When: Sat., May 2, 10 a.m. 2009
A splash at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday will signal the start of the 28th Annual Outdoors, Inc. Canoe & Kayak Race — Memphis’ largest river event. Spectators looking on from the riverfront will witness more than 500 participants racing on the waters. In past years, among the paddlers have been actress Cybill Shepherd and Olympic gold medalist Greg Barton, who is expected to compete again this year. The participants also include “a lot of good, solid, local paddlers — an outstanding field from Memphis, and people who do it strictly for fun,” says Joe Royer, the founder of the race and the owner of Outdoors, Inc. Royer will be paddling in the race this year with his grandson. “I’ve climbed the Grand Canyon, the Rockies, and the Alps and kayaked in San Francisco Bay. The Mississippi is one of the greatest rivers to kayak,” says Royer, who trained for the U.S. Olympic kayak team as a young man. “The river is powerful and challenging, but you stick your chest out and say you’re proud of having done it.” Proceeds from the race go to the Church Health Center.