The 2012 Chalk Banks Challenge raft race is remembered just as much for the many whacky and poorly conceived rafts that barely made it into the water before sinking as it is for those that that finished – and organizers say that they don’t mind if it stays that way in 2013.
The Chalk Banks Challenge organizing committee, which includes river fanatics, local tourism and recreation officials and two Lumber River State Park Rangers, met recently to finalize plans for the May 18 event.
With a growing reputation built on two years of outrageous fun on the Lumber River, 2013 Chalk Banks Challenge organizers expect this year’s edition of the event to be the best one yet.
“Now we just want to make sure people know how to participate,” said Challenge organizer and Lumber River enthusiast Whit Gibson.
Perhaps the most popular feature of the event, the homemade raft race is currently open for entries.
“That race is a lot of fun,” said Gibson during a planning meeting earlier this week.
Typically among the most competitive entries into the homemade raft competition, Gibson said that several Boy Scout troops have already confirmed their interest in this year’s competition.
This year’s Challenge will include the addition of a “Kid’s Olympics” that includes a “wet t-shirt contest,” a hollering contest even a bubble gum blowing competition.
The winners of the ongoing Chalk Banks Poster Contest will also be announced during the event. For contest information interested locals are invited to contact their Scotland County school or to call 277-4364, extension 232.
Perhaps the biggest prize of all will be awarded during the Challenge’s raffle, which features a $300 kayak as its first prize. Other prizes include a $100 gas card courtesy of Nic’s Pic Kwik, Gibson said.
In addition to Nic’s Pic Kwik, Gibson said that the event was made possible by the town of Wagram, the Lumber River State Park and the Scotland County Tourism Development Authority.
TDA Director Cory Hughes represents the organization on the event’s organizing committee, and said this week that he plans a campaign that will include road signage and advertising in local media in advance of the big day.
Raffle tickets may be purchased in advance for $2 a piece or three for $5. To purchase raffle tickets and for other information visit ww.chalkbanks.com.
Committee member Mickey Turlington of the North Carolina Canoe Racking Association, responsible for overseeing the event’s canoe and kayak events, said that he has high hopes for the third annual Challenge.
“People who want to participate should go ahead and get signed up, because we are expecting a good turnout this year,” Turlington said.
For information about the canoe, kayak and biathlon races, contact Turlington at 910-904-1578 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the weeks leading up to the event, organizers will finalize food and entertainment vendors, which are expected to include wildlife exhibitions and games.
Those looking for general information about the event should contact the Lumber River State Park at 910-628-4564 or by e-mail at email@example.com.