The wind was gusting and it was dumping buckets of rain. Ironic considering this unusually dry winter but nobody could really complain. Instead there was an excited buzz, something more than the usual coffee and pre-race jitters, and excitement that only a big storm can bring. Despite the cold and the wet everyone had ear-to-ear grins on their faces. What else would you expect from boaters?

, Cow Patty Pageant 2014, Rivers For Change CPP5

If anyone were to happen upon us out there they must have thought we were crazy. And I suppose we are. Since the Cow Patty Pageant, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to convey that crazy, to explain that itch, to pin down what draws us out, even on the most dismal days, to paddle.

Everyone is paddling for something, towards something, away from something, and sometimes those directions all converge into one place. If we are lucky we might find a group of paddlers like the one that met up on February 9 at the Estero Americano. This is a community willing to be out in any condition, a community that supports all types and levels of paddlers, and a community that will never fail to smile, no matter the storm. For many people, it is this community that keeps them coming back.

As per usual, the Cow Patty Pageant brings together the best of the boating community.  After the fact is when you really learn how hardcore everyone is. Winds were reported gusting to 25 mph, in the afternoon the area received emergency evacuation notices, SUPers raced in rain slicks, and 11-year old Jasper humbled us all with his incredible performance and unshakable smile. 39 racers participated, not to mention all of the amazing volunteers who braved the storm to make the race run as smoothly as possible.

, Cow Patty Pageant 2014, Rivers For Change CPP4

I hope you now are all sitting there, basking in the glory of the 22nd annual Cow Patty Pageant, or kicking yourselves for staying inside due to the weather. To rub it in a bit further, I will not fail to mention the amazing costumes, the Fishing Pond of Mystery, a delicious dinner and some outstanding raffle prizes including donations from Epic Kayaks, Huki, PaddleMe Sportswear, Adventure Medical, and Sea to Summit.

This was simply the start of some great events RFC has in store for this season. Stay tuned for clinics, river clean ups and more races!  And while it’s fresh on your mind, let us know what keeps you paddling.

The RFC Team