The Gusto approaches

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

When entering Gatewood Park for the first time, one is almost inevitably taken by surprise by the beauty of the place. The Gatewood Reservoir holds back clear waters ringed by steep mountain sides rising in every direction.

There is no development to speak of save for a camp ground and boat docks extending out from a small boat house. Electric jonboats are available for anglers to rent, as are kayaks and paddle boards, but for the most part this little lake is tranquil most of the time.

But wait, those tranquil waters are soon to be roiled by the fierce exertions and frantic paddling of those participating in the upcoming Gusto at Gatewood Park Paddle Board Race. The Southwest Times, Mountain 2 Island Paddle Board Company and the town of Pulaski have joined together to produce what will surely be a unique spectacle at the little local lake in the mountains.

The Gusto at Gatewood Park Paddle Board Race is set to occur at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Gatewood Park. Racers will commence paddling at the picnic area and make their way around several buoys which will be set in an ovular formation. One lap around the course will be equal to about 2 1/2 miles. There will be two races, the Novice, which consists of one loop around the lake and the Expert, which consists of two loops around the course.

Everyone entering the race will receive mementos marking the occasion but only 12 medals will be awarded for the top finishers.

Participants will be divided into 2 categories. Those over 18 and those under 18. The top five finishers in the under 18 category will receive medals relative to their finish after one lap (Novice Race). Participants in the over 18 category will receive medals for the first five finishers in the Expert Race.

A medal will also be awarded for the fastest female in the Gusto at Gatewood Park Paddle Board Race. A separate medal will be awarded for the fastest paddle boarder who completes one lap with a dog on board, if there are any.

A medal ceremony will be held immediately following the event.

The entry fee for the Gusto at Gatewood Park Paddle Board Race is $20 in advance and $25 the day of the race. Go to Mountain2island.com to pay online or go to any Mountain 2 Island outlet in Fairlawn, Claytor Lake State Park or, of course, Gatewood Park.

Remember, paddle boards can be rented from the Mountain to Island Paddle Board Company on the day of the race for the discounted price of $10.

Winning is fun, but being a part of this unique event is really where the fun is. So, Saturday after next, think about doing something exciting and new and what better to do than Go for the Gusto at the Gatewood Park Paddle Board Race!

One last thing, there will be a “paddle up concert” featuring Jared Stout at Claytor Lake State Park Wednesday, Aug. 8, between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Participants are gathering at Mountain 2 Island Paddle Board Company at Claytor Lake before the concert. Paddle boards and kayaks are available at Mountain 2 Island but the concert is free for anyone who paddles up to the floating concert.

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