Come Down to the River offers paddle competitions on the Ohio River

Come Down to the River offers paddle competitions on the Ohio River

Bill Stephens, Web Editor

July 13th, 2017


The River Heritage Day committee is excited to announce two sanctioned paddle competitions and a friendly float on the Ohio River during the 7th annual “Come Down to the River” festival on Saturday, July 22 at Audubon Mill Park and the riverfront in downtown Henderson, Kentucky.


The Little Rascals River Run offers three paddling events this year. Two of those events are sanctioned competitions that are part of the Western Kentucky Battle for the Paddle, the sixth race event in the Kentucky Waterman Series presented by Explore Kentucky Initiative. Beginning at Inland Marina, competitors in kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards will race a 12-mile course downriver finishing at the Third Street boat dock at the Henderson riverfront. A “friendly float” will coincide with this 12-mile race for those casual paddlers who can enjoy a leisurely trip down the Ohio with a group of fellow paddlers. Check-in for the 12-mile race and friendly float will be at Inland Marina from 7:30 am – 8:30 am. Race begins at 9 am.

The second race will be a challenging 4-mile short race that begins at the Third Street dock where paddlers will fight against the current traveling upriver for two miles, then looping downriver, racing with the current to finish at the Third Street dock. Check-in begins at 11-Noon, and the race begins at 12:30 p.m.

Points accumulated in the two races count toward a total at the end of the Kentucky Waterman Series with grand prizes awarded at the end of the series. Winners of the Western Kentucky Battle for the Paddle will have their names engraved on a trophy that will reside in Henderson until next season’s race to be held in another western Kentucky city.

Pre-registration is required online at where race event details can be found. Online registration deadline is Monday, July 17. (Friendly floaters are also encouraged to register online, but will be allowed to register the morning of the event at the check-in desk at Inland Marina.) Competitors receive a free meal and $10 worth of raffle tickets with their registration, and prizes will be awarded for top three finishers in each class (there must be three entrants in each class to be eligible for prizes).


In conjunction with the Little Rascals River Run and Western Kentucky Battle for the Paddle, a free paddle orientation course will be offered on Friday, July 21 at 5:00 pm at Audubon State Park. Space is limited to the first 20 who sign up by calling 270-830-9707. The number of kayaks are limited, so everyone is encouraged to bring their own paddle crafts along with their personal flotation devices.


Come Down to the River also offers many events in Audubon Mill Park on Saturday, July 22, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Corn Hole Tournament: New this year is a double-elimination corn hole tournament, sponsored by LE2,LLC, that begins at 10 am with registration beginning at 9 am. Entry fee is $20 per person, with up to $500 in prize money being awarded. Boards will be furnished.

Kids’ Fishing Tournament: The very popular Kids’ Fishing Tournament, still free of charge, is sponsored by Gibbs Die Casting. Two age categories are available: up to 7 years old, and 8-12 years old. Registration begins at 10 am, and fishing will be from 11 am – noon. Prizes will be awarded following weigh-in at noon. Fishing gear and life jackets will be provided by Audubon State Park, and bait will be provided, but kids can bring their own if they wish to. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. Henderson County High School Bass Team members and Gibbs Die Casting employees will be assisting.

Ken-DUCK-y Derby: The Ken-DUCK-y Derby returns this year with full-size duck decoys waiting in the park to be decorated and raced down the Ohio River. Kids of all ages can decorate and register their ducks from 10 am until 1 pm. The derby begins at 2 pm when they will be transported upriver, and released to race down to the Third Street dock. There is no entry fee, and prizes will be awarded.

Electronic Shooting Games: Ducks Unlimited’s Greenwing trailer will be in the park offering electronic shooting games for a small fee. Popular with hunters and would-be hunters, these realistic games will have you shooting geese and ducks like a pro!

Dream Car Museum Exhibit: Bennett Motors presents a traveling Dream Car Museum on Water Street between First and Second streets. This exhibit will showcase items from the very popular Dream Car Museum located at Diamond and Heidelbach in Evansville, Indiana. No fee is required, but all donations from the exhibit and the Museum itself through the month of July will be donated to the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Storytelling: Susan Fowler with Riverworks Discovery, will draw people into the very real stories of the past, as she shares exciting tales of river pirates, steamboats, floods, earthquakes, and solar eclipses! There will also be a miniature barge in the park that samples what the larger barges are transporting up and down the river.

Food, Music, Animals and More: You can enjoy music in the park featuring Shane Amar and friends, while you sample some delicious BBQ sandwiches. Visit Owlivia at Audubon State Park’s tent and make giant bubbles, or pay $1 and dunk your favorite local celebrity. Visit hunting exhibits and learn how to cast with the Henderson County High School Bass Team. Cool off under the misting tent, and meet the interesting animals brought by Mesker Park Zoo volunteers.


Saturday evening, from 5pm to 8pm, the River Heritage Day committee hosts an all-you-can-eat buffet at OnDeck Riverside Bar and Grill. Delicious fried catfish fillets and smoked chicken jambalaya with fixins’ and ice tea are included for just $12 ($6 for kids 12 and under). Buy your tickets in advance at the Depot, as a limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

The Depot Community Room presents this event each year in partnership with the River Heritage Day committee. All proceeds from Come Down to the River events benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Green River District. The Center, based in Henderson, Kentucky, provides medical, legal, psychological, and emotional support to children who are victims of abuse. They serve seven counties in western Kentucky: Henderson, Daviess, Union, Webster, Ohio, McLean, and Hancock. Visit them at

For more information about the event, call the Depot Community Room at 270-830-9707, visit the website at, or visit River Heritage Day on Facebook. Paddle competition information and registration can be found at, search for Western Kentucky Battle for the Paddle.

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