Park fundraiser features World Records holder
Two-time Guinness World Records holder Mike Matson will share his experiences rowing across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at a fundraiser benefiting Cullinan Park 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19.
Matson is the keynote speaker for the second annual Cullinan Park Conservancy “Picnic for the Park” event that will be held in the auditorium of River Pointe Church, 5000 Ransom Road. Memorial Hermann Sugar Land is the presenting sponsor.
“I’ll be telling the stories of both of my rows,” said Matson. “The first one, rowing across the Atlantic was successful. The second, and I think more interesting one, was my recent row across the Pacific, which ended in our being rescued by a container ship.”
The Houston native made history skippering a three-man rowboat more than 3,200 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. He and his crew became the first Texans and the first triple-crewed row boat to finish the 2016 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, billed as the “World’s Toughest Row.”
Always up for a challenge and determined to make a difference in the world, Matson began a second row in June.
He and Brian Krauskopf, who rowed across the Atlantic with him, entered The Great Pacific Race. They were determined to cross the 3,000 miles from Monterey, California to Hawaii in 40 days. Three days into the race their custom-made boat, the Anne, capsized. Matson was thrown into the water. Though the boat was righted, Matson began to experience life-threatening dehydration. A container ship began rescue operations and the race had to be scrubbed.
Both trips taught Matson a number of life lessons that he shares with his audiences.
“When you are out there, you are cut off from technology,” Matson said. “There’s no social media, no television. You are alone with your thoughts. It re-centers you. You learn to trust the people you are with and trust in your friendships. You also learn that you are never alone. There are always people there to take care of you and pray for you.”
His message is a simple one that he hopes encourages people to persevere and live an adventurous life.
“Just one stroke at a time,” Matson said. “If you start out thinking ‘I’m going to row all the way across the Atlantic’ you’ll be overwhelmed. If you think ‘I’ll just row 40 miles today and maybe 20 more tomorrow,’ you will be across that ocean in no time.”
Maston’s boat will be on display during the luncheon. Plus, the conservancy will present Ann Hamilton with the Nina Cullinan Award, given to a person instrumental in promoting and enhancing the beauty of the park. Winners of the annual Cullinan Park Conservancy Photo Contest, underwritten by Johnson Development, also will be announced.
Tickets are $50-$75 and can be purchased online at www.cullinanparkconservancy.org/picnic-for-the-park. Proceeds will go toward improvements for the 754-acre Joseph S. and Lucie H. Cullinan Park in Sugar Land.