On May 10, 2023

Rapids challenge racers at Peavine Whitewater Race

Staff report

This past Saturday, May 6, 48 people showed up for the annual Peavine Whitewater Race in Stockbridge. Racers paddled solo and in tandem kayaks ranging from 7 to 17 feet long, solo and tandem canoes, and a whitewater standup paddle boards (SUP). The race is a fundraiser for Ridgeline Outdoor Collective. 

“The low water conditions we had at last year’s inaugural race were offset by generous flows this time around,” said event organizer Michael McDonnell. “On Monday of race week, the White River crested after heavy rainfal

at over 12,000 cubic feet per second, representing 1,000% higher flow than our 2022 race day level of 1,200 cfs. The rain departed in time for the river to fall to 3,000 cfs by noon on Saturday, a sporty water level made even more enticing by the arrival of sunny, warm weather,” McDonnell said.

“Racers navigated the tricky rapids downstream of Stony Brook Rd as volunteer safety personnel stood by — the White River Swiftwater Rescue Team (part of Bethel Fire Department) monitored one troublesome spot, while swiftwater experts from Stowe Mountain Rescue provided protection from another,” McDonnell noted. “Safety kayakers filled in the gaps and assisted those who crashed and had to get themselves and their gear to shore.” 

Massachusetts kayak racer Jeff Parker set a high mark for all with a new course record of 32:33 from the Route 100 bridge near Ted Green Ford to the Gaysville Bridge. Racers, volunteers, and spectators enjoyed vittles by ‘Texas Deb’ Matthews, Leslie Straus, and Carol Erickson-Tener, and winners chose prizes from Ridgeline’s local and regional partners and paddlesports industry donors. 

By all accounts it was a successful event and organizers are already planning for “Volume 3 of the Peavine Whitewater Race is slated for Saturday, May 4 2024,” McDonnell said.


Long Kayak men

1: Jeff Parker

2: Jerry Madore

3: Robert Michalec

Short Kayak men

1: Forrest Bilek

2: Dan Zern

3: Reed Wilcox

Short Kayak women

1: Maddie Clark

2: Allison Burhans

3: Kelsey King

Short Kayak youth

1: Henry McDonnell


Tandem Kayak

1: Liana Loehrke, John Loehrke

2: Lucy McDonnell, Mike McDonnell

Solo Canoe

1: Dan Webb

2: Greg Freeman

Tandem Canoe mixed

1: Amy Thornton, Eric Jones

Tandem Canoe men

1: Jay Szczebak, Zachary Szczebak

2: Tim Goodrich, Brian LeDuc

3: Austin Brose, Hunter Spannaus

Tandem Canoe adult/youth

1: William McDonnell, Dan McDonnell


1: Justin Beckwith

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