Sunday, July 24, 2011

Successful Meramec Celebration

Kelci sells raffle tickets near the prize table.
Yesterday's 15th Annual Meramec Watershed Celebration was an awesome event!  The morning was filled with a look at macroinvertebrates in the Meramec River, a naturalist program, tubing and swimming in the river, watershed bingo, and more.  I spent the morning at the Level 2 Validation for water quality monitoring led by Chris and Wayne.  Thanks to them, many of us now have fresh chemicals and the knowledge that our equipment is all in working order!

By the time I got to the picnic site, everything was in full swing; lunch had begun, raffle tickets were being sold, kids were running around with their great prizes from the children's activity table.  Everyone was enjoying catching up with old friends and making new friends.  A few people even put down their $40 to pre-order one of the first Stream Team License Plates (more on this later, I'm sure)!

After lunch, several awards were presented to people who have contributed special efforts to the Stream Team Program in the past year.  Congratulations go out to many people for this event:
  • Stream Team Ambassador Awardees: Lisa Adams, Danelle Haake, Debbie Miller, and Hydie M.
  • Operation Clean Stream Stewardship Awardees: Steve Anderson and Bo Jarvis
  • Stream Team Staff Appreciation Awardees: Darlene Haun and Carl Romesburg
  • Stream Team Staff Farewell Paddle: Andrew Branson
Awardees (left to right) Debbie Miller, Bo Jarvis, Carl Romesburg, Darlene Haun, Danelle Haake, and Hydie M.

Following the awards, the final raffle tickets were sold (nearly 2000 tickets!) and numbers were drawn.
The first ticket to win belonged to Mike Bure and his prize of choice was the grand prize of the year, a kayak!  The second winner selected the smaller kids kayak.  Other prizes included a stone garden rabbit, coolers of beer, several gift cards to QT, multi-canoe float trips, a hand-made quilt, and much, much more.  I'd love to get comments from you on what YOU took home; I got the ice cream maker, a 5-canoe float trip, and a package of glow-in-the-dark toys for the kids.

Mike Bure (and Chico) with his new kayak!
Photo by Brian Waldrup
After the raffle, many took to the water for poling lessons or tubing trips, or just to spend some quality time in the water.  A short while later, it was time for the final event of the day: the canoe races.  Given the hot weather, not many folks stayed around to watch or participate in the canoe races.  So, for those of you who missed out, here are the final standings:
  • Solo Men - Paul Wibbenmeyer, Hogan Haake, Vernon Pursley, and Ahti Rovainen
  • Solo Women - Danelle Haake, Debbie Miller, Lorisa Runnels, and Katie Wibbenmeyer (DNF)
  • Youth - Marina Pursley and Nick Pursley
  • Mixed Tandem - Hogan & Danelle Haake, Katie Wibbenmeyer & Mike Bure (with Chico the dog), and Connor Kirk & Kelci Wibbenmeyer
Now, I feel the need to add a little bit about the races, particularly given my great fortune in placing first in two races...  I want to give kudos to Katie.  In our solo race, she was ahead of me by a canoe length almost from the start.  I stayed close enough that I think she worked harder than she expected, but she was in the lead.  Unfortunately, she thought that the take-out was the finish line, so she stopped just a few feet shy of the actual finish line.  I was prepared to offer her the win, but she was tremendously gracious and insisted that I take first.  In her words, 'You got first and it was not a technicality.'  I'm sure that next year she will be eager to take back the title, as I believe she has placed first in at least 3 of the past 5 years (perhaps 5 of 5!), and I will be glad to comply!

An electrician's nightmare, OR, the only way
to power enough fans to keep us all cool!
Katie's fortune did not improve in the tandem race with Mike Bure.  Near the beginning of the race, they got hung up on a log.  We all blamed Mike, not because of any paddling error, but because he dared to accept a T-shirt that held bad karma.  This shirt was viewed as so badly tainted that it was the very last item left on the raffle table - as heavily a laden table that it was.  Perhaps one of you knows more about the story behind the T-shirt.  If so, please share in a comment...

Many thanks go to the organizers who hosted the event, the donors who provided great raffle prizes, and the operators of Meramec State Park for providing such a lovely venue.  Great job, Jackie and family, Larry and Amy, Burt, Brian, and everyone else who had a hand in continuing to make this event one of my favorite of the year!!

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