Three Rivers Fort Wayne Race 7.16.22

Leo, Indiana Boat Launch. Photo by Holly Wik

The initial predictions for the date of the TRF race had been for temps close to 90. As it was, we were more concerned about being washed out by a storm that passed through shortly before race registration. But not to fear; the rains cleared out just before registration opened up, temps remained mild, current was essentially zero, and it turned into an excellent race day! Water levels were down half a foot or so (must have been some extra dam release), but the water was still plenty deep for rudders of all sorts. 

This turned out to be quite the kayak race, with 16 paddlers but only 3 “traditional” canoes (and one tandem outrigger canoe). We were quite surprised by the appearance of Skeet Craig, but apparently his wife had an engagement near Indy, and she told him to take take a hike, or go paddle, or do something so he wandered up our way and blessed us with his presence as one of the two C1 paddlers. Interestingly Paul Kane, usually a kayak paddler, was our other C1 representative. Maybe that was to balance out Bill Kanost, typically a C1 paddler, showing up with a kayak… And naturally our stalwart C2 Aluminum paddlers, George and Hilman, completed the traditional canoe roundup. Colleen Curan joined me in OC2 to see if we could dominate the race. Not quite, but we’ll get to that. 

Speaking of kayaks, the big news was the large field of Sea Kayakers, and particularly the women; Deb wasn’t lonely this time! We were excited to have Holly Wik, who just recently moved to Marion, IN, show up to race with her Epic V8. And doubly so to see Lori Schaffer, who has been unable to make our races for a couple of years, return with her Stellar S18S to start working on regaining her past glory. With Deb also racing an S18S, all the women sea kayak paddlers were also in surf skis! Vicki Tillotson once again competed with her plastic boat in K1 Rec, putting in a notable time. Vicki and Kyle are quite remarkable; they’ve been coming to most of our races, running hard in recreational kayaks, then heading out to paddle additional significant distances each time. My suspicion is these two will become quite the paddling force in racing!

We had 5 in K1 Sea Kayak Man. Jon Hendersen continued his domination of the class, but John Christensen, who only races a couple of times a year, gave Jon a solid run for the money, with Matt Conrad hard on his heels. Kyle Wills, who has been racing a plastic boat in K1 Rec, borrowed Roger’s Gen 1 S18R to try his hand at racing a faster boat – and he did quite well. And Roger picked up his time again this year, doing a heck of a job at age 81. I believe he has knocked 10 minutes off his time each of the last couple of years.  So by age 90 he should be setting new records!

We lined up under the Grabill Road bridge, and at the start we raced upriver approximately 4 miles to the Roth Road bridge, circled the center pylon, and returned. At the start Collen and I started out strong, with Bill Kanost and Jon Hendersen running neck and neck with us. About a half mile up Jon fell back (it’s a lot of work keeping a sea kayak running that fast), but that pesky Kanost fella kept at it. Bill couldn’t get past us, so eventually he tucked in behind and rode our wake the better part of the way to the bridge. Near the bridge Bill sprinted just ahead to get around the turn first, giving him a slight lead as we headed back to the finish. We couldn’t reel him in, but he couldn’t get away, either, at least for a few miles. But during the last two or so miles Bill edged ahead a little more (or we slowed), and we didn’t have any more to give. Bill ended up taking fastest overall honors by 38 seconds.  Jon came in third overall just a little over 5 minutes behind us, followed by Paul Kane, then the rest of the sea kayaks and canoes. 

Following the race and awards, several of us headed over to Bagger Dave’s for some excellent post-race food and good conversation. Then it was off to various parts, as the travelers tried to stay awake following their race workout and food. Kyle and Vicki didn’t join us this time, as they were headed off for more paddling adventure with an Indy group. Jon joined us, but then headed up to Detroit to take part in the Belle Island race. 

I really want to thank Julie Birge, Roger Crisp’s daughter, for her tireless efforts taking care of the race start, finish, and timing all alone. Thank you Julie! And thank you to all who came!


Photos by Julie Birge except as noted.


1st Steven Horney / Colleen Curan  1:12:54

C2 Aluminum
1st George Tinsley / Hilman Culp Jr 1:40:07

C1 Man
1st Paul Kane 1:18:42
2nd  Skeet Craig 1:25:55

K1 Open
1st Bill Kanost  1:12:16

K1 Sea Kayak Man
1st Jon Henderson 1:18:07
2nd  John Christensen 1:19:07
3rd  Matt Conrad 1:19:20
4th  Kyle Wills 1:23:34
5th  Roger Crisp 1:34:49

K1 Sea Kayak Woman
1st  Deb Kanost 1:24:04
2nd  Holly Wik  1:32:22
3rd  Lori Schaffer 1:35:03

K1 Recreational Woman
1st Vicki Tillotson 1:36:33

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