The word has gotten around about the upcoming Little Apple Paddle float trip on the Kansas River near Manhattan.
All the way to Iraq, in fact.
“I got a couple calls from soldiers stationed in Iraq, who said they would be back on time for the Little Apple Paddle and they wanted to register,” said Marcia Rozell of Visit Manhattan, the coordinator of the event. “I was shocked.
“We’ve gone from just wanting to get enough paddlers to even have this event to all kinds of interest. It really has caught on.”
Rozell, an avid paddler herself, wasn’t sure what to expect when the fun float was established with a trip last summer. “We thought, if we get 50 paddlers, that would be great,” Rozell said.
Instead, more than 100 signed up last year. And this summer’s event, set to take place July 16, already has exceeded that number. More than 175 paddlers have already signed up, and reservations for the rental boats are full.
Paddlers with their own canoes and kayaks can still sign up, and Rozell expects plenty more to do so.
This isn’t a race. Instead, it’s a chance for paddlers, all the way from beginners to experts, to get together and float a 10-mile stretch of the Kansas River. The participants will start in the Big Blue River near where it flows into the Kansas and travel to a takeout at St. George, Kan.
Along the way, they will stop on a sandbar for a group photo and make one other stop before reaching their destination.
Registration will start at the boat ramp on the Big Blue River, off U.S. 24 on the east side of Manhattan, at 8 a.m. July 16. The float will get started at 9 a.m.
Several organizations are joining to put on the event — Visit Manhattan, Manhattan Parks and Rec, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tuttle Creek State Park.
“I love getting out in a kayak or a canoe,” Rozell said. “But I like being off to myself or in a small group.
“I was surprised at how many floaters want to travel down river in a big group. But we’re pleased this is attracting so many floaters.
“We hope to make this an annual event.”
There is a $10 registration fee for paddlers who bring their own canoe or kayak. To sign up, call Rozell at 785-776-8829 or email her at email@example.com.
Smithville fishermen target the big ones
Maybe it’s only fitting that a buddy big-bass tournament is next on the calendar for fishermen at Smithville Lake.
The Kansas City-area reservoir has yielded an impressive number of trophy largemouths this year. And tournament fishermen should add to that total on Sunday.
The event, put on by the Moila Shriners, will run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, and will take off from the Crows Creek boat ramp. There will be bi-hourly weigh-ins and a guaranteed $1,000 prize for the team that brings in the biggest bass of the day. Entry fees will be $125 per team.
Libraries help families get hooked
At four branches of the Mid-Continent Public Library in the Kansas City area you can now check out more than books.
Families also can check out fishing gear, thanks to a partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
At locations in Gladstone (the Antioch Branch), Liberty, Blue Springs (the Blue Springs South Branch) and Lee’s Summit (the Colbern Road Branch), families and others now can check out loaner rod and reel combinations and tackle boxes with hooks, weights, and lures.
It’s part of the Department of Conservation’s Discover Nature — Fishing program, designed to help beginners learn about fishing.
No word yet on how much of a fine there will be if persons are late in returning the gear.