By Dawn Mercier GRAYLING – Part of the July 4 festivities in Grayling this year included the first annual Paddle Battle.
The ‘Battle’ had more than 20 competitors for the battle. Two person teams, randomly chosen, would ‘face off’ and paddle in the opposite direction, trying to out-paddle their opponent.
The battle was a fundraiser for Grayling Main Street. Each individual paddler had a sponsor from businesses in and around Grayling: McLean’ Ace Hardware, Jansen Agency & Associates, Big Gator Painting, Tinker’ Junction, Bear’ Den Pizza plus many others. Paddlers donned t-shirts with their names, racer number and their sponsor’ names during the battle.
Spectators surrounded the teams of men, women, and even brothers, clapping and cheering on their favorite. Water was flying, the sun was shining, and cheers could be heard throughout downtown. If you didn’t leave a little wet you weren’t standing close enough.
First place prize was $500, and runner-up prize was $300. Mo Hardwood Jr., sponsored by Big Gator Painting, won the 2016 Paddle Battle Championship.
Food vendors were on hand for drinks and snacks the entire day. Proceeds went to the Grayling Main Street committee, to help beautify and build up downtown. Raffle tickets were also sold, and a wooden boat show took place during the event as well.
In the kids tent children could get their faces painted or paint a t-shirt for themselves. For the adults, there was beer of course, or you could walk down to the winery for some wine tasting if that suited your needs better.
If you’d like to help out or even compete in next year’ event, contact the Grayling Main Street Committee at downtowngrayling.com or 989-390-7689.