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2019 NYMCRA (now NYPRA) Banquet Review

The NYMCRA Banquet took place on Sunday, October 13, 2019 at The Reef Restaurant, in Memphis, NY. The weather was warm and sunny, which is not a given for CNY in mid-October. The day kicked off with the Pie Race, our traditional fun race to end the season, where almost everyone gets a pie for finishing! We had a good turnout for the race, 16 people, with a mix of canoes and kayaks. The race course was two laps around an island on the Seneca River, about 6 miles total. Aside from pies, the race had a few fun twists. For those in C2’s, partners were drawn randomly to make up teams. After the first lap around the island, the bow and stern paddlers switched. As someone who’s new to canoe racing, this was an awesome opportunity to hop in a boat with an experienced paddler. A huge shout-out and thank you to Peter Ross for taking a chance and racing with me. I learned a ton and had a blast doing it.

Highlights from the race were breakout kayaker, Scott Visser bringing in the fastest time of the day at 1:07:54. There was a heated race for the top canoe spot, with Phoebe Reese and Bob Cooley holding off Pam Fitzgerald & Kim Greiner. Ben Schlimmer debuted in his first kayak race, and Eileen Visser, one of the strongest women I know, made an impressive return to racing. Full race results can be found here.

After the race, we all headed into the Reef Restaurant for some great food, drinks, and conversation. It was fun catching up with everyone and getting to know each other’s families, which is often tough to do during the season.

The most exciting news of the day, was the vote to change the name of our organization from New York Marathon Canoe Racing Association (NYMCRA), to New York Paddlesports Racing Association (NYPRA). The name change reflects the organizations’ desire to be more inclusive of other paddlers and boat types, including kayaks, SUP’s, and beyond. In conjunction with the name change, banquet attendees voted on a new logo that reflects this change. A huge thank you to Kevin Olson, who in his spare time, outside of paddle training, work, and having a new baby (congrats, Kevin!), is a top notch graphic designer. Kevin put together 6 new logo choices, and banquet attendees voted on their favorites. The winning logo is now prominently displayed on the new NYPRA website, also maintained by Kevin Olson.

Another highlight of the banquet, was a CPR demonstration by Pam Fitzgerald. While everyone hopes they never need to use CPR, being equipped in an emergency with the necessary skills can save someone’s life! Pam brought along some CPR training manikins, and gave people the opportunity to do some hands-on practice. A huge thank you to Pam for sharing her skills and expertise on this incredibly important topic.

After lunch, raffle prizes were drawn and awards were announced. Thank you to everyone in NYMCRA who donated prizes for the end of the year raffle. There were custom bags donated by the Midnight Seamstress, coupons covering next year’s race entry fees, handcrafted jewelry, and more!

The Paddler of the Year award went to Kevin Olson, for his dedication and enthusiasm to the sport of canoe racing. Kevin is not only a dedicated racer himself, but is adamant in his commitment to share his love for the sport with others. Over the past year, Kevin created the website Canoe Race World. His website includes race recaps, gear reviews, training videos, and podcasts from local canoe racing experts like Ben Schlimmer, Danny Medina, Rebecca Davis, Phil Millspaugh, and more. Kevin has created a one stop shop for all things canoe racing, from content for beginner paddlers wanting to break into the sport to training tips and gear reviews for experienced racers. If you haven’t already, check out Canoe Race World.

Congratulations to our 2019 points champions, and to our 200 and 400 mile club members. Your dedication to the sport is impressive!

2019 Canoe and Kayak Points Champions include:

Roger Henry, Alec Davis, John Young, Cathy Lipski, Chad Staubach, Samantha Staubach, Paul Tomblin, Mike Finnear, Eric Young, Scott Visser, Bob Raymonda, Chris Frechette, and Peter Jaworski.

200 Mile Club T-shirts were awarded to:

Briana Fitzgerald, Bruce Lee, Bruce Codington, Fred Goodnough, Kevin Berl, Allen Kelly, Ed Wagner, and Joe Schlimmer.

400 Mile Club T-shirts were awarded to:

Pam Fitzgerald, Phoebe Reese, Holly Crouch, Roger Henry, Alec Davis, Patrick Madden, and Matt Palmer

At the banquet, attendees also voted on their favorite race of the season, Canton Canoe Weekend! Congrats to the Canton race organizers for putting on a fabulous, fun, and well organized race.

To end the banquet, there was a vote to elect new NYPRA board members, followed by a board meeting. There were several seats open, due to existing board members’ terms being up. Newly elected members include Ben Schlimmer, Kevin Olson, and Emily Hart.

The current board structure is as follows:

Phil (president)

Ben Schlimmer (Vice President)

Ed Greiner (Treasurer)

Phoebe Reese (Secretary)

Kevin Olson (Webmaster)

Tim Henning (Member at Large)

Emily Hart (Member at Large)

If you have questions about any of the awards, elections, or happenings at the banquet, please reach out to the board with questions.

Additionally, the board is seeking feedback on new ways to make NYPRA fun and enjoyable for members, such as creating new awards like a best paddler in each region, or ideas for fun elements to add to races. My personal vote would be for more opportunities like the pie race, where newer paddlers can team up with experienced paddlers to learn the ropes. Please reach out to the board with your ideas!

Thank you again to all who attended the banquet. Please remember to check out our new website, and renew your membership. On behalf of the board, we hope that everyone has a great off-season and we look forward to seeing you all this spring!

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