What could be better; a big family river event that turns into a celebration of the restoration of the Coal Rivers or a community of local citizens who invite over 200 guests to their beautiful home on the river and treat everyone like their closest kin?
The members of the Big Coal River Branch of the Coal River Group did everything right and the result was a huge river float that encouraged anyone and everyone to enjoy the resurrection of their beloved Big Coal River.
Words used to describe the 6th annual Kevin’s Lazy River Adventure by the visitors to Racine to start of the 10 mile float included: “wonderful,” “great event,” “well organized,”“safe,” and “fun.” The praise from visitors went on and on, organizers said.
The annual event is organized by the leaders of the local Big Coal River Branch but the 70 or more volunteers represented branches of many extended families in the local area including, Boone County Ambulance Authority, Swift Water Rescue Team, Boone County Parks and Recreation and County Commission staff and officials.
It is truly a community event but the folks who traveled from North Carolina, Indiana, Beckley, Fayetteville, Charleston, Huntington and many other surrounding areas in West Virginia experienced a day on a beautiful, clean and clear rapid flowing river.
Big Coal River has undergone a major restoration, brought about by the hard work and efforts of the same people who hosted the paddle event.
The event was originally organized to honor a young man, Kevin Kinder, who everyone in the community loved. The organizers of the float wanted to bring people back to the river to help clean it up and Kevin’s lifelong love for the river was an inspiration to all of those early volunteers.
Since its creation Kevin’s Lazy River Adventure has become an annual celebration that shows off the hard work of the local volunteers. They have made a difference in restoring the river that flows lazily through the ten miles of shallow stretches, lazy curves, and an occasional exciting rock strewn rapid to its terminus at Dartmont Park near Ashford in Boone County.
This year over 114 boats were registered at the Racine launch site and several others joined the flotilla along the way making close to 145 assorted crafts. An estimated 225 people floated the river.
The group does not charge any fees for entry but makes a major effort to register participants and provide safety advice which is supported by a large number of EMT’s and citizen volunteers along the length of the float trip.
The event terminates in a newly restored county park at Dartmont, WV. As with any event in Boone County the volunteers welcome all the paddlers with a huge picnic, featuring the very best of desserts and main courses prepared by some of the finest cooks in the region. It’s all free and everyone is welcomed as if they were at a family reunion.
Teresa Perdue, along with Kenny Bailey, Dan Light, Mary and Jim Browning of the non-profit Coal River Group work for months putting together the event and they are supported by a host of volunteers who toil through the winter months preparing the food, organizing and seeking out contributions from the many local businesses that make the entire event financially feasible.
Teresa Perdue, says, “We want to thank the sponsors who make the event possible. The sponsors include Coal River Energy, Prayworks, B&M Oil Company, Finish Line Used Auto Sales, Inside out Creative/owner Amanda Easter and One Stop, Ashford, WV. Cabela’s also exhibited at the event and donated a Kayak, with paddle and life vest to be raffled off in the future to raise funds for river clean-up programs.”
Teresa adds, “We want to give special praise to the Boone County Swift Water Rescue Team, Boone County Ambulance Authority along with the Boone County Recreation Parks & Recreation and the County Commission for their support.”