March Arkansas River Float / Kansas Outdoor Radio Show
By Chris Collins
Saturday, March 13, 2004 we met at Bill Cather’s Old Goat Ranch for an early morning float and live radio talk show with Robin Jennison and the Kansas Outdoor Radio Show. The show aired live on KFRM Saturday morning and then repeated on Sunday morning.
The message was intended to inform listeners about our great sport/hobby and invite them to join us. We also discussed our July 10 Introduction to Paddling Event to be held in/near Wichita. This event will be like a trade show on the water’s edge and will give interested individuals a chance to try several different types of boats and receive very basic paddling instruction. They will also get to meet and visit with KCA members and participating vendors. Please plan to help with this event.
The radio show and float went quite well except for the fact that all of us had to get up earlier than usual. I spent the morning yawning. The sixteen participants included Bruce Laffery, Bill Cather, Charles Benjamin, Drirrin Oberlin, Wally Seibel, Art Boileau, Gary Feist, Shane King, Frank Ackerman, Chris Collins, Tom Elliott, Karen Johnson, Robert Gaedert, Ben Gaedert, Cliff Long and Lyle Kaufmann.
The plan was to let Robin interview us while we were running the shuttle and then get launched by 9:00 AM so they could get some live on-the-water time for the last part of their show. That all went as planned except for the live on-the-water part. Robin’s equipment was not waterproof and the show was almost over by the time we could have launched.
Several people gave great interviews with Robin, telling both facts and inflated facts about their hobby. I am sure the listeners could feel their enthusiasm and that is just what we wanted. Bill Cather finished the program with a discussion about Eagles.
Several participants launched early and were paddling around the launch site at Bill’s “End of the Road”, swapping stories and wishing the rest of us would hurry up. When the radio show was over and we said our goodbyes, I announced that the show was over and they were free to get out and go home. A few words were exchanged and I was probably the only one that enjoyed the humor.
If my watch could talk it would have said “Ten Thirty-five” as we paddled away from the launch site heading downstream to Bill’s Old Goat Ranch sandbar. Two questions remained. Who is the “Old Goat” and what took so long to get started?
If you missed the show and want to listen, you can do so with your computer and a high-speed connection. Check the KCA or WichitaPaddler.com website for a link.
Charles Benjamin, Bruce Laffery and Tom Elliott all attempted self-baptism on this trip. Tom went first and I guess the other two thought it looked like a good idea. What they did not know was that Tom was wearing my shorty wetsuit under his clothes so he was at least partially protected from the shock of the cold water. Fortunately, we had plenty of dry clothes and assistance. I think we were fortunate that nobody suffered from hypothermia. All three are taking a serious look at purchasing dry suits or wetsuits so they can safely extend their paddling fun into the colder months.
The Derby gage showed 1,110 CFS and 3.11 feet. This was about a foot above the low level just before the rain. A few sandbars were visible and one would have to be watching the sky for eagles in order to get stuck in the shallows. We received only a few sprinkles as forecasted. The skies were overcast and the temperature was between 46 and 49 F for the whole day. I saw these conditions as quite pleasant but then I was dry and protected from the wind. This is one thing I really like about paddling. If I dress correctly, I can be comfortable in most any situation and for me that makes it an almost all-weather sport. Most other activities I have done required specific weather conditions or I had to cancel. For me, lightening is too dangerous and breaking ice requires more effort than I am willing to exert. Otherwise I am dressed to go. Just give me a call.
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