//Bird wins Boomerang paddle race

Bird wins Boomerang paddle race

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HAHIRA – A Lowndes County favorite wins the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia to Florida and back.


Home county favorite Kyle “Bird” Chamberlain, of Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, won the WWALS Boomerang paddle race from Georgia into Florida and back. He won the $100 First Prize with a time of one hour, sixteen minutes, and 55 seconds to paddle three miles down and three miles back up for six miles total on the astonishingly clear Withlacoochee River.

Bird said, “I wanna thank my sponsors State Line River Outfitters and Takis for believing in me… they gave me their undivided attention to make sure I had everything needed to win.”

First Prize winner Bird Chamberlain with sponsor Will Hart of State Line River Outfitters.
(Photo: Amy Myers)

“There were two things I pledged this morning… I gonna win the race and look good doing it. 6 miles in 1hr and 17 min. Thanks Suwannee Riverkeeper for the event. It was fun.”

1:16:55 Bird Chamberlain, BirdF, in Winners, WWALS Boomerang paddle race, by John S. Quarterman.

Chamberlain added, “Also before the race we picked up trash around the boat ramps there. Was hundred of pounds of trash… pick up after yourselves people it ain’t rocket science.”

Trash collected for Rivers Alive, by John S. Quarterman.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said, “Each person who picked up trash got a t-shirt by Georgia Rivers Alive.“

Quarterman added, “You may recognize paddlers Bird Chamberlain and David Rodock as two of the Finalists in this year’s Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. I hear there may be some stiff competition for that next August.”

There was a traffic jam at the Finish banner as Shawn O’Connor of Hahira, Lowndes County, and Russell Allen McBride of Brooks County, Georgia, arrived at almost the same time.

Russell clocked 1:25:03 while Shawn got 1:25:04.

Russell graciously said Shawn was faster until he got confused about needing to go under the banner to finish.

Winning a Boomerang tumbler for last place was Andrew Jacobson of Florida and VSU CORE, at 1:44:58 for the six miles.

Fastest for four miles was Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, of unincorporated Lowndes County, Georgia, in one hour, nineteen minutes, and three seconds.

Matt and Jim Watson of Hahira, Lowndes County, Georgia, finished the four miles in 1:32:22.

Fastest for two miles was Bobby McKenzie, of Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, in 49 minutes and 39 seconds.

Then came the Rodock clan, of Adel, Cook County, Georgia, with Bowen Rodock finishing the two miles in 0:53:48. Bowen won a prize for youngest paddler at nine years old.

David and River Rodock finished the two miles in fifty six minutes flat. You may recall David Rodock as the First Prize winner of the 2022 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

Blondie Quarterman did not win a prize for first canine finisher, because she did not actually paddle.

The fastest time still belongs to Lloyd Reeves of Tallahassee, Florida, who came in at 58 minutes and 43 seconds last year. Second fastest was 1:16:42 in 2020 by Jackson Buttery, also of Tallahassee.

Many thanks to Boomerang top-tier sponsors Ace Electric and Packaging Corporation of America (PCA). All the sponsorships and entry fees support the advocacy and acitivities of WWALS.

Sponsor Banner WWALS Boomerang paddle race, by John S. Quarterman.

Thanks to sponsors Dr. Bret Wagenhorst, Wisenbaker’s Garage, and Promoleaf.

Thanks to the outfitters who provided boats: VSU CORE and State Line River Outfitters.

VSU CORE and Blondie WWALS Boomerang paddle race, by John S. Quarterman.

Thanks to the many volunteers, too numerous to name.

There are more pictures on the WWALS website:

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity. WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the surface waters and groundwater of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary, in south Georgia and north Florida, among them the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds, through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Founded in June 2012, WWALS has board members from multiple counties in south Georgia and north Florida, and members from all over the Suwannee River Basin and from farther away. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary.