CANTON -- Professional and amateurs will be featured during Canton Canoe Weekend and the 53rd Annual Rushton Memorial Races planned for May 3 and 4 on the Grasse River.
The event is a mix of recreational events and pro-class races for canoes and kayaks on courses of varying lengths from one to 14 miles and offers awards for first through third place finishers.
All races are on the Grasse River, with the start and finish, except the DownRiver Rushton, at Taylor Park, on Miner Street Road about two miles south of Main Street. There is a children’s playground on site.
The Rushton Tour, in memory of Mike Bolesh, will take place on a new day with a new finish. It is planned for Saturday at approximately 4 p.m. Participants can register at Taylor Park from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be a late registration at the race start. The seven-mile race will begin in Pyrites and end at the bend in the River Park.
If you participate in the morning Rushton Recreational Race or the afternoon C-1 and K-1 Marathon you will receive a free registration for the Rushton Tour. Sign up at your race registration to qualify. There are t-shirts for this race but no awards.
The namesake of the Rushton Tour is J. Henry Rushton, a boat builder in Canton from 1843 to 1906. His canoe designs were much in demand during a canoeing craze in the U.S. during the period. Rushton also was one of the people responsible for getting the village’s water system built, having served on Canton’s water and sewer board in the late 1800s.
Professional races will compete for a $3,000 pro purse at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday during the C-1 Pro Race, which is 14 miles long. Register by noon. There will also be a C-1 and K-1 Amateur Marathon that is 12 miles long. Winners will be recognized at 3 p.m.
Earlier on Saturday, the Modern RushtonRace will take place at 9:30 a.m. with pre-registration required or on-site registration by 9:15 a.m. The race includes classes for youth, tandem antique canoes and more. Awards will be given out at 11:30 a.m. and all racers receive a t-shirt.
Sunday events kick off with the C-2 and Pro Mx and C-2 Amateur Marathon at 9 a.m. This is a pro points race with a pro purse. There will also be a special six-mile K-1 race. Awards will be given out at 12:15 p.m.
Races complete on Sunday with the Rushton Relay and College Relay Challenge. The course is two miles long with a start time of 1:30 p.m. Register by 1 p.m. During the relay, teams of four to six paddlers take turns during different parts of the race. There are separate classes for men, women, mix, family and highs school teams.
The college challenge will consist of co-ed teams and have six student paddles. Recreational canoes only are permitted for these races.
Awards will be given out and t-shirts will be given to all.
For more information, visit www.slvpaddlers.org.