Buffalo Bayou Regatta rows through Houston

Race is Texas' largest canoe and kayak race with 15-mile stretch

HOUSTON - On Saturday, the 41st annual Buffalo Bayou Regatta took place, Texas' largest canoe and kayak race with a 15-mile stretch.

The race started at San Felipe and Voss and ends in downtown at Sesquicentennial Park, adjacent to the Wortham Theater Center. Hundreds of boats to participate in this unique event along Buffalo Bayou Saturday.

"It starts out on the west side and it ends up downtown," said Bob Spain, director of the race. "It is a race that has been going on for 41 years. It is probably the second biggest canoe race in the country."

Houstonians ages 12 and up took part in the USCA sanctioned race along Buffalo Bayou.

"The turn out is amazing," said Brittany Taggart, a first-time kayaker. "There is so many people here, I never imagined there would be this many people out for an event."

"One time, I lived in Israel and I came back just in time for the race and one time I was in Washington D.C., and I came back just in time for the race," said Reid Shipp, who participated in Saturday's race.

Shipp said he has only missed one race since it started. He says it is something he looks forward to it all year long.

More than 500 canoes and kayaks take part in either the beginner or competitive paddlers. Before the boats hit the water, they each had to be inspected.

Everyone on board had to be wearing a life vest and have a noise-making device, like a whistle, in case they needed assistance.

Trophies are awarded to the top three place winners in the Corporate Cup, Recreational Canoe, Recreational Kayak and Unlimited Divisions.

A grand prize will be given to the Styrofoam Cup winner, the boat that collects the most trash.

Buffalo Bayou Partnership is the non-profit organization revitalizing and transforming Buffalo Bayou, Houston's most significant natural resource.

"It really is a lot cleaner race, and more people are beginning to enjoy it and see that is a place that you can go out and canoe," said Spain.

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