Four men tackling the Mississippi River by canoe attempting to break world record make it through Natchez, Vidalia

Published 5:41 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Four men trying to break the world record for fastest canoeing time for a team to complete the entire 2,340-mile stretch of the Mississippi River made it through Natchez headed to New Orleans on Wednesday.

Video of the paddlers passing through Natchez and Vidalia waters was shared on the Mississippi Speed Record social media page on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2 p.m. with fans cheering on the group ashore.

The paddlers, Judson Steinback, Wally Werderich, Paul Cox and Scott Miller take turns — three of them paddling while one sleeps for three hours a time, or two sleeping for four hours at a time at night, one post said. A support crew of around 35 people, some driving on land along the river and others in two boats traveling alongside the paddlers keep the men “hydrated, caffeinated and fed,” the post said.

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Miller’s camera inside the racing canoe shows the exact time they passed Natchez.

“We just passed Natchez, Mississippi, which is a highlight for the crew and a signal that we’re getting closer to the end,” Cox said. “It’s always great to hear (the fans). It makes us feel loved.”

Moo’s Barn & Grill in Natchez supplied the team with barbeque sandwiches.

“That will get them Moo-ving down the river for sure!” one comment said.

The four men entered the headwaters of Northern Minnesota on May 10.

The current record set in 2021 is 17 days, 19 hours and 46 minutes. The latest update from Miller’s team from the Vidalia ramp says they are ahead of that record by 23 hours and 42 minutes with just over 371 miles left.

“Can you smell the finish line yet?” said Roy Fenstermacher in another live video recording, to which Steinback replied, “One stroke at a time.”