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Paddling enthusiasts make annual Winooski River trip

June 5, 2017 GMT

RICHMOND, Vt. -

Paddlers went for a downstream race on the Winooski Sunday to support an organization that is devoted to caring for the river.

For this group of Vermonters, adventure is always just around the corner. “We call ourselves the Gilligans. This is the water bottle that we use to identify one another,” said Tiffany Bluemle of Burlington.

Their latest expedition took them to the Winooski River for a 10-mile trek by kayak and canoe. Over 100 people signed up for the fourth annual Onion River Race and Ramble. The course started at Bolton Falls.

“We have serious racers--so people who come out and they wanna get timed--so people who come back year after year. And we also have an equal amount of ramblers. Actually rambling is the most popular class that we have,” said Larry Montague, the group’s Outreach Coordinator.

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Boaters can kayak, canoe, or paddleboard down the river, and those competing can register for 11 different categories--from individual to two person teams.

“It was a lot of fun. It was good people, well organized, and it’s just a clean, easy 10-mile stretch down the river. Really enjoyable,” said Brad Long of Waitsfield.

Proceeds from the event go to support the Friends of the Winooski River, a nonprofit that works to restore and protect the river. Organizers say 1 in 3 Vermonters live along the river, and they hope their work will teach more about it’s value to the state. Sunday’s race ended in Richmond with a meal and educational activities for boaters.

“It was a gorgeous day. It really--it was beautiful scenery. It was the nicest day of the summer so far, and I had my eye looking for a bald eagle all day. We didn’t find it,” Bluemle said.

Paddling downstream with friends and family for a good cause.