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Raft race makes a splash

Rafters paddle into the white water on the Smith River Saturday, for the annual Gasquet Raft Race. This year's race drew a few more people and raised more money for charity, say organizers of the event. Thunderstorms and lightning in the area caused some excitement, but no damage or injuries were reported. (Stephen M. Corley/The Daily Triplicate).
Rafters paddle into the white water on the Smith River Saturday, for the annual Gasquet Raft Race. This year's race drew a few more people and raised more money for charity, say organizers of the event. Thunderstorms and lightning in the area caused some excitement, but no damage or injuries were reported. (Stephen M. Corley/The Daily Triplicate).

Attendance grew for this year's Gasquet Raft Race and more money was raised for local charities.

"I did give the church $200 already. They need a new heater," said organizer Candy Fox. A final accounting is still under way, Fox said, but she said she thinks she raised twice as much money for the race's charities than was the case last year.

Fox said a family from Switzerland traveling in the area saw the signs and stopped to see what was going on. They ended up winning in the hand-paddled raft category.

She called this year's race participation "fantastic" despite a rolling thunderstorm that sent lightning strikes near the racers.

"Lightning struck a tree by the finish line," Fox said. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Julie Ranieri, a public relations person with Six Rivers National Forest, said lightning caused two small fires of less than an acre in size. Six firefighters rappelled into the site of one blaze over the weekend near Signal Peak east of Gasquet. The second fire was located in Peridotite Canyon, up the northfork of the Smith River near High Plateau.

"We were very fortunate," Ranieri said. A larger blaze of about 400 acres was sparked by the storm in the Siskiyou National Forest.

Race results

The results from the Gasquet Raft Races held last Saturday are in and winners in all categories have been named:

• Company-sponsored rafts: First place trophy, Wal-Mart and Jason Joy; second-place ribbon, New Vision Homes and Bob Grear; third-place ribbon, Red Wagon Florist and Wendy Quandt.

• Inflatable kayaks (ages 12-35): First-place trophy, Kevin Masterson of Medford, Ore.; second-place ribbon, Mimi and Alexis Jacob of Crescent City; and third-place ribbon, Tabatha Jenrette of Cottage Grove, Ore.

• Inflatable kayaks (Age 36 and up): First-place trophy, Teal Merker of Grants Pass, Ore.; second-place ribbon, Cheryl Crockett and Austin Orton, Gasquet.

• Oar-driven rafts (ages 12-16): First-place trophy, Adam Wetherell and Donald Burrow of Gasquet; second-place ribbon, Thomas Young and Chris Sargent of Gasquet.

• Oar-driven rafts (ages 17-40): First-place trophy, Renee Aguiar of Concord, Calif.; second-place ribbon, Jermey Stewart and Craig White of Crescent City; third-place ribbon, Ricky Ramirez and Sara Violante of Smith River.

• Oar-driven rafts (ages 41 and up): First-place trophy, Lauri Amos of Crescent City; second-place ribbon, Ken and Teresa Mittelbuscher of Fortuna.

• Hand-paddled rafts (ages 12-16): First-place trophy, Victor and Olivier Staruenmann of Onex, Geneva, Switzerland.

• Hand-paddled rafts (ages 17-40): First-place trophy, Richard Kelly Jr. of Gasquet; second-place ribbon, Jess Gregory of Redding.

• Hard-Luck Booby trophy: Thomas and Chris Sargent of Gasquet.

• Most unusual Raft: Bob Grear of Brookings.

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