Greenfield, MA. June 11, 2008 The 7th annual Curtis Universal Connecticut River Challenge flat water paddling races will take place at 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, June 21st, at the Springfield Yacht and Canoe Club at 1210 River Road in Agawam, MA, just south of the Springfield-Agawam South End Bridge.   The events include the Challenge’s traditional pro paddling heats for canoeists and kayakers competing in the 4 and 12-mile races sanctioned by the New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (NECRA).  But a shorter, 1-1/2 mile amateur race has been added so that other river enthusiasts can enjoy this lovely stretch of the Connecticut.  New too, this year the non-profit Connecticut River Watershed Council will receive the proceeds from the race entrance fees.

“This race wouldn’t be possible without the level of public awareness and appreciation that’s been focused on this incredible resource,” says Rick Hartmann, member of SYCC and part of this year’s race committee.  Noting the Challenge is one of the biggest NECRA pro races in the region, Hartmann hopes amateurs will join in the fun and experience the River during this early summer event, “The Watershed Council has done so much to improve the river.  They were the obvious choice to benefit from the race proceeds.”  Paddling awards and prizes will be announced following the free, post-race, lunch buffet provided to all participants between 1 – 2 p.m.

“Celebrate the first full day of summer with a paddling adventure and lunch on the Connecticut,” says CRWC Executive Director Chelsea Gwyther, “You’ll have fun, and support our river protection work at the same time.”  Race-day registration takes place from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.  All events have an 11:00 start time.  Entrants must provide their own canoes, kayaks, and PFDs.  For registration and information at: www.geocities.com/ctrivercanoe/ or: www.ctriver.org