MISSOULA — Missoulian's were enjoying the summer over the weekend, racing their paddle boards on the river.
"Alo-hawwww" is what stand-up paddleboarders have been saying as they race down the 4.2 mile long Clark Fork River course. There was fun, laughter, and splashes as the race started in Sha-Ron, East Missoula, and ended in Bess Reed Park.
The race has two divisions -- elite and recreational. Travis Prewitt is an elite competitor and winner of this year’s SUP CUP. He came back for the fun and cause that the event supports.
“This is a great event, really well organized, good charities,” said Prewitt.
The ninth annual SUP CUP is one of few paddleboard races in the region and to make this race even better Windermere Real Estate has teamed up with the Missoula Food Bank’s EmPower Pack Program and Watershed Education Network. The race raises funds for each program.
“This helps us have a reliable source of funding to be able to provide citizen science programs which are volunteer community-based data collection projects, as well as kind of educational opportunities for students from preschool all the way up through college level,” Watershed Education Network spokeswoman Cassie Sevigny said.
“The kitchen Powerpack Program is a program that sends kids home on Friday afternoon, with a little bit of food for the weekends," said Missoula Food Bank and Community Center Executive Director Aaron Brock.
"These are kids who might be relying on school nutrition programs during the week to visit this mixture on Saturday and Sunday, there's still enough to eat for them.”
Both organizations are significant to the Missoula community and make a difference.
“All proceeds go to the Missoula Food Banks and Power Pack program that's the weekend food program for kids," said Andie Zielinski, Windermere SUP CUP Event Coordinator. "Our other beneficiary is watershed Education Network. So it's important in partnership for us and the community.”
Park Side Credit Union is another partner of the Watershed Education Network and they raced on the same paddle team with the organization. They partnered with the non-profit because they see it as a benefit to the community.
“It's become really apparent to me how our waters affect the other waters in the world, we are all connected," said Park Side Credit Union Community Outreach Coordinator Deborah Stapley-Graham.
"And that's really, it's really remarkable to think about. So we're happy to be with them so that they can measure the health of the rivers and our watersheds, and we know we can help educate the community," Stapley-Graham concluded.
The race was a success and in good Missoula fashion there was fun to be had on the river.