Thirty-six brightly-colored canoes and kayaks glided down the Eel River starting at 11:15 a.m. Saturday to support local animals.
The fifth annual Paddle for Paws Canoe Race, previously the Old Style Raft Race, raised money for Cause for Paws, an animal rescue organization in Cass County.
For the past four years, the race only lasted two miles as it began at the Adamsboro canoe launch and ended at the Broad Ripple Road bridge. But canoers then had to paddle another two miles to Spencer Park to meet people and receive any prizes.
This year, the race finished at Spencer Park as a four-mile race for the first time, according to Kim English, organizer of the event. She added that many of the participants are first-time canoers.
Stephanie Winkel came to canoe with her two children, Benjamin, 4, and Elizabeth, 7.
“We’ve never been canoeing before and we want to do it,” Elizabeth said.
Winkel has some canoe experience, but it was 20 years ago. She and her children came stocked with life jackets, sunscreen and bug spray.
“I’ve got the hang of this,” said Elizabeth as she pretended to paddle the canoe on land.
“What Cause for Paws does is a wonderful service to the community,” Winkel said. “Anything we can do to support it, and if we can have fun, that’s even better.”
Roxane Burrous is in her third year in the race and two years removed from winning in 2012. Unlike many others, she kayaked down the river.
Burrous has been kayaking for about seven years. She even kayaked three times last week and regularly does when the weather gets warm. Burrous frequently travels even farther down the Eel to Riverside Park.
“It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and see the people who enjoy the same thing,” Burrous said. “It’s a lot of fun.”