Great Day for a Regatta!
It was a perfect day for the return of the Greens Bayou Regatta! Gorgeous weather, seventy-four excited paddlers and caffeination provided by Katz Coffee. Race Director Tom Helm gathered the fleet on the water at the Brock Park start line, and Council Member Robert Gallegos gave an inspirational send-off, after a brief introduction by Greens Bayou Coalition Chair Fangyi Lu. And off they went!
On the shore, the staff, volunteers and boat suppliers hastily packed up and transferred everything to the Thomas Bell Foster Park finish line, while the Regatta fleet started the 7.7 mile paddle downstream.
The ground crew arrived to music provided by Rico Torres of AR Entertainment Hub. The smell of food luring them in, shady seating areas awaited the paddlers! Volunteers from the local Anchor Club were ready to help get boats out of the water and off to the side. The Styrofoam Cup Challenge weighing station was ready to go. It wasn't long before the first boat could be seen. Donna Kouwe came in at 1:22:46, and won a medal in her class of Women's Solo Performance Unlimited.
Minutes later, other paddlers began to arrive. The boats came in singles and pairs for the next several hours until the entire fleet had arrived by 12:30. Everyone got an amazing lunch provided by Barry Ross (Ross Metal Works), his family and friends. Karbach provided beer and Coca Cola SWB provided Dasani, PowerAde and Coke products. No one went hungry or thirsty! We heard from Paul Young of Council Member Ed Pollard's office and Beth White, executive director of Houston Parks Board. Then it was time for awards! Medals were given to first, second and third place finishers for Men's, Women's & Mixed (as necessary for the class) paddlers, for 5 boat classes, plus the Corporate Cup. Altogether, thirty-five Greens Bayou Regatta medals were handed out to race finishers!
Finally, the Styrofoam Cup and Corporate Cup were awarded! Through their donations, our corporate sponsors allowed us to put on this event, and we are extremely grateful for their participation. In return, they received canoes and entries into the Corporate Cup event. This year, Kris Linberk and Ross Schkade from Harris Co. Pct. 3 brought home the first perpetual Greens Bayou Regatta Corporate Cup with a fast finish of 1:49:47. (We thank Harris Co. Pct. 3 for sponsoring all the Corporate Cup canoes at the Greens Bayou Regatta!)
The mission of the Greens Bayou Coalition is to promote quality of life in the Greens Bayou watershed. The Greens Bayou Regatta highlights the beauty of Greens Bayou and draws both recreational and serious paddlers to what may be an undiscovered natural jewel in Southeast Harris County for many of them. GBC also organizes cleanups and tree plantings in the bayou, it's tributaries and basins. Many of the Regatta fleet took this time to help clean up the trash they discovered along their journey, gathering almost 100 pounds of floatables on their trip from start to finish! The winners of the Styrofoam Cup Challenge, bringing in nearly 33 pounds of trash, were William and Crystal Matthews of Coca Cola SWB!
THANK YOU! The Greens Bayou Regatta would not have happened without our wonderful sponsors. Our sincere appreciation to Coca Cola SWB and Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, our Gold Sponsors, and to our Silver sponsors: East Aldine Management District; Radcliffe, Bobbitt, Adams Polley LLP; Lone Star College - North Harris; Resource Environmental Solutions; Fangyi Lu, swa. Thank you to our Bronze sponsor, SWCA. In-Kind Sponsors and donors: METRO, TEXSAR, Katz Coffee, Karbach Beer, Coca Cola SWB, Keep Texas Beautiful, SmartWater, Lowes-E.Sam Houston Pkwy N., Ross Metal Works, AR Entertainment Hub, Koehn & Associates Engineering, M. Marlon Ivy & Associates, Mr. James Bonham, Candlewood Suites Hotel I-10 East, Houston Parks Board, Parks Department, City of Houston, Harris County Flood Control District, and The Barry Ross Family.
Many thanks to volunteers who stepped up to help: Karen Gilligan; the entire Ross Family; Paul Young; North Belt UD; Suzanne Mouton; Loretta Johnson; Keisha Jones; Kiera Phelps; John Gilbert; Fran Wilcox & Karen Suggs, our sweeper boats; Senia Zeigler, assistant timekeeper; Matt Woodrow and his TEXSAR team; Allen Pape; Karla Green and the members of the North Shore Anchor Club.
ENORMOUS thanks to the GBC Regatta Committee who made this happen: Doug Cohen, Chair, Barry Ross, Rico Torres and Grady Hicks. And, of course, to Marty Hughes, GBC Project Manager, the "rest of the staff!"