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Great day for a river run

South Boston News / September 25, 2017
Walt Flythe made it two in a row as he once again took top honors in the kayak race Saturday at the fourth annual Wild Blue River Festival in the Town of Halifax.

The Martinsville native bested his winning time last year by paddling the Banister River from the Town of Halifax to Terry’s Bridge in only one hour and nine minutes. Last year, Flythe required one hour and 12 minutes to complete the roughly six mile stretch.

Flythe raced against four others for the title. Donald Adcock took second place in the kayak race and Thomas Martin finished third.

In the canoe race, Bill Zirkle took first place with a time of 1 hour and 59 minutes. Canoe racing partners Jimmy Epps and Tori Bennett finished first in the tandem category.

The paddle races kicked off the festival, which unfolded on a sparkling early fall day at the Kings Landing boat launch at the foot of Halifax.

Race participants and others who paddled the Banister at a more leisurely pace throughout the day enjoyed great weather and abundant wildlife, with a bald eagle among the woodsy creatures that came out for the event.

At King’s Bridge, festival goers took part in crafts and cork boat racing for kids. Many took the opportunity to talk with representatives of both Staunton River State Park and the Dan River Basin Association about their upcoming activities.

“We had a good day and we were thankful for sunny weather,” said event planner Olivia Epps. “This is an event that brought in people who had never participated before, so it was nice to see and meet new faces.”

At the crafts stations, youngsters made gyotaku fish and other works of art that related to the river.

Staunton River State Park provided shuttle service for the paddlers and members of Halifax Boy Scout Troop 332 helped to launch the canoes and kayaks to the river.

Names have been drawn for Paddle Prizes and those winners will be contacted this week.

“The Town of Halifax would certainly like to continue this trend in the future and see the event continue to grow,” said Epps. “We are very appreciative of the support provided by sponsoring businesses.”

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