer Jim Short is paddling in the 2 Dam Days Extreme race for the second time and he said, “The Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful lake — in a beautiful area — in the middle of the good old USA, If anyone is looking for a tough race, with lots of amenities and some pay out to boot, this is a diamond in the rough. As this race progresses and evolves, I look for it to become a premiere site for some of the best racing in Mid-America.”