MALLORYTOWN LANDING – The first ever Paddle Poker Run was a splash this past weekend.
The rain held off on Saturday for the more than 70 paddlers who came out and launched their participant-owned kayaks, canoes and other paddle crafts from the shoreline at Brown's Bay for the inaugural Paddle Poker Run hosted by the Township of Front of Yonge.
"This event was designed to get people out and enjoying the river in a healthy, safe and fun way," said Leslie MacPherson, a member of the organizing committee.
Players took off from Brown's Bay and were able to follow two routes. For novice players they paddled to Chimney Island, and for the intermediate level paddlers they followed the second route and paddled to Mallorytown Landing.
The poker run wasn't a race but there was some friendly completion between friends and family teams while they followed the routes to the checkpoints, where each paddler drew a playing card.
After the five checkpoints there were prizes for the top three best playing hand in each division, novice and intermediate. Ryleigh Goguen won the top prize for the novice division and Roger Meunier for the intermediate. Both won a $100 gift card to Moore McGuire's.
"All I can say is that it's been a perfect morning," said Meunier. "I didn't expect those numbers but my first cards were four, four, and four."
Tara Allen and Sarah Rhoden won second and third place for novice paddlers, and Nancy Clow and Matthew Willis won second and third place for the intermediate paddlers.
Paddlers were safety spread apart physically and departed at staggered scheduled times while they launched their paddle crafts into the river.
Front of Yonge Mayor Roger Haley said people are hopeful and are already marking their calendar for next year's Paddle Poker Run.
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times