One paddle at a time for Natchez

Published 12:27 am Friday, October 7, 2011

It’s no surprise that a few paddle-sport fanatics have had the perseverance to reach their goals.

And it’s not shocking that the ingenuity of just a few Natchezians has created a significant community event that visitors from around the world want to attend.

After all, we’ve done this before.

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Nearly 80 years ago a small group of Natchez women decided to open their houses to public tours. It was a small decision that has, to this point, molded our identity.

Ten years ago, a few outdoor lovers who enjoy paddling decided to share their home with the paddling world, creating the Phatwater Kayak Challenge.

Keith Benoist, the driving force behind the race, knew Natchez had something special to offer those who love paddling — the country’s biggest river.

The race started with 11 participants. Saturday 200 paddlers are expected to put their boats in the Mighty Mississippi in a race to Natchez.

Competitors now come from all over the world, and the race will mostly likely continue to grow year after year.

If you’ve ever put a boat of any kind in the water with nothing but an oar to take you from point A to point B, you know every small, persevering step counts if you want to reach your goal.

Lucky for Natchez, the Phatwater organizers know that rule applies in and out of the water.