Hoosier Regatta, April 17, 2021
By Matt Meersman
You missed a great day on the White River. The water levels and weather were perfect. We had a nice variety of boats with Bill, Ted and myself in C1s, Matt Conrad, Roger Crisp and Larry Swift in sea kayaks, Brent Ernsberger in a downriver kayak and Hilman Culp and someone with a matching bucket hat in the aluminum C2. George took care of the registration and timing while his brother was kind enough to run shuttle.
The race started with Matt Conrad blasting off the line in a flurry of flying water. Ted Beatty managed to stay with him, while Bill and I took a little while to make our way up to them. Eventually Ted and I were both enjoying a nice ride from Matt, while Bill lurked somewhere further off to the side. I made a hard push as we approached a shallow before the first bridge. Ted and Bill stayed with me, but Matt fell back a little bit. I couldn’t tell what was happening behind us, but the 3 C1s were all close after the chaos of the start settled.
Just as things settled down I began to hear Bill’s words from before the start over and over again in my head: “you ought to just take off and leave Ted and I alone!” Those two have been battling each other in the C1 for years now and I definitely didn’t want to give either one of them any help in beating the other. With that in mind I put my head down and paddled as hard as I could into and through the next shallow riffle.
I looked back halfway through the following pool and I saw Bill hanging tough. He wasn’t close enough to be on my wake (I hoped!), but he wasn’t far enough for me to let up, so I kept the hammer down. The next time I looked back I could see that I had pulled away a little further, but Bill was really paddling hard. He was creating a similar gap between him and Ted. I decided to push it as hard as I could all the way to the finish and my body obliged. It was a tough course with exciting riffles and brutal suck water.
The finish line was a welcome site with lots of cheering friends and family. My aunt and uncle from Fishers came out to cheer everyone on. You’ll have to check with George for the official results, but I can guarantee a good time was had by all. I had to hustle off after the race to get back home for a family member’s wedding, but George was laying out a nice assortment of interesting treasures (including a Stanley hand plane from 1909!) for prizes as I left.
I hope you can make it to the next one. Fingers crossed for good water levels on Sugar Creek!