By Todd Wels

Triplicate staff writer

The participants who showed up for the Gasquet Raft Race last weekend had fun, but there were precious few of them.

Organizer John Helgeson said turnout was the lowest in 28 years, causing him to question whether the event will be held again.

It was very bad, Helgeson said of the turnout. It was the worst weve ever had.

He blamed the lack of a turnout on the large number of other events being held throughout the local area.

Those events included the Relay for Life in Crescent City (see related story), the Terwer Valley Fair in Klamath and the annual Kite Festival in Brookings.

I dont know how we can continue to do these things without some agreement on the time, said Helgeson. That way everybody can benefit.

He added that the Gasquet Raft Races have been held on the same weekend for the past 28 years.

For the past nine years, the event has been run by Gasquets American Legion Post 548.

The post invested $1,000 in trophies and t-shirts for the event.

The organization had taken a loss of more than $600 by the weekends end.

If the organization decides to sponsor the race again, it may call on other local agencies for assistance in putting it on.

I hate to see a tradition die, but that may happen, he said.

The raft race began at 10 a.m., starting at the Horace Gasquet Bridge across the middle fork of the Smith River.

Those who did show up splashed through the rapids in a variety of crafts. Racers entered their rafts in one of several categories. They were encouraged to decorate their rubber vessels, with a trophy going to most unusual entry.

Some participants were singled out for their efforts. Those who won awards in this years race include:

Kayaks: Blair Samuelson

Oar Driven (ages 12 to 16): Chris Gastineau and Lediah Schmidt

Oar Driven (ages 17 to 40): Teal Merker and Connie Aldrich

Oar Driven (ages 41 and Up): Kookie Amos, Lauri Amos, Michael Amos and Melissa Amos

Hand Paddled (ages 12 to 16): Raymond Gregg

Hand Paddled (ages 17 to 40): Adair Benoit

Hand Paddled (ages 41 and Up): Darrel Benoit

Sponsored Raft: Julie Patterson and Macy Donahue, sponsored by Better Health Plus

Most Unusual Raft: Wendy Main: Red Wagon Florists.