MAYVILLE - Buffeted by brisk winds, choppy lake waves, overcast skies and cool temperatures, 62 canoes and kayaks manned by more than 70 paddlers recently completed the inaugural Paddle for Chautauqua Lake fundraising event benefitting the Chautauqua Lake Association.
The race was lead by Mike Kingsley, experienced kayaker and proprietor of Evergreen Outfitters of Ashville. Paddlers traversed a pair of 2.47 nautical mile legs of the course between Lakeside Park, Mayville and the Miller Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution in just over two hours.
The event was the inspiration of the Shults Auto Group of Jamestown and modeled after other successful paddling fundraisers that occur throughout the United States and Canada. Sponsors were Shults Subaru of Jamestown, Time Warner-YNN News, Evergreen Outfitters, US Foods, the Village Casino in Bemus Point, Diamond Cafe, Pepsi of Jamestown, Chautauqua Marina, Falconer Printing & Design and Molly Brown Signs. The Chautauqua Lake Association provided the paddlers with a continental breakfast, "green" water bottles and lunch following the event. Shults Auto Group provided prizes to participants and a Breeze kayak was given away, accompanied by discount coupons for kayak accessories and lessons at Evergreen Outfitters. The winner of the kayak was Sally Hach of Ellicottville.
Kayakers are pictured at the recent Paddle for Chautauqua Lake, a fundraiser for the Chautauqua Lake Association.
The CLA handled event logistics, with association board members acting as special navigation inspectors. The Mayville Fire Department and the Dewittville Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Marine Rescue team were also on hand to support the event. Ten volunteer kayak safety kayaks provided on water support of the paddle participants and reported that all participants safely completed the course without incident.
"This event showed off the recreational use of Chautauqua Lake and may become an annual attraction for kayakers and canoeists from not only southwestern New York state but the Western New York region," said Chris Yates, Chautauqua Lake Association president.
Promoted as a multi-generational outing, the event drew several local families and their friends. Darren Hills, Shults Subaru general manager, paddled with his wife and two children.
"Folks from novice paddlers to the more experienced kayakers thoroughly enjoyed being out on the lake today" he said. When asked if this will become an annual event he commented that he is "looking forward to that."
For more information about the Chautauqua Lake Association, visit chautauqualake.org.