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Great Weekend of Racing in Pennsylvania

Wildwater Racers Impress Huge Crowd at Red Moshannon Race

by Geoff Calhoun
USA Wildwater K1jr.

March 10, 2004 -- Ohiopyle, PA

In an era when most of the big downriver races in the region are fading from the radar screens of the average paddler, and even racers, and organizers have trouble breaking even on big events, the Red Moshannon Downriver Race stands out. The race attracts a massive crowd – 162 boats this year (mostly canoes), hefty sponsorship, and it’s a lot of fun for a class 2 run. Finally, Mid Atlantic Downriver Series organizers Bob Bofinger, Geoff Calhoun, and Jess Whittemore took notice of the race this year, included it in the MADS schedule of events, and decided to attend, all for the first time. Jess Whittemore agreed to hold a Lower Yough Race the following day to cap a nice doubleheader.

The Red Mo mass starts by class, sending bunches of boats off all at the same time. But the organizers had to split the wildwater category into groups because there were 14 of us. This caused a little bit of confusion for one absent minded racer…defending Jr. National Champion Geoff Calhoun missed his start time and started a few minutes later with the last group, but still managed to catch and pass the other wildwater boats and win the race by 2 minutes. In 2nd was wildwater icon Jess Whittemore, followed closely the entire 7 mile race by multi-time race winner Pat Reilly in 3rd. several other racers finished a few minutes back, notably junior Jeff Gette, in a wildwater boat for the first time, out of Dave Kurtz’s State College PA based ‘Mach One’ slalom racing team. 2003 K1cadet junior Olympic champion Ricky Powell, and fastest woman of the day- slalom junior national team hopeful Ashley Nee, also racing for the first time in a wavehopper, as well as newcomers Sean lake and Ross Linthicum from Bob Bofinger’s Linganore Racing Club.

A select group of committed racers showed up for the Lower Yough race Sunday morning. After much debate it was decided to race the classic course from team trials 2 years ago- which includes the nonstop class 3+ action of the loop (no walk in the park in a wildwater boat!) Then paddle down and hold a sprint in one of the lower rapids. Race organizer Jess Whittemore started first, and managed to beat his time from 2 years ago by a few seconds. Former team trials winner Chara O’Brian used her detailed knowledge of the river to beat out Ashley Nee, who shook off jitters from her morning run down the loop to take a close 2nd. In 3rd was longtime local racer Heather Rau. Fastest time of the day belonged to Geoff Calhoun, who struggled through the loop but took advantage of the long doldrums to beat Jess by a minute. The group then paddled down through most of the lower part of the river at nice brisk pace, then stopped to hold a sprint through the bouldery maze and choppy waves of class 2+ Bruner Run rapid. Once again Geoff topped Jess despite the local legend’s dazzling stroke rate. In the Womens class Chara edged out Ashley by just a second, with Heather just another 4 seconds behind.

Racer turnout was low for this revived regional race, but the only way to kick start racing again is to hold races, and make your buddies come. So THANK YOU to everyone who participated, and we hope to see you at the next MADS races: Antietam Cree Downriver Race April 10, Little Falls Classic and Sprint April 25, and the Cheat Canyon Downriver race April 30.


Lower Yough results

Class Name Classic Time Sprint Time

K1W Chara O’Brien 20.39 1.24

K1W Ashley Nee 20.57 1.25

K1W Heather Rau 22.59 1.29

K1 Geoff Calhoun 17.25 1.10

K1 Jess Whittemore 18.31 1.19

Red Moshannon Race Results

Full table of racers available at



Geoff Calhoun 0:42:22

Jess Whitmore 0:44:23

Pat Reilly 0:44:46

Don Faulkner 0:49:49

(JR) Jeff Gette 0:50:05

Michael Warren 0:50:05

Jon Nelson 0:50:21

Don McConaghy 0:50:41

Doug Keiper 0:51:42

(K1W JR -WH) Ashley Nee 0:52:25

(JR -WH ) Rick Powell 0:52:43

(C1) Bob Bofinger 0:53:38

Sean Lake 0:58:09

Ross Linthicum 1:05:30