43rd Annual St. George River Race and 49th Annual Passagassawaukeag River Race

Registration open for 2024 Waldo County river races

Sun, 03/03/2024 - 8:45am

The return of Waldo County’s annual river races marks a sure sign of spring for Maine paddlers and spectators alike. Registration is now open for the 43rd Annual St. George River Race and the 49th Annual Passagassawaukeag River Race. 2024 marks the 41st year that the Waldo County Y has organized these races which are part of the national circuit with times counting toward national rankings. The events bring hundreds of canoeists and kayakers to Waldo County over the last weekend of March and first weekend of April. 

Advance registration costs are $30 for single paddlers and $55 for boating pairs. The St. George River Race will be held first on Saturday, March 30, and the Passy Race will be held the following weekend on Saturday, April 6. Registration links, race maps, and details can be found online at www.waldocountyymca.org/2024-wcy-river-races.

Racers of all skill levels are invited to join in the fun. Russell Werkman,

In regards to racing categories, Waldo County YMCA CEO Russell Werkman said in a news release: “One of the things that is really powerful to me about these races is that we have about 20 different classes, so if you’ve never been in a canoe you have a chance to do that. If you want to come with your grandson or your son or your daughter, you can do that.  We have classes for juniors and adults.”

There is also an “Anything Goes” class. 

“Last year, we had a paddle boarder who raced the entire course without ever falling in,”  said Werkman.

Falling or “tipping” is often part of the fun, ramping up the excitement for both paddlers and onlookers, according to the release.

Spectators at the Saint George River Race can gather at the Ghent Road Bridge in Searsmont to watch racers navigate Class II-III rapids at Robbins Mill where many participants are apt to take a plunge at the race’s midpoint. To see the fun for yourself, check out this video online: https://vimeo.com/916086154?share=copy

Not only do these events bring canoeists and kayakers from across the state to Waldo County each spring, they also raise money for an important local cause. River Race proceeds benefit the Waldo County YMCA First Grade Swim Safety Course offered in coordination with schools county-wide to give kids a hands on opportunity to develop confidence and safe practices around water. This free program provides first-grade classes with 3 hours of instruction – one in the classroom and 2 at the WCY pool.  In 2023, 120 students from eight schools completed the course.

The Waldo County YMCA receives support for these events and the First Grade Swim Safety Program from several area businesses, including major sponsorships from Ducktrap River of Maine, Robbins Lumber, and Viking Lumber.

For information on registrations, sponsorships, event details, and more, please visit www.waldocountyymca.org/2024-wcy-river-races or call (207) 338-4598.