Marion County Park and Lake was the scene of paddle boat racing Saturday with organizers considering the event an overwhelming success.
Maggie and Robert Nichols, co-coordinators, said they were expecting maybe five paddle boats total, but when nine teams of two registered, they were pleased.
“This year,” Nichols said, “we just wanted to get the event off the ground. Next year we are hoping to expand the competition to include canoes, kayaks and an obstacle course.”
The winners in the 12-and-over division were Patsy and Swain Boyce in their 17-year-old paddle boat. Swain said their boat can fit up to five people and is popular with their grandchildren.
First place in the 12-and under-division went to Austin and Skyler Schwenke of McPherson.
Other finishers in the adult division included Kevin Bernhardt of Hillsboro and Michael Mader of Marion, second place; Paul White and Kristi Griffith, Marion County Lake, third place; and Jordan Walton and Karra Mans of Newton, fourth place.
Second-place finishers in the 12-and-under category were Alaina and Jared English with third place going to Trey Buckee and Justine Nichols.
According to registration forms, Nichols said the following people also took part: Taylor Metz, C. Shaffer, Ashley Friesen, Nick Herpick, Doug and Autumn Hanson, Jessica Shockley, Laverne Gardner and Pam and Buck Lyle.
The top four placers, Nichols said, received a certificate and a percentage of the registration money. First place split 40 percent of the total fees; second place, 30 percent; third place, 20 percent and fourth, 10 percent.
The course took most paddle boat competitors about seven minutes to complete.
“The route wasn’t measured,” Nichols said, “because it was really windy before we started and so we brought it in.”
Originally, she said, they had planned to have boats go out to the first lake buoy, but later made the course shorter.
One of the only complaints she said she heard from participants was the event was too short. But, she said, hopefully next year that will change.
“It was a lot of fun and everybody said they had a good time,” she said.